The Speaker of the House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila has stated that debt forgiveness will help boost development in Africa as African nations will spend less time towards debt serving but on governance.
The Speaker disclosed this in a social media statement after meeting international development partners on the Debt Cancellation Campaign Initiative (DCCI) under the umbrella of the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP).
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila engages development partners on debt cancellation
In light of the grinding economic impacts of Covid-19, Nigeria's Speaker, Rep. @femigbaja, has engaged some international development partners on the Debt Cancellation Campaign Initiative (DCCI)…
— Speaker of the House of Representatives (@SpeakerGbaja) December 10, 2020
The international partners expressed readiness to support the CoSAP debt cancellation drive for African countries.
Also present was Country Director in Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, including delegations representing the EU Commission, ECOWAS, Nigeria, United Nations Development Programmes, GIZ, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Canadian International Development Agency and others.
The Speaker added that foreign debt cancellation for African countries was topmost on the group’s agenda and solicited their support to make it a reality.
Considering the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on African economies, he disclosed that debt servicing was “strangling” African economies as African nations are spending funds needed for development on debt servicing.
“We can all sit here/talk about revamping the economy, develop the infrastructure in terms of health, education and all of those things, which are great/wonderful.
“But, we may be doing it, and it would be, hopefully not be an exercise in futility because these things require money and if all your money is going toward servicing debt, then how are we serious about this (Legislative) agenda?
“So, one of the main issues we are dealing with is debt forgiveness in the form of debt cancellation,” he said.
He added that if this is done, African nations will have more funds for the development of the continent.
“We consider this debt forgiveness if we do get it, as money in hand and we have to channel these towards the development of the continent,” he said.
World Bank Country Director, Chaudhuri said the issue of debt relief was being pushed by the World Bank President, David Malpass, before the Group of Twenty (G20).
“What has happened over the last 20 years is that the debt levels have built up. For Nigeria, as you may have known over the issue of financing, does not have a debt problem but for other sub-Saharan African countries.
“The problem is, there is a very different set of creditors that we are talking about and it will take a lot more work. That’s one thing that has changed,” Chaudhuri said.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported in October that the World Bank President, David Malpass, advocated that debt cancellation is needed by the poorest countries as the COVID-19 pandemic could trigger a debt crisis in some nations.
- In November, the G-20, in a bid to combat the economic fallouts of the pandemic, endorsed a plan which will enable the freezing of debt obligations to developing nations till mid-2021.