Pakistan Central Banker & Leading Experts Discuss Rising Sovereign Debt Amidst Covid

September 9, 2020

Georgetown Law hosts “A Pandemic Test for the International Financial Architecture” at D-DebtCon 2020 on Monday, Sept. 14

WASHINGTON – Georgetown Law’s Institute of International Economic Law (IIEL) will host “A Pandemic Test for the International Financial Architecture” on Monday, Sept. 14 to start the second week of D-DebtCon (the Distributed Interdisciplinary Sovereign Debt Research and Management Conference).


The governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Reza Baqir, will deliver a keynote address and then be interviewed by Georgetown Law Professor Sean Hagan (formerly of the IMF) about whether the current international financial architecture can adequately respond to a new pandemic-driven global debt crisis. Research presentations and a policy roundtable will follow. Attendees will have the chance to ask questions via the webinar chat function.

As the pandemic drains national tax revenues, exports shrink and remittances collapse, debt levels are surging for countries across the national income spectrum. Half of all low-income countries are now in or on the verge of a debt crisis as a result of COVID-19, more than a dozen middle income countries are at risk, and advanced economies are borrowing on an unprecedented scale to finance emergency response.

To rise to these historic challenges, DebtCon — the world’s preeminent sovereign debt conference launched by Georgetown Law’s Institute of International Economic Law in 2016 — is “Distributed” this year among 10 hosts in nine countries across five continents. Monday’s event kicks off the second and final week of virtual programming of this first-ever Distributed DebtCon, or D-DebtCon.


Monday, September 14, 2020
9:00am – 12:15pm EDT


9:00 am EDT
Opening remarks: Chris Brummer, Georgetown Law IIEL
Keynote: Reza Baqir, State Bank of Pakistan
Interviewed by: Sean Hagan, Georgetown Law and PIIE

10:00 am EDT
Research presentations: Paolo Mauro and Jing Zhou of the IMF on “r minus g negative: Can We Sleep More Soundly?” and Andrea Presbitero of Johns Hopkins SAIS and coauthors on “The risks of high public debt despite a low interest rate environment,” with comments by Layna Mosley of Princeton. Elena Duggar of Moody’s on the causes of sovereign defaults, with comments from Presbitero. Moderator: Mark Sobel, US Chairman of OMFIF.

11:20 am EDT
Policy roundtable: DebtCon founder Anna Gelpern of Georgetown Law and PIIE, Lee Buchheit of Queen Mary University London and University of Edinburgh, Yuefen Li of the United Nations, and Sean Hagan of Georgetown Law and PIIE. Moderator: Brad Setser of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Via Zoom webinar: Register for the Sept. 14 event with host Georgetown Law IIEL

Register for additional D-DebtCon events via the D-DebtCon website.

About DebtCon

The Interdisciplinary Sovereign Debt Research and Management Conference, or DebtCon, was launched at Georgetown Law’s Institute of International Economic Law (IIEL) in January 2016. Its mission is to engage scholars and practitioners across geographic, disciplinary, and institutional boundaries to help solve pressing sovereign debt problems.

DebtCon brings cutting-edge research to bear on policy and market practice, and helps make research more impactful with exposure to real-world policy and market experience. D-DebtCon will carry on the mission and expand the reach of the DebtCon project at this critical time. DebtCon4 will return in person at the European University Institute (EUI) in 2021.

Since 2019, DebtCon has been part of the Sovereign Debt Forum, a collaboration among Georgetown IIEL, Queen Mary University London and EUI, to encourage and disseminate policy-relevant research, and help improve government debt management capacity, particularly in vulnerable economies. Past programs in Washington and Geneva may be found here.