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Saturday, December 3, 2016
Zambia's first president to fast with Jubilee campaigns
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¬†Tomorrow, Zambia's first president Dr Kenneth Kaunda will join Jubilee USA Network and Jubilee-Zambia's Cancel Debt Fast, which supports responsible borrowing and responsible lending. The former first president, who has supported Jubilee movements in the past, will fast to call for a quick enactment of the Jubilee Act in the United States as well as to speed up the loan contraction reforms in Zambia. The Jubilee Act would compel the U.S. government to cancel the debts of up to 25 additional countries currently ineligible for debt cancellation, end harmful economic policy conditions, establish an audit of past lending and set more responsible lending practices for the future. According to Jubilee USA coordinator Neil Watkins: "Dr Kaunda's fast is an act of solidarity, which should speak to the conscience of the governments of rich countries. Many poor countries are still paying external debt, which Is as a result of both their own borrowing and in many cases, irresponsible lending decisions and policing by rich nations as well. Currently, indebted nations spend an average of $100 million each day to service their debts ≠ money they cannot spend on food, education, health services and other necessities. Cancellation of these debts is needed to help reach the UN Millennium Development Goal of cutting worldwide poverty in half by 2015." Watkins has also urged the US government and other rich countries to ensure that they put in place legal measures that will promote creditor responsibility and end illegal practices of private commercial creditors (also known as "vulture funds"), which seek to benefit from purchasing the loans of poor countries. Muyatwa Sitali, Coordinator of Jubilee-Zambia has upheld Dr Kaunda's long commitment to debt and social justice. Sitali says: "As Jubilee movements, we recall how in 1987 Dr. Kaunda's government cut off the IMF Structural Adjustment Programme and they chose to pay only 10 percent of Zambia's export earnings for debt service while allocating more resources to social economic sectors that were needed to propel growth from Zambia's own resources. This commitment exemplifies the need for prudent debt management and it resonates with the Jubilee movements calls for prudent debt management. For Zambia, the need for prudent management of debt resources is extremely important, especially now after the HIPC and MDRI debt relief initiatives. Zambia's debt is steadily rising and Parliament's participation in loan contraction continues to be marginalized." In July 2006, Zambia's external debt was only US$502 million but this dramatically increased to US$1.5billion by December 2006. The concerns being shared by Dr. Kaunda form a key component of a society which should be guided by values of accountability and transparency in debt management and utilization of debt resources. Source: Jesuits Zambia
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