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Eugene Kabilika, executive director of Caritas Zambia, said that “increased debt servicing has reduced the amount of money available for government to adequately fund education, health, water and sanitation.” 

Noting that poor countries cannot afford lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines, Rev. Suzanne Matale from the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation, called for debt cancellation to “free up resources for governments to respond,” adding that there is “an urgent need to stop illicit financial flows from our mineral-rich countries.”

Jeronim Zettelmeyer, deputy director of the International Monetary Fund’s Strategy, Policy and Review Department, shared current efforts to respond to the debt crisis. At the same time, he said civil society organisations should “put pressure on their own domestic authorities” as the problem does not only lie with the international financial architecture. 

Marcello Estevao, global director of the World Bank’s Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment Global Practice said that their “goal is to enlarge the breathing space for poor countries” in a time of economic crisis.

Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, cited the lack of private sector participation and inadequate coverage of middle-income indebted countries as key challenges to current initiatives to tackle debt. Moving forward, “there is a need to expand debt relief to middle income countries.”

Watch the recording of the side-event

"Calling for an Economy of Life in a Time of Pandemic" - a Joint Message from the WCC, WCRC, LWF, and CWM