G20 challenged on unconditional debt cancellation for poor countries; FEAM

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The country’s Feminist Macro-Economic Alliance Malawi (FEAM) on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 called upon G20 (World rich countries) to unconditionally cancel debt for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in a bid to tackle Covid-19 crisis.

The call comes in the sidelines of The Global Week of Action (GWOA) for Debt Cancellation underway worldwide.

This to contribute raising awareness about the debt issues and call for the cancellation without conditions attached.

The campaign is the way of amplifying civil and social movement’s voices on issues of fiscal justice and public services.

With Covid-19 worldwide, people have lost loves ones; communities been shattered as the global health crisis has a terrible impact on countries’ economies hence the call for debt cancellation.

For instance, Malawi being one of LDCs faces debt crisis from foreign lending institutions that its fiscal deficit continues to widen above SADC set threshold of 4% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Dr. Jessie Kabwila, former Chairperson of SADC Parliamentary Women’s Caucus addressing the news conference

Addressing the new conference in the capital Lilongwe feminist alliance observes the stock of debt Malawi has accumulated in the past five years from MK2.41 trillion to MK4.1 trillion is a burden to implementation of developmental projects.

“With such unsustainably high debt, Malawi will in 2020/2021 fiscal year spend more money on debt payments to rich governments or foreign lender institutions than in healthcare or other key public services.

“The situation is pathetic especially considering the current public health crisis of Covid-19 and therefore is no doubt that this will force government to take fresh loans to finance the global pandemic response and recovery which will result in deeper debt problems soon”, reads part of the statement.

Leading the presser Dr. Jessie Kabwila, former Chairperson of SADC Parliamentary Women’s Caucus observes that Malawi including other countries in the region cannot fight Covid-19 amid huge debts that victims are women, children and young girls.

Kabwila says debt cancellation is the fastest way to keep money with LDCs to enable them increase spending on healthcare, providing safety net to vulnerable people, financing the building of economies and among others.

“Debt cancellation should not be a question of mercy or forgiveness but as question of justice and survival,” challenges Kabwila, former lawmaker for Salima North-West constituency.

Action Aid Malawi Executive Director, Assan Golowa chipped in urging governments to commit to proper usage of resources freed from debt addressing immediate needs for vital and universal healthcare and social protection.

Jessica Mandanda, Activista Youth Network echoed on the same that freed resources from debt cancellation must efficiently reach youth on economic empowerment programs.

Feminist Macro-Economic Alliance Malawi (FEAM) composed of Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre (MHRRC) NGO Gender Coordination Network, Actionaid, Every Girl In School Alliance (Egisa) OSISA, Activista and mHub.

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