Webinar | China and Debt to Health Swaps | 30 April 2024

Event date : 30th April 2024

By: Martin Kessler, 


"China and Debt to Health Swaps"

  • TUESDAY 30 April 2024

  • 8:30-10 am (Paris Time)

Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@robertnyman?utm_content=creditCopyText&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unsplash">Robert Nyman</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/great-wall-of-china-3wwiqmOm3gQ?utm_content=creditCopyText&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unsplash">Unsplash</a>

The world is currently facing a global crisis in sovereign debt, particularly as developing countries are accruing debt levels that are becoming unsustainable. As the largest official creditor in the world, China has the ability to assist countries that are experiencing debt distress by helping them achieve both debt sustainability and their development goals. In some situations, bilateral creditors may opt to offer debt relief in the form of "debt swaps", where the debt service that is due gets transformed into funding for development projects. The questions that need to be addressed in this context are: which Chinese debts are eligible for such swaps, what are the challenges involved, and what are the next steps forward?


  • Ming XU, Professor and Dean of the Department of Global Health at the School of Public Health, Peking University 

He will be discussing the policy conditions and financing mechanisms related to debt to health swaps in China. Drawing from his expertise in international cooperation on public health, he will explore the potential and feasibility of this approach.

The French Development Agency (AFD) has extensive experience dating back to the HIPC initiative. They can provide valuable insights on how these deals work, what risks are involved, and how lessons from the 2000s can be relevant again. One major tool during that time was their "C2Ds" or "Contrats de Désendettement et de Développement", which provided about 1.7 billion Euros in debt relief.

  • Niranjan Sarangi, Senior Economic Affairs Officer, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia 

UN ESCWA has direct experience in helping countries mobilize and operationalize debt for climate and debt for SDG swaps. In 2020, they launched the Climate/SDGs Debt Swap Mechanism (Debt Swap/Donor Nexus Initiative) to support member States facing challenges with climate finance, high debt burdens, and fiscal pressures that have been worsened by the adverse impact of the pandemic. 

Moderator: Shang-Jin Wei, Professor, Columbia Business School (and FDL Steering Committee)