Jubilee Scotland and our partner organisations Global Justice Now and Christian Aid are calling on private banks with links to Scotland to offer debt cancellation to all countries that need it.
In 2020 public debt increased in 108 developing countries, as the pandemic shut down their economies and they turned to lenders for finance.
Government debt was pushed to new heights, and the World Bank warned that poor countries’ debt levels meant they were at risk of languishing in a debtors’ prison for many years to come.
Even before Covid-19 the debt burden of poorer countries had been increasing. Since 2010, average debt repayments by global South governments have risen by 85%.
The G20 governments and the World Bank have agreed to some postponement and restructuring of debt repayments, but private banks, many with a significant presence in Scotland have so far refused to join these initiatives.
Zambia, one of Scotland’s international development partner countries is particularly badly affected by private debt. £756 million of its £1.34 billion total debt repayments this year will go to private creditors. This dwarfs the £10 million given by the Scottish Government to Zambia between 2017 and 2021 for healthcare, education and small-scale farming projects.
We want the Scottish Government to speak out about this injustice and call on banks with strong roots in Scotland – particularly Blackrock, JP Morgan, HSBC and Aberdeen Standard Investments – to drop Zambia’s debt.