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Thursday, March 30, 2017
Catholic agencies urge G7 to keep their word
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¬†CAFOD, along with other international Catholic aid agencies, is calling on the meeting of G7 finance ministers in Rome this weekend to make good on the past commitments to debt cancellation. The finance ministers are preparing the framework document for a Summit of the G7 head of government in Genoa on 21 to 23 July (see yesterday's Debt campaigners prepare for Genoa). The G7 nations had previously promised to cancel the unsustainable debt owed by the world's poorest nations, after coming under pressure from an unprecedented global Jubilee debt cancellation campaign. But CAFOD debt expert Henry Northover said their promises have been hollow. He said: "G7 nations are misleading public opinion when they pretend they have given 100% debt cancellation. According to the analysis of actual debt cancellation, the so-called Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) have only had on average a third of their debt servicing payments chopped off the bill. This means the world's poor are still paying more on debt repayment then on healthcare or education. "Twenty three countries have received partial debt cancellation, and there have been some gains for health care, education, and poverty reduction programmes. The development benefits have been proven, and all Catholic agencies are waiting for now, is the time to see the job through. "Unless the G7 deal with this in a comprehensive and robust manner, we are likely to witness at best only piecemeal improvements, and a continued decline in the lives of most poor people in debtor countries. The projections show that this group of indebted poor countries will not meet the 2015 target to half world poverty, unless the world's richest countries act now to cancel 100% of World Bank and IMF debts owed by low income countries. It would only cost them £39 million a year for five years to wipe out the debt owed by the 22 countries. In international financial terms this is peanuts. "The G7 promised a 'robust exit' from the burden of unsustainable debt, but this promise can never be achieved under the current HIPC initiative. "The G7 come together as leaders of the international community. Leadership requires responsibility. The G7 have it in their hands to lift millions of people out of crushing poverty. Until they do that the debt campaign is not over."
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