Several Christian church leaders have reached out to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank asking to cancel the debts of poor countries. The pandemic has worsened the situation of the developing nations which has helped the appeal to advance.
A group of 140 leaders sent the letter ahead of the IMF and World Bank meeting. The group was composed of cardinals, archbishops, and heads of various Christian denominations. The scheduled meeting is October 16-18 to discuss aid poor countries and debt relief. It is also part of their recovery program in response to the COVID-19.
They explained that the cancellation of debts “is the most immediate way to release the finance required to prevent millions of our sisters and brothers”. They note that the pandemic has needlessly pushed people further into poverty.
The letter supports the recent statements by Pope Francis about debt cancellation.
They insist that without the cancellation of debts, grave risk remains for developing countries. “[They] will not have the money so desperately and urgently needed to halt the spread of the virus”. They claim it will also help treat people suffering from the virus.
Furthermore, they recognize the institution’s efforts in taking steps to combat the crisis. IMF recently covered debt payments for 28 countries.
They maintained, “Both of your institutions hold significant reserves in US dollars and in gold, which are held for such a time as this. It is therefore essential that these reserves are used to relieve the burden of debts for countries in precarious need.”
“The role of the IMF and World Bank is central to tackling this crisis in a way that prioritizes the needs of the most vulnerable people.” They add,”[IMF] learns from the past and seeks to heal and rebuild our world.”
They end, “As you meet this week, we continue to pray for you and remain committed to ongoing cooperation.”