Civil society groups urge G20 Finance Ministers to cancel debt and increase health care in low income countries
July 17, 2020: Finance Ministers of the world's richest countries are meeting at the G20 on July 19 to discuss how to respond to the #Covid19 pandemic. Sixty-four countries spend more on debt repayments than healthcare.
The Covid-19 crisis could mean 500 million more people are pushed into poverty. In 2020 the group of 76 poorest countries are due to spend:
- $18.1bn on bilateral debt payments to other governments
- $12.4bn to multilateral institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank
- $10.1bn to external private creditors such as banks and hedge funds.
That is a staggering total of $40 billion which could easily and instantly be diverted to spending on healthcare instead.
210 Civil society groups are asking the G20 to support:
- The cancellation of debt payments to bilateral lenders and the IMF and World Bank for up to four years, and at least until a debt workout process exists.
- The cancellation of debt payments to private lenders rather than those lenders be bailed out by IMF loans.
- Ensuring unmanageable debt is brought to sustainable levels over the long term through a fair and transparent process for restructuring and further debt stock cancellation, such as a global debt workout mechanism, and the promotion of binding rules on responsible lending to prevent future crises.