Debt Relief

The Jubilee Campaign to forgive the debt of
developing nations has been promoted for over a decade. Now the G-8 Summit has
reached an agreement to forgive the debt of many developing nations. It’s a
good first step. It also should encourage those who have labored tirelessly on
this issue for many years, seeming to be making little progress. Now it’s clear
that not only were they making progress, they were sowing the seeds for
constructive change.

The agreement announced by the G-8 Summit to forgive some debt of developing nations is a sign of hope and a positive first step. The Jubilee Campaign has been working for debt relief for over a decade, and now the hard work has finally begun to pay off for those most affected by international lending policies.

The global economy is already stacked against these nations. Many provide natural resources which are extracted and processed somewhere else. Diamonds, minerals, food products and timber, among others. This system makes if virtually impossible for the developing world to catch up with more mature economies in Europe and the Americas.

Debt relief won’t solve all the problems, but it will help. The creation of sustainable economies will require an end to corruption, more favorable trade arrangements, an end to civil wars and capitalization of more industries that return income to the national economies. It’s a tall order, but it’s absolutely necessary to make the effort.

Non-governmental organizations such as the United Methodist Committee on Relief, have been successful in empowering local groups, including women’s groups, to create micro-projects that have created sustainable economic models on a small scale. If governments will collaborate with ngo’s to extend this learning and allow citizens to create markets for internal consumption, the possibility is real that poverty can be alleviated, it not entirely eliminated.

Freeing resources so that national governments can apply them to education, development and social services is a good first step. I’m hopeful that it’s the beginning of a journey toward productivity and economic growth for those who are suffering today because resources have drained national economies for debt re-payment.

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