REACTION: G20 Finance Minister meeting

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Rebecca Gowland, Oxfam Head of Inequality Campaign said:

“With the economic chaos caused by Covid-19 threatening to set the fight against poverty back decades, extending the Debt Service Suspension Initiative was the bare minimum the G20 could do. Despite the common framework announced – good news to deal with deep solvency problems but with details still unknown – the failure to cancel debt payments will only delay the tsunami of debt that will engulf many of the world’s poorest countries, leaving them unable to afford the investment in healthcare and social safety nets so desperately needed.

“It is scandalous that powerful private lenders and multilateral institutions like the World Bank are still excluded – private sector debt still has no independent mechanism for review. Poor countries are continuing to repay debts to rich banks and hedge funds instead of investing in their Covid-19 response. Zambia is on the verge of default; others will follow if the G20 and private creditors don’t change course soon.

“Cancellation of debt is possible. Investment giants including BlackRock recently agreed a haircut of up to 50 per cent on their private debt with Argentina and Ecuador, yet there have been no such concessions for the poorest countries. If the G20 want to seriously support hundreds of millions of people get through this pandemic, debt should be cancelled by rich countries, multilaterals and private lenders alike.”

Ends

Notes to editor

Under the Radar, a new analysis of private debt by Oxfam, Christian Aid, Cafod, Global Justice Now and the Jubilee Debt Campaign, can be downloaded here