Campaign targets lenders profiting from poor countries during pandemic

profiting during pandemic

Charities have launched a campaign targeting some of the world’s wealthiest financial institutions who are profiting during the pandemic.

The campaign is focussed on banks demanding large debt repayments from poor countries, requesting they forgive loans or provide debt relief.

Some lenders, including richer countries, have agreed to suspend debts. Still, campaigners are claiming that corporate lenders have taken hardly any action. Financiers such as HSBC, Blackrock, UBS, and JP Morgan have continued to demand debt repayments.

This is despite calls from developing country governments and even World Bank President David Malpass for private lenders to cancel poor country debts in the pandemic.

Eva Watkinson, Head of Campaigns at Jubilee Debt Campaign, said, “Africa is spending three times more on debt repayments to banks and speculators than it would cost to vaccinate the entire continent against Covid-19. There is no excuse for companies like HSBC, Blackrock, JP Morgan and UBS not to offer debt relief in the middle of a pandemic as government lenders have done.”

According to Matti Kohonen from ChristianAid, “Lower-income countries have asked for debt relief from private lenders and been refused. This is deeply unjust when companies such as Blackrock are making a profit from distressed country debts. They could afford to provide debt relief; they control assets twice the size of the GDP of all African countries. Private lenders must accept requests to cancel the debt.”

Dario Kenner, Lead Analyst Sustainable Economic Development at Cafod, stated, “59% of all debt payments due in Zambia are owed to banks and speculators. Yet when Zambia asked for debt relief, they were refused.”

Many financial institutions have made a fortune over the last year, profiting during the pandemic. At the same time, funds are being drained from some of the poorest countries in the world.

Over 150 million people across the developing world could be pushed into extreme poverty because of Covid-19. Debt relief would go some way to helping poorer countries cope.


Independent Catholic News


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News category: World.

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