Skip to Main Navigation

LAW, JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT WEEK 2020 | Sovereign Debt and COVID-19 | By Invitation Only

November 17, 2020



Sovereign debt vulnerabilities of low income and emerging market countries have further increased from already historically high debt levels because of the COVID-19 pandemic despite extraordinary action by G20 sovereigns—central banks, the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative, International Financial Institutions, in particular, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—emergency financing, and the international community at large. The IMF and the World Bank cooperate closely in the area of sovereign debt to assist their members to prevent and resolve sovereign debt crisis.

A recent IMF staff note for the G20 concluded, inter alia, that while the international architecture for sovereign debt for private sector creditors has worked well for bonded debts, there are a number of challenges, such as the lack of equivalent standardized tools to restructure non-bonded debt, the increase in certain types of debt such as collateralized debt, and the continued existence of information asymmetries between debtors and creditors.

This session will explore options to address some of the challenges identified.

This Session is By Invitation Only.


  • Introduction


    Wolfgang Bergthaler

    Senior Counsel, Legal Department, International Monetary Fund

    Wolfgang Bergthaler is senior counsel at the IMF’s Legal Department, where he advises on legal aspects of IMF financing operations, surveillance, exchange system, and financial sector issues, as well as sovereign debt, insolvency, and debt enforcement issues. Before joining the IMF in 2006, he practiced as an attorney in international law firms in the area of corporate law and M&A, and capital markets law in Vienna and Brussels. Wolfgang is a graduate of Karl-Franzens Universitaet Graz, Georgetown University Law Center, and the Université III Robert Schuman, Strasbourg. Wolfgang is admitted to practice in the State of New York and the District of Columbia, and has been admitted to practice in Vienna, Austria. He regularly lectures and frequently publishes on issues related to IMF operations and legal aspects of international finance.



    Deborah Zandstra

    Partner, Clifford Chance

    Deborah is a partner in Clifford Chance's capital markets group and heads the firm's sovereign debt advisory practice. Deborah specialises in sovereign debt financings of all types and regularly works on sovereign/sub-sovereign/SOE loans and bonds,  with and  without guarantees from multilateral development banks (including blue and social bonds and loans). Her work includes advising on repackaging of sovereign claims and on structured products with sovereigns/sub-sovereigns/SOEs as well as on the regulatory capital treatment of sovereign exposures and derisking transactions. Deborah is advising the IIF on the private sector response to the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative and the IIF's Voluntary Principles for Debt Transparency and has recently worked on a number of debt raising transactions the proceeds of which are aimed at mitigating the impact of covid-19.


    Oumar Dissou

    Debt Management Resident Advisor, International Monetary Fund, Gabon

    Oumar Dissou is an MCM Long term expert currently based at AFRITAC Central (Libreville, Gabon). Over the past seven years, he helped Central and West African francophone countries boost debt transparency, modernize their debt management institutional frameworks, supported the implementation of reforms for deepening the domestic markets debt and strengthened analytical capacities of debt management offices.

    Prior to joining the Fund in 2013, he spent 11 years at the Bank of Canada where he provided debt and foreign reserves management advices to Senior Bank and Government officials. He also spent a year at the Ministry of Finance of Quebec working on the Province’s debt management issues. 


    Stella Rusine Nteziryayo

    Director Debt Management, Ministry of Finance, Rwanda

    Stella Rusine Nteziryayo is currently the Director for Public Debt Unit at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN) of Rwanda. She is Senior Economist with wide experience in Debt Management and Sovereign borrowing requirements, and currently serves as a board member in the Development Bank of Rwanda. Previously, Stella worked extensively on the design and formulation of the macroeconomic framework, while focusing on the external sector. She is an alumni of the World Bank’s debt management practitioner program.


    Yan Liu

    Deputy General Counsel, Legal Department, International Monetary Fund

    Ms. Yan Liu is Deputy General Counsel in the Legal Department of the International Monetary Fund. Ms. Liu has advised on all aspects of the IMF’s operations, including its surveillance over member countries’ economies and financial and technical assistance to its members. She currently oversees the Legal Department’s work on the development and implementation of the IMF polices on lending, sovereign debt management and restructurings, private sector debt resolution, financial sector issues, fintech, cross border payments and financial integrity. Ms. Liu frequently lectures and publishes on the law of the IMF and other issues of international financial law. 


    J. Clifford Frazier

    Deputy General Counsel, Legal Vice Presidency, World Bank

    J. Clifford Frazier is a Deputy General Counsel in the Legal Vice Presidency of the World Bank.  Mr. Frazier advises on corporate finance matters, including the World Bank’s capital markets borrowings, risk management transactions, investments, asset management activities, and financial products and services.  He provides legal, governance, and fiduciary advice to a wide array of World Bank Board, management, and independent governance committees.  He is also coordinating advice from across the Legal Vice Presidency on cross-cutting issues involving public debt management.


  • FORMAT: Panel Discussion
  • DATE: November 17, 2020
  • TIME: 8:00 - 9:00 AM ET
  • ACCESS: By Invitation Only