As a member of the Jubilee USA Network, the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns joined the USCCB in an urgent letter to the White House on Wednesday, April 9, 2020, to call for a moratorium on debt payments for poor countries hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Suspending debt payments, with no interest, can immediately allow countries to access funds to bolster their health systems and support needed stimulus packages in the developing world—allowing these countries to provide for their own health safety and security,” the letter to the White House says.
According to Jubilee USA, more than $25 billion dollars is on the line for the poorest countries if the G20 stops collecting debt. "Middle Income" developing countries in Africa could immediately access more than $44 billion if they stop paying debt. This is urgently needed as the average African country only has 50 critical coronavirus care beds per country.
As COVID-19 takes lives, impacts the markets, affects healthcare and drives a global financial crisis, we urge the International Monetary Fund, the G20 and White House to:
• Cancel debt payments and expand debt relief for developing countries to bolster healthcare, protect the vulnerable and workers as they confront COVID-19
• Mobilize additional resources to support all countries impacted by the economic and health impacts of the coronavirus
• Improve debt restructuring, issue debt payment moratoriums and create expedient debt reprofiling processes for countries impacted by the coronavirus
• Support all countries to emerge from the crisis with more resilience by encouraging policies and agreements to increase protections for the vulnerable, instill greater public budget transparency, implement financial crisis and market protections, promote responsible lending and borrowing and curb corruption and tax evasion
The same urgent plea is being sent to the International Monetary Fund, and the G20. Individuals are invited to sign on to a petition to the IMF.