Washington, D.C. - On the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings, The Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network – Africa (JENA), a coalition of Jesuit NGOs working for justice and ecology in Africa, has called attention to the ongoing debt crisis facing African countries.

This crisis is impeding their ability to build human capital, infrastructure, and business capital for sustainable development, as they continue to pay billions of dollars in debt servicing, diverting scarce resources from essential services like healthcare, education, and infrastructure.

"The current debt crisis in Africa is not just a financial problem, but also a social justice issue. It is immoral for African countries to continue paying billions of dollars in debt servicing, while their citizens lack access to basic services like healthcare and education," said Fr Chilufya.

According to Fr Charles Chilufya, the Executive Director for JENA, "The debt crisis in Africa is a ticking time bomb that undermines the prospects of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It deprives countries of the resources they need to meet their obligations to provide basic social services, tackle poverty, and promote sustainable development. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation, resulting in a severe economic downturn that is disproportionately affecting African countries."

Chilufya further noted that tax evasion and capital flight from Africa deprive the continent of the resources it needs to finance its own development. He emphasized the need for a just and sustainable financial system that supports African countries' efforts to invest in education, healthcare, renewable energy, water, and sanitation systems.

"We need a just and sustainable financial system that prioritizes the common good, not the mere accumulation of wealth. We call on the G20, the IMF, the World Bank, and other international institutions to take meaningful steps to address the debt crisis facing African countries. It is also crucial for African leaders to prioritize sustainable development and invest in the future of their people," Chilufya added.

JENA believes that the international community must take bold action to address the debt crisis in Africa and support sustainable development efforts. This includes debt relief, debt restructuring, and providing new and additional financial resources to support countries' sustainable development efforts.

"As a coalition of Catholic institutions, we stand in solidarity with the people of Africa and call on the global community to work towards a just and sustainable future for all," Chilufya concluded.

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