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World News

Christian Aid says debt repayments must be cancelled during coronavirus pandemic

by Premier Journalist

Leading international development charity Christian Aid is campaigning for the debts of some of the world's poorest countries to be nullified as the world remains preoccupied with fighting coronavirus. 

The organisation has launched a new initiative, "Cancel The Debt campaign," and called upon the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to broker a debt relief deal as soon as possible. The call comes as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) prepares to meet this week to discuss a coronavirus Global Rescue Package.

With 40 per cent of the world's population unable to access soap and water, experts anticipate that the virus has the potential to devastate much of the developing world.

"As the pandemic spreads into the poorest countries in the world, our neighbours around the world will face these impacts, often without the same safety nets we’ve seen at home," reads the campaign description. "The most vulnerable are falling ill and the economic impacts are leaving people who were already struggling, without a way to feed their families and survive this crisis." 

Christian Aid’s principle adviser on private sector, policy and advocacy, Matti Kohonen, said: “We are extremely grateful for the UK government’s help to safeguard people’s future here in our country during the current health crisis.

“Yet, we also need to do more to support our global neighbours to help them tackle their emerging health crisis.

“Although the health impacts in developing countries are small so far, the economic effects of the pandemic have already hit them hard, with commodity prices, exports and public revenues affected and many people forced out of work. Additional lockdowns and movement restrictions could exacerbate the effects further. In the poorest nations, there is little social protection in place, and when the health implications do start to rise, poor and vulnerable communities will need a great deal of support.

“It is estimated that 76 of the world’s poorest countries are due to spend $18.6bn (£15.5bn) in 2020 on debt payments to other governments, $12.4bn to multilateral institutions and $10.1bn to external private creditors – $40.6bn in total.

“We are launching this campaign as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who hold vast amounts of developing country debt, hold their Spring Meeting. By dropping the debt, poorer nations could spend money on their own fight against Covid-19, helping to save millions of lives.”

You can add your name to the campaign by heading here

Listen to Matti Kohonen's interview with Premier's Tola Mbakwe here:

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