Covid-19 is a compound crisis. The virus has not only posed a major threat to our health and safety. It has also provoked a sudden depression across the global economy.
Countries in the Global South have been hit hardest by this compound crisis. At precisely the moment of their greatest need for medical resources, capital is flowing rapidly out of their economies. More than $100 billion has been evacuated from emerging markets in the course of the pandemic.
But international creditors are demanding that governments in the Global South pay their debts before they protect their own citizens. In total, $3.9 trillion in debt servicing payments is due in 2020 alone. This extraction of wealth is not only unjust to the countries of the Global South. It is a threat to public health and prosperity everywhere.
That is why Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Ilhan Omar (USA) are joining forces with PI Council members Yanis Varoufakis (Greece), Áurea Carolina (Brazil), and John McDonnell (UK) to demand that the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cancel all debt obligations during the pandemic and inject over $2.5 trillion in Special Drawing Rights to support public health investment.
Their letter to WBG President David Malpass and IMF President Kristalina Georgieva is an important first step in this campaign. But it is not enough. To win debt cancellation, we will need more than the signatures of sitting politicians; we will need an international movement for debt justice.
The Progressive International aims to help build this movement by developing a policy Blueprint for a progressive approach to debt and by bringing together activists from across the world to mobilize behind it.
If you would like to build this movement with us — or organize actions related to this campaign — join the Progressive International and write to firstname.lastname@example.org for more.
Photo: Nikolas Liepins