If not now, when?
The report, based on Parliamentary hearings with politicians, activists, academics, NGO experts and politicians from Africa and elsewhere, explains in detail Africa's debt crisis, and makes dozens of recommendations for its resolution. The report was submitted by the Parliamentary Group to the Commission for Africa.
It emphasises that:
- Debt relief has already made a difference to millions in Africa.
- Finance released by debt relief has overwhelmingly been used for poverty reduction.
But it highlights that the debt crisis in Africa is far from over:
- The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative has failed to provide an exit from unsustainable debt for the world’s most impoverished countries.
- It will be impossible for the Millennium Development Goals to be met without an immediate 100% debt cancellation for Africa’s impoverished countries.
- Some impoverished African countries with heavy debt are not even being considered within the current debt relief initiative.
- Many African countries are still being made to repay loans knowingly made to undemocratic or corrupt regimes.
- Conflict, corruption and undemocratic processes are barriers to debt cancellation for effective poverty reduction.
The report therefore makes dozens of recommendations for immediate action, including:
- The unpayable debts of Africa’s impoverished countries should be cancelled immediately, in full, releasing funds for poverty reduction.
- The HIPC initiative should be urgently and radically reformed so that debt cancellation for all heavily indebted African countries can proceed rapidly under a fair and transparent process that reinforces democratic institutions and processes and counteracts corruption.
- While it is legitimate to insist that money released by debt cancellation is spent for agreed purposes of poverty reduction, the international financial institutions must stop imposing economic policies on poor countries as a condition for debt cancellation, and be made more accountable to African nations for their behaviour.
- Each impoverished African country should be empowered and enabled to develop, own and monitor its own unique and comprehensive development programme that will meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goals and which includes a comprehensive financing plan – encompassing all issues of grants, loans, debt (both international and domestic, private and commercial and including export credit debt), taxation and international trade.
- A fair, transparent and comprehensive international insolvency process should be created to allow creditor and debtor countries to resolve future debt crises without compromising the ability of poor countries to meet the basic social needs of their peoples, and without forcing poor countries to repay what the insolvency process determines to be odious debts.
The Commission for Africa, which issued its report on 11 March 2005, endorsed a number of the key arguments and recommendations contained in this report. (See Jubilee Debt Campaign's response). We are now urging campaigners to contact their MP to draw their attention to the report and its demands. Download the action guide to the right of this page for more details.
The full 64-page report is packed with information and explanation of the issues surrounding debt cancellation, and includes extracts from the evidence given at the Parliamentary hearings. It can be downloaded using the link on the right, or a hard copy can be requested from the Jubilee Debt Campaign office (available free of charge, though donations are welcome - £3 would cover postage and printing).