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Debt Relief – A Cry from the Heart


(A critique not dissent or discord).

 From Pope Francis to the Ecumenical body in the UK, the G20 is urged to encourage developed and indebted Nations to suspend or cancel their respective Debts with poorer and developing countries, to alleviate the devastating impact of the ongoing pandemic vis-av-is health, hunger and national wellbeing.  It is the echo of many faiths, charities and Scripture, to prompt richer governments and individuals to go an extra mile.

But to some of us from the vantage point of a combination of missionary and philanthropic activities in the midst of mismanagement, corruption, embezzlement and minimal infrastructural or health developments, we wonder how directly the debts halted or cancelled will alleviate the sufferings/hunger/illnesses of the given country.  Our minds spin from the charities of the church and the NGOs towards the poorest of the poor having to maneuver or negotiate corruption, misappropriation and lack of compassion and genuine value for human lives and rights outside the economy or political agenda.

Some of us cannot see the link or direct impact of the Debt Relief, and the alleviation of the Suffering poor – perhaps on paper, yes.  Is there a guarantee that things will be better in the given country from the debt cancelled or relieved; will it make any or much difference?  If, for example Ten million dollars is the debt to be relieved for Libya or Pakistan or Nigeria or Syria or Sudan or Uganda or Cameroon or South Africa or Mali or Zimbabwe or Yemen or India or Venezuela or Burkina Faso; one, will hospitals, charities, missionaries activities and public services be improved practically in proportion to the relief Debt; and to that effect, will there be more hungry, sick and poor people catered for and become less depended on foreign aid?

One cannot help but ask, which is more important, the debt/relief/cancellation or the infrastructure/wellbeing, basic needs and human rights.  If governments, leaders or the regime is corrupt, self-centred, brutal or unaccountable, what good is the debt relief?

For, as Governments and Nations go on about Economies and Debts, the Churches and Charites are sweating to fundraise to alleviate suffering and to save souls through practical infrastructures, health, basic needs and human rights. – kudus to JPIC, Cafod, Missio, ACN, SCIAF, Mary’s Meals, Little Way…  It is the appeals for funds with and by the Church, the Charities and philanthropists that aim to make all the difference between colonization and Evangelization between corruption and compassion, between selfishness and selflessness – towards the sick, the poor and the suffering.

This begs the questions: who cares more, who spends more in developing countries, on the poor, the sick, the suffering and for Human Rights, the Governments or the Church, the Nations in question or the Charities? Is the Debt Relief to benefit the Economy in the given country or the underprivileged or the Charities?  For, just as donors are put off by high administrative charges for various projects, so are we weary about the Debt Relief. 

Perhaps our ignorance can be excused and forgiven for lack of or ill information on micro and macro finance, Economics, GDP, International Debts or (historical) Multilateral Alliances.  We are only versed with the counting of coins and cents that add up to one or a thousand pounds for the poor and the marginalized. The millions and billions of dollars and Trade are too high for us to comprehend, let alone accounting how they are used.  All we want to say is, give the amount of the debt to be cancelled or relieved to the charities on the frontline, or directly help the hospitals, the sick, the hungry, the suffering and facilitate feeding, health and basic needs and infrastructural development.  I have raised my case!

Emmanuel Mbeh mhm