Catholic Bishops and other religious leaders have appealed for debt relief for African countries to give the continent a life line to escape the multiple crises plaguing its population. The move was made at an interfaith leader gathering hosted by Caritas Africa, Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network and the Jubilee USA Network, recently at the Elysian Resort in Nairobi, to discuss achieving sustainable development and support Africa’s recovery. ahead of major meetings of world leaders, coming up in September.
Reading the leaders’ statement, a document titled, “How Africa can emerge better from today’s multiple crises, Bishop John Obala Owaa of Ngong asserted that the unified voice of African faith leaders emerges with unwavering clarity and determination. He said: “Our respective Holy Scriptures emphasize the pursuit of justice, guiding us in our actions and decisions. “We urge the establishment of a debt reduction process that allows borrowers to quickly reduce debt payments to protect crucial development and climate investments,” the leaders stated.
The leaders stressed that right now, most African countries are emerging from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their food systems have been disrupted by droughts linked to climate change, armed conflicts and more recently the war in Ukraine, which has destabilized food imports supply chains. “Given that over 45% of Africa’s debt is held by private creditors, financial centers governing these contracts must pass laws ensuring these creditors participate in debt relief,” Owaa said.