Zambian Debt – The Catholic view and the creditors view

31 August 2002

The whole article entitled “Zambian Women Religious Take to the Highways and Byways” should be read. This is a short extract.

7th Station of the Cross. Description of 7th Station then link to present day.

Today: For so many people around us life has become a daily struggle to survive. At the end of the day their bodies are filled with pain, they are upset and troubled. One of the reasons for this misery is the unacceptable burden of international debt carried by Zambia – a debt we have already paid back many times over. With nearly 8 million of our people unable to meet their basic needs, this debt of about $750 for every woman, man and child is a burden too heavy to carry. Should we starve our children to pay our debts?

Newsletter view. This type of comment on debt is to be found in numerous publications. At the time of the first Zambia Group Newsletter, CAFOD produced an even more slanted, unfair, and misleading account of debt in Zambia. I find this upsetting. Does anyone else?

Over the page is the Financial Times report on what creditors are up to. It’s different from the Catholic view and I suspect much nearer the truth and much less misleading. Why the two sides do not get together and publish an agreed statement on the ins and outs of Zambia’s finance, I do not know. If anyone can explain why this is not done I’d be glad to hear.

There seem to me to be at least three reasons why the input from creditors should always be noted at the same time as the output. Firstly, it would be more truthful. Secondly, it would give some hope that help was at hand. Thirdly, the real causes of Zambia’s poverty could be addressed.

Gerry Danaher