April 24, 2020

Washington DC –  The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report released Thursday is calling for $1 Trillion in debt cancelation. The report “underlines the vital need for decisive action to provide substantive debt relief to developing countries to free up sorely needed resources to respond to the raging pandemic” the other measures taken are not sufficient in themselves, further actions are needed.

Rev. Aniedi Okure, OP Executive Director of the Africa Faith and Justice Network, a United Nations Civil Society Organization member, releases the following statement on the announcement:

“African countries have been overburdened by the growing debt over the years. Without debt cancellation many African countries’ economies will collapse. This pandemic has brought the world to its knees. 

“While debt cancellation is a good start, without strong institutions to uphold good governance, transparency, accountability through independent judiciary systems it is not much. It can be compared to removing a bucket of water in an ocean. Debt is not the reason why African people are poor. 

“African countries want to be self-sustaining, and be able to handle crisis management in times of pandemic or drought but they need the capital to do so.  With debt cancellation they can focus their resources on immediately tackling the pandemic, and then working toward improving their infrastructures. 

“We hope that countries, multinational corporations, and individual creditors will follow in the example of the UN and modify and/or forgive the debt owed so that the limited resources will be used for medical supplies, improving medical infrastructures, and saving lives.

“COVID-19 has provided an opportunity to advance a long overdue policy in favor of developing countries because many of these countries live in constant crisis mode. Even in critical times like this however, we must not lose sight of why these countries are struggling and how they got to that point.” 

Read AFJN’s articles on COVID-19 here

Read UNCTAD’s article here