Published on: 21/08/23

By: Martin Kessler, 

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On behalf of the entire FDL team

It is with deep sorrow and pain that the Finance for Development Lab (FDL) learned of the passing of Daniel Cohen, the Lab’s co-founder and the chairman of FDL’s Steering Committee. Daniel was our dear colleague for over 40 years, a remarkable teacher, and a true mentor to us all. Thanks to his passionate energy, pedagogical clarity, intellectual rigour, charm and humour, he consistently lifted our discussions, always pushing us further to achieve even higher ambitions.

FDL is born out of Daniel's vision, initially formulated in the spring of 2021 and stressing the need for more research on pressing financial issues facing developing countries and growing risks impacting their debt sustainability. The goal he assigned to the Lab was and will remain to be at the service of developing countries, in constant partnership with think-tanks of the Global South, to make sure that their voices and ideas effectively resonate amongst the highest international institutions.

FDL’s work is based on Daniel's decades of research on the causes and consequences of debt crises, the importance of finding solutions that are tailored to each type of crisis, and of adapting international institutions to the needs of developing countries; but also on its practical experience alongside borrowing countries in their restructuring operations.

This is of course only one facet of his brilliant mind and longstanding career. Daniel was an outstanding professor and pedagogue who influenced generations of French economists and researchers. He was also a government adviser, and an intellectual who relished illuminating the public debate through his books, conferences and media.

Daniel’s passing is deeply painful for everyone at the Lab: we will miss him terribly. His unique ability to instil ambition and to push us to offer useful and original analyses, remains central to his legacy: together with our partners, we shall pursue the mission he has given to the Lab and which he intended to accomplish with us.

We convey our sincere condolences to his family, in particular his mother Suzie, his wife Martine, his daughter Pauline and his brother Michel.

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