Zambia stumbles as G20 looks the other way

On Friday, the G20 finalised a ‘common framework for debt treatments beyond the Debt Suspension Service Initiative (DSSI)’, which ActionAid Australia describes as “woefully inadequate”.   


As Zambia looks set to become the first African country to default on unsustainable debt payments in the wake of the pandemic, Head of Campaigns and Policy at ActionAid Australia, Katherine Tu said:   

“Zambia is on the brink of financial collapse; this is a horrifying example of the dire consequences for developing countries of the economic crisis compounded by COVID-19. International creditors must urgently offer immediate debt relief to all countries struggling with COVID-19.  

“We are facing the world’s largest humanitarian crisis and women in developing countries are bearing the worst impacts of the health and economic fallout. Yet the G20 has its head in the sand and is failing to respond to the urgency of the situation.  

“While the common framework requires the participation of major bilateral creditors such as China, which accounts for 63% of overall debt owed to G20 countries, the framework falls far short of what is needed.   

“The G20 needs to work in equal partnership with developing countries and introduce ambitious, binding measures that will address the growing debt crisis, such as permanently cancelling debt to sustainable levels and ensuring the participation of private and multilateral creditors like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.”  

From May to December this year, developing countries are expected to spend up to US$26.22 billion paying off creditors. The common framework is expected to be endorsed by countries at the G20 virtual summit this week, on 21-22 November 2020.   

For more information or interviews please contact Liz Pick, ActionAid Australia’s Media and Communications Manager on +61 (0)422 105 840 or  [email protected].