INDEPENDENT NEWS

Drop All the Debt at Genoa

Published: Fri 20 Jul 2001 03:49 PM
Media Release: 20 July 2001
Drop All the Debt at Genoa
The big question for many Jubilee 2000 supporters this weekend is whether or not the seven leaders of the world’s richest nations will take heed of the voices demanding debt cancellation.
To date campaigners have been bitterly disappointed in the G7’s ability to make a real difference for the world’s poorest people by granting 100% cancellation of the unpayable Third World debt.
24 million people from around world have signed the international Jubilee 2000 petition calling for the cancellation of this injustice, including 63,847 New Zealanders.
“These seven men meeting under siege conditions,” said Jill Hawkey, spokesperson for Jubilee 2000 Aotearoa New Zealand, “ have all the power in the world to eliminate some of the most excruciating poverty of our age. 19,000 children die every day because of the debt crisis. Third World governments are making payments on debts that can never be repaid when they should be providing decent health care and education for their children.”
In 1980 the total debt stock of the South (developing) countries stood at US $567 billion. Since then, US $3 450 billion has been repaid in interest and principal – six times the 1980 level. Nevertheless Third World debt now totals US $ 2 070 billion.
At the G7 summit in June 1999 in Cologne Germany, these leaders promised US $100 billion for debt cancellation for 41 countries. Only $12 billion has actually been cancelled.
To date 23 countries have reached ‘decision point’, which means that on average they will have their annual payments cut by 27%. This debt cancellation has helped twice as many children into free primary education in Uganda and enabled the government of Honduras to give an extra 3 years of schooling, to age 14.
“The World Bank and the IMF can afford to cancel the debt,” said Jill Hawkey, “and the G7 leaders have already seen what difference debt cancellation can make. Jubilee supporters in Aotearoa New Zealand join with others throughout the world in their demand for a new deal on debt. People are more important than money. It is time to cancel the debt”
Note: The G 7 countries are: Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and USA.
The 23 countries who have received Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
For more information contact:
Jill Hawkey
Tel 03 332 8255
021 267 2278

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