Africa and Aboriginal Tuesdays: Africa Action Reaction to G7 Statement on Debt Cancellation: A Victory for Activists But Africa Action Condemns Continued Delay in Action on Debt.
Africa Action acknowledged the Group of 7 (G7) Finance Ministers’ statement this weekend in support of up to 100% multilateral debt cancellation for impoverished countries, but criticized the failure of the G7 to take immediate action on this urgent issue. The question of debt cancellation will not be discussed again until the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring meetings in April.
Salih Booker, Executive Director of Africa Action, said this morning, "The new G7 position on debt cancellation is a result of years of pressure from activists in Africa and other impoverished regions as well as from citizens in G7 countries. While we welcome this explicit commitment from the G7 on up to 100% debt cancellation, their deferral of action on this critical issue means that resources will continue to hemorrhage out of African countries until an agreement can be reached later this year."
Africa Action today noted that African countries are required to spend some $15 billion in debt service payments to wealthy creditors each year, and that this is more than most of these countries can spend on health care and education combined. While the G7 Finance Ministers this weekend expressed their willingness to provide up to 100% multilateral debt cancellation, there are still real disagreements on how such a deal should be financed, and which impoverished countries should be eligible.
Marie Clarke Brill, Director of Public Education and Mobilization at Africa Action, said today, "It has long been clear that current efforts at debt relief, particularly the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, have failed to resolve the debt crisis in the most impoverished countries. The G7 countries must now agree on a plan that will go far beyond the HIPC framework to include 100% for all impoverished and deeply indebted countries, without imposing harmful conditions on these countries."
Ann-Louise Colgan, Director of Policy Analysis & Communications at Africa Action, said today, "Last weekend’s discussions among the G7 failed once again to acknowledge the illegitimate and odious nature of much of Africa’s debt. As debt cancellation campaigners throughout Africa continue to highlight this reality, they will not be satisfied with any new creditor proposals to merely reduce Africa’s debt burden to so-called "sustainable" levels, or to simply reduce countries’ debt payments."
Booker added, "100% debt cancellation for impoverished countries is a moral imperative, and numerous studies have shown that it is affordable. We expect no less to be announced after the World Bank/IMF April meetings."
For further analysis of Africa’s debt crisis and likely actions by the U.S. and G7 in 2005, see Africa Action’s "Africa Policy Outlook 2005" at http://www.africaaction.org/
Tuesday, February 8, 2005