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Friday, December 9, 2016
CAFOD says British G8 plan could lift millions out of poverty
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 A UK plan to write off debt for the world's poorest countries has the potential to lift millions out of poverty, CAFOD said today. The agency is urging other rich nations at the G8 Summit in the United States to back the plan and live up to past promises to halve poverty by the year 2015. For supporting Iraq's debt cancellation, the US is likely to back the UK. France also supports the effort, but Japan and Germany are reportedly reluctant to approve it. The British plan would make the world's 42 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) eligible for 100 percent debt write-offs from multilateral donors such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The plan will cost an extra $1.2 billion over the next three years. CAFOD Policy Analyst Henry Northover said: "This could be a real breakthrough on debt. After years of promises but not enough action, the G8 looks like taking a major step forward on tackling Third World poverty." "Germany and Japan both benefited from the generosity of the international community to rebuild their war-shattered countries. They should repay that generosity now that they are in the position to help the world's poor. "Past G8 Summits have made grand promises that have not been backed up with political will or money. Until we see the details, it's still too early to celebrate. It depends on whether additional funding for debt relief comes from new money or the recycling of existing development budgets of the World Bank and the IMF. "If the plan is not backed up with extra cash then countries like Bangladesh that are poor but aren't entitled to debt relief will lose out. It would amount to a perverse outcome to channel additional money to those countries that are in debt distress at the expense of those that are as poor but managing with their debt burdens. "We are not going to witness anything tangible overnight, but the deadlock over further debt relief has been broken. Depending on the final communiqué, British Chancellor Gordon Brown deserves our congratulations. Above all a tribute should be paid to the millions of campaigners who have worked tirelessly over the years to end the scandal of Third World debt. The Catholic Church and CAFOD supporters have led the way, stuck to their message and should celebrate this potential victory."
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