Sunday, November 15, 2020

Africa's Debt Problem Returns

 It is predicted that African countries will pay out more than $10bn to creditors this year and next year alone. 

More than half will go to City asset management firms, like BlackRock, which employs former UK chancellor George Osborne on £650,000 a year, and Fidelity Investments.  BlackRock, which is said to hold more than $1bn of African sovereign bonds,

Zambia, which like many African countries is spending more repaying debt than it is on health and primary education, looks set to become the first African country to default on its debts to bondholders since the pandemic began.

According to Save the Children, a failure to tackle the debt crisis will see child poverty numbers rise from 307 million to 354 million in the poorest countries covered by the initiative. It warns that millions more children will go unvaccinated, while untreated killer diseases, such as pneumonia, malaria and diarrhoea, could reverse gains in child mortality built up over the last two decades. 

 Kevin Watkins, chief executive of Save the Children, said, “Money that should be going into health clinics, nutrition programmes and schools is being siphoned off to repay unpayable debts to commercial creditors and China. To speak plainly, this is a violation of child rights.”

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