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Tagung: The New Debt Crisis. Structural adjustment, loans, corruption and profits – the case of Mozambique

18. Nov 2017 von 8:30 bis 17:00

A new debt crisis is looming and threatens to force African governments to surrender their sovereignty to international financial institutions and to accept structural adjustment programmes that impose reductions in their social spending. Two factors are held responsible for this new surge of indebtedness after the partial debt cancellation of 2000 (HIPC Initiative): 1) the sharp fall of commodity prices after the 2008 crisis and 2) the massive flow of capital to high-interest countries in the South — against the background of low interest levels in the North. In this context, loans are offered without due diligence against the promises of prospective gains from the extractive industry. In many cases, loans are contracted in order to construct infrastructural projects in connection with the extractive industry. African governments received USD 32.8 billion in loans in 2015 but paid USD 18 billion in debt interest and principal payments in the same year.

A case in point are the loans amounting to more than USD 2 billion given to three Mozambican shell companies by the banks Credit Suisse and the Russian VTB. These loans were secretly granted against a government guarantee without the Parliament’s knowledge. They entail serious consequences for the country as a whole and the poor in particular, such as inflation, exchange rate losses, loss of trust and aid from donor countries, downrating as a debtor (implying even higher interest rates), budget cuts for social services, health and education, decline of democracy and increased corruption levels.

The objective of the conference is to understand the mechanisms of indebtedness and how the latter curtails the policy-making capacity of indebted countries, increases poverty and inequality and prevents true development. Perspectives for political activities shall be explored in a conversation between experts, activists and politicians from Europe and Mozambique in order to counter the above mechanisms of indebtedness. As the legal seat of Credit Suisse and as one of the donor countries, Switzerland is called to critically reflect her role and to tackle the problem.

Video coverage:

All contributions to the conference are available on the Youtube channel of the Centre for African Studies Basel.


8.30 Registration and Coffee

9.00 Welcome

9.15 The global sovereign debt system: How it works and what needs to be done about it
Jürgen Kaiser, Coordinator

10.15 Break

10.45 Did donors and lenders guide Mozambique’s elite down the rent-seeking road?
Joseph Hanlon, London School of Economics and Open University
Respondent: Elísio Macamo, Centre for African Studies Basel

11.45 The impact of the new debt crisis on Mozambique, perspectives for change, risks and opportunities
Carlos Nuno Castel-Branco, Institute for Social and Economics Studies IESE
Respondent: Elísio Macamo, Centre for African Studies Basel

12.45 Lunch break

14.00 Switzerland — Mozambique, a longterm relationship: Reviewing International Cooperation, Banks and Politics

The secret loans and stopping budget support, perspectives for the future cooperation
Gerhard Siegfried, SDC

A coherent foreign policy — conflicting interests as a challenge
Swiss Parliamentarian, Susanne Leutenegger Oberholzer (asked)

15.00 Break

15.15 Panel discussion

16.45 Closing


Please register by email to or phone (T. +41 61 681 80 84, fepa) before 14 November 2017.


CHF 50.–/CHF 25.– (students)
To be transferred until 14 November to PC 30-494115-9, IBAN CH82 0900 0000 3049 4115 9, KEESA, PF 195, 4005 Basel, or cash at the conference; Lunch not included.


Flyer (pdf)



18. Nov 2017
8:30 bis 17:00


Basler Afrika Bibliographien
Klosterberg 23
Basel, Schweiz
Veranstaltungsort-Website anzeigen


KEESA – Kampagne für Entschuldung und Entschädigung im Südlichen Afrika
Zentrum für Afrikastudien Basel