End the debt trap: Cancel Zambia’s debt
Date: 6 July 2021
Briefing for Scottish supporters
Covid-19 exacerbated an already growing sovereign debt crisis across much of the global south. The pandemic is predicted to push over a hundred and fifty million people into extreme poverty by the end of this year. At this time, when managing and recovering from Covid-19 should be the focus of every country, governments need to be able to prioritise funding for vital healthcare, vaccines for their citizens, and for tackling climate change. Instead, many governments in the global south are having to prioritise the servicing of crippling debts to some of the largest financial corporations in the world. Right now, African governments are spending three times more on debt repayments to private banks than it would cost to vaccinate the entire continent against Covid-19.
This briefing highlights the debt owed to banks and private creditors by African governments at a time when freeing up public spending for the health and wellbeing of citizens is paramount. In particular, it looks at Zambia – one of the Scottish government’s international development fund partner countries that is currently facing a debt crisis. The briefing explains the role that private banks, many with a significant presence in Edinburgh and other Scottish cities, are playing to exacerbate this situation. Finally, it outlines the steps the Scottish government should take to put pressure on private banks to cancel the debt.