Basseterre, St. Kitts (CUOPM) – A high-level group of Commonwealth finance ministers met heads of leading international financial institutions in Washington DC on 7th October and made a case for the urgent need to address the debt and financing challenges of small states.
The group was led by St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas. He was joined by Minister of Finance of Jamaica, Dr. the Hon. Peter Philips; Minister of Finance of Samoa, the Hon. Faumuina Luiga; Minister of Finance of Seychelles, the Hon. Pierre Laporte and the Minister of Finance of Tonga, the Hon. Lisiate ‘Aloveita ‘Akolo. Commonwealth Secretary-General His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma was also part of the group.
They met Ms. Christine Lagarde and Mr. Min Zhu, the Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, respectively; Ms. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, the Managing Director of The World Bank; and Mr. Alberto Moreno, the President of the Inter-American Development Bank. They also held discussions with a group of IMF and World Bank Executive Directors.
The ministers presented to their interlocutors the unique challenges faced by small states in accessing affordable finance, and managing and reducing their debt. They proposed practical and innovative ways to address their concerns.
They explained that small states face many challenges when it comes to managing and servicing debt, adding that small states face obstacles that prevent them from accessing concessionary finance. They also said small states were vulnerable to crises and natural disasters.