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Monday, February 20, 2017
Campaigners claim victory in fight against poverty
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¬†CAFOD campaigners have claimed a victory in the fight against poverty as the IMF and World Bank agreed G8 proposals to cancel debt for 18 of the world's poorest countries. The deal announced on Friday, is a confirmation of the G8 debt plans set out at Gleneagles in July for 100 per cent cancellation of outstanding debts of 18 countries to the World Bank, the IMF and the African Development Fund. The package could benefit up to a further 20 countries in the future. Both UK Chancellor Gordon Brown and World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz explicitly acknowledged the role played by campaigners in putting pressure on rich countries for debt relief. CAFOD policy analyst Henry Northover said: "This is a victory for campaigners. For years we were told we were 'naÔve idealists' for urging the 100 per cent cancellation of World Bank and IMF debt. "The institutions even had a publication saying why such a move would be damaging for developing countries. Now it seems we are the new realists. "The principle of debt cancellation must now be turned into a reality that works for the global fight against poverty. The deal needs to include a wider group of countries that are failing to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals because of lack of money. "They must also tackle the harmful economic policy conditions attached to qualifying for debt relief." He added: "The principle that is it wrong for the world's poorest to pay money in debt service to the world's richest must now be translated to the trade agenda. "Trade must be made to work for the poor rather than the current regime of the poor working in the trade system that benefits those with the most. "We have taken a step forward and as campaigners and can be justly proud, however, we will continue until there is justice for all." "CAFOD and its campaigners will be watching closely to make sure rich governments put the money in place quickly so that countries can start to benefit from the debt cancellation. CAFOD is pushing the proposal to sell IMF gold to fund the deal." The 18 countries which currently qualify for debt relief are: Benin, Bolivia, Burkino Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
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