CHRISTIAN AID has responded to the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee report Debt relief in low-income countries, published on 10 March.

Sophie Powell, Christian Aid’s chief of UK advocacy and policy, said: “We agree with MPs who are warning that without urgent action, the human and environmental impacts of spiraling debt could have a ‘catastrophic impact’. The debt crisis affecting more than 50 countries is creating a perfect storm, undermining scope for global south governments to invest in basic services like healthcare, or action to address the climate crisis, risking setting back decades of progress in tackling poverty.

“Kenya, where Christian Aid works, is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis in decades, triggered by the pandemic, locust infestations and ongoing climate crises, yet it is forced to spend five times as much on debt repayments than on health.

“Efforts to provide debt relief have been blocked by private creditors like Blackrock, but, as has been set out clearly by the International Development Committee of MPs today, the UK government has the power to take concrete action to make a difference by enacting legislation to compel all creditors, including the private sector, to participate in debt relief.

“The UK government recognises the need to mobilise much greater sums of finance to address global poverty and the climate crisis. If they are serious, they would commit to this game changing legislation, and to measures that would prevent the unsustainable build-up of debt in the first place, which Christian Aid and its partners have long been calling for.”

* Source: Christian Aid