Jubilee Scotland was born out of the campaigns of the late 90’s that pushed for the need to address unjust and unpayable debts in the poorest countries – the word ‘jubilee’ itself refers to debt relief. Today – 20 years later – debt remains a hindrance to positive development around the world.
The Jubilee Debt Campaign (JDC) has carried out some much-needed up-to-date research which highlights, not only the continuation of such unjust debts, but the increase in both frequency and sum.
The JDC report showed that there has been a 120% increase in average Global South external debt payments between 2010 and 2021 which has blown any volume of debt recorded over the past twenty years out of the water.
Why? To put it simply, debt relief is not being addressed with the urgency at which it should be. While initiatives are being produced such as the G20’s ‘Common Framework’ (a negotiating model for sovereign creditors, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and private creditors), they are proving ineffective with no countries which applied having had their debt cancelled.
Furthermore, many developing countries are borrowing in US dollars, meaning repayments will often be larger as of a result of inflation, never mind the rising interest rates.
The fundamental economic and social rights of the people of the Global South are being neglected as a result of debt payments. Governments are not able to look after their people in the way they should when forced into a debt crisis. The JDC report showed that there are currently 54 countries in this situation; a further 14 are at risk of both public and private debt crisis, and 21 at risk of a public sector debt crisis.
We cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that addressing these debts is potentially more important now, in 2022, than ever before. Global South countries have been, and are still being, unjustly hit by Climate Change whilst also trying to juggle debt repayments which shot up in 2020 amidst a global pandemic, and which have not come back down since.
So, what can we do? Keep learning. Keep sharing your knowledge. Keep pushing Global North governments and private banks to offer respite, or alternative payment models to countries which cannot, and should not, bear the weight of these burdens. Keep showing up for the people who need us to show up for them.
Keep an eye on the Jubilee Scotland website for events! Here are some events we would recommend for now:
25/05/2022 – 27/05/2022