Christian Aid Calls for Bold Action on Poverty as G8 Fails Majority of Poor

A new report released by Christian Aid reveals that millions of the world’s poorest people are still suffering under the heavy burden of international debt despite the G8 debt deal reached at the G8 Summit in Gleneagles in July.
The report, entitled ‘What About Us: Debt and the Countries the G8 Left Behind’ is published to coincide with the annual meeting of the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this weekend. It calls for world leaders and creditors to take urgent steps to alleviate the debt burden.

According to Christian Aid, 19 out of every 20 people in the developing world of over 5 billion people remain in debt.

“This is such a serious matter that a massive overhaul of the international debt system must be the next move," said Jonathan Glennie, Christian Aid’s debt policy specialist.

“The G8 deal was welcome but in the end proved only a small step forward. We now need a huge leap if the world is serious about tackling the poverty and despair of millions of poor people.”

The G8 deal was only agreed to help 18 out of 153 developing countries, with a possibility of 10 more countries joining by the end of 2007. Countries such as Bangladesh, Brazil, Kenya, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Peru, Haiti, Guatemala and Indonesia are among the countries that have been left out.

|TOP|Christian Aid proposes that a new system be created that can "independently assess whether poor countries should pay back all the debt that rich countries claim is owed them." It urges that the ‘drip-feed’ approach to debt cancellation be stopped.

”While rich countries must assess whether they are doing enough, it is important that debtor nations should be more assertive in negotiations with creditors, raising issues of injustice rather than simply asking for charity,” said Mr Glennie.

Every year, the world’s poorest countries are paying more debt payments than they receive in grants and loans, "forking out a massive £100 million every day", states the report.

At least 40 countries needed immediate and total cancellation of their external debts after the G8 debt deal was agreed. Many more need considerable reduction in what they have been required to pay if they are to eradicate extreme poverty.

“These countries are home to vast numbers of poor people and are forced by an iniquitous system to waste large amounts of money on debt repayments rather than spending it on the health care and education that their people so urgently need,” said Mr Glennie.