Left Menu
Development News Edition

Social groups urge mass debt relief for poor countries hit by crisis

Reuters | Updated: 07-04-2020 05:31 IST | Created: 07-04-2020 05:31 IST
Social groups urge mass debt relief for poor countries hit by crisis

Nearly 140 campaign groups and charities urged the IMF and World Bank, G20 governments and private creditors on Tuesday to help the world's poorest countries through the coronavirus crisis by cancelling debt payments.

The call, spearheaded by the British-based Jubilee Debt campaign, comes a day before a Group of 20 working group tasked with the coronavirus response for developing countries is due to meet. The campaign urged the immediate cancellation of 69 poor countries' debt payments for the rest of the year, including to private creditors, estimating that it would free up over $25 billion for the countries, or $50 billion if extended for 2021.

It also called for debt cancellations or additional finance to be free of conditions on economic policy such as austerity, and for the G20 to back emergency rules that would prevent poorer countries from being sued by private creditors. "Developing countries are being hit by an unprecedented economic shock, and at the same time face an urgent health emergency," Sarah-Jayne Clifton, Director of Jubilee Debt Campaign, said.

Major governments and institutions are already pushing for some of the measures the groups are calling for. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is making $50 billion available from its emergency financing facilities and some 80 countries have already asked for help. The World Bank has also approved a $14 billion COVID-19 response package.

The institutions are also making a joint push for official bilateral creditors to allow low income countries to suspend their debt service payments for 14 months from the start of May. But Tuesday's message from the charities and campaign groups echoed the recent concerns of African governments - that it won't be enough. Ethiopia said in a proposal submitted ahead of the G20 meeting that Africa alone is likely to need $150 billion of support.

"Out of the 69 low income countries we are talking about, at least 45 of those are going to need to request emergency funding just to get through 2020," said Mark Perera, a policy manager for the European Network on Debt and Development, one of the groups involved. When the IMF and World Bank launched their Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief programme in 1996, nations mainly owed money to wealthy countries and multilateral institutions.

No longer. China's government, banks and companies lent some $143 billion to Africa between 2000 and 2017, according to Johns Hopkins University, while African governments have taken on over $55 billion on international debt in the past two years. The debt campaign group's statement, whose signatories included the likes of Oxfam and Save the Children, also called for the creation through the United Nations of a systematic and enforceable process for sovereign debt restructurings.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Tracking Cybersecurity: Laying the groundwork for tougher regulations post-COVID 19

The changes indicate that the tech industry is moving towards a paradigm shift over how it operates and, more importantly, how it is regulated....

Tax dodging in rich and poor countries alike, wealthy taxpayers often outwit the taxman

... ...

COVID-19 threatens to widen the digital gender divide

In a world that, all of sudden, has turned virtual, it has become absolutely essential to providing equal digital access and opportunities to the unconnected population, primarily dominated by women. ...

Gender Equality Post-COVID-19: Rising inequalities ask for gender-sensitive policies

However, the death rate of women due to COVID 19 infection is less than men, the repercussions of worldwide lockdown have adversely affected women across communities and economic sectors throughout the globe. The experts fear that the pande...

Videos

Latest News

Wichita State cancels Ivanka Trump's speech to tech school

A Kansas technical school canceled plans for Ivanka Trump to give a virtual commencement speech to graduates because of criticism of President Donald Trumps response to protests over the death of George Floyd. Administrators at Wichita Stat...

Top US military officer reaches out to Capitol leaders

The nations top military officer, Gen. Mark Milley, has spoken privately with key congressional leaders as Pentagon officials come under fire for the Defense Departments role in containing protests following the police killing of George Flo...

Twitter, Facebook disable Trump video tribute to Floyd over copyright complaint

Twitter Inc, Facebook Inc and Instagram disabled President Donald Trumps campaign tribute video to George Floyd on their platforms on Friday, citing copyright complaints. The clip, which shows photos and videos of protest marches and instan...

Rabbinical reinforcements arrive in Argentina to step up kosher meat exports

Argentina is ready to step up exports of kosher beef following the arrival of 98 rabbis flown into the country from Israel after the government waived travel restrictions aimed at slowing the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the rabbis arrived...

Give Feedback