Have you signed the Micah Call? I wrote something on the Micah Call on my blog back in February. I was 4701 on the list on February 1, 2005. Now there are over 17,070 signatures!
Micah Challenge is a global Christian campaign. Our aims are to deepen our engagement with the poor; and to challenge leaders to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and so halve absolute global poverty by 2015.
To join the Micah Challenge visit their website at micahchallenge.org and sign the Micah Call.
Anyway, I just received an encouraging email from the Micah Challenge office in Australia…
At a meeting of the G7 Finance Ministers in London at the weekend, debt was high on the agenda. The seven men decided to write off the debts of 18 of the world’s poorest countries (14 of them in Africa). These countries have all reached completion point under the HIPC scheme, which means they have met strict guidelines on economic stability and plans for poverty reduction. Around US$40 billion of debt will be cancelled immediately, once the G8 meeting in 3 weeks time approves the proposal.
Nine more HIPC countries should qualify for debt write-offs within the next 18 months (these are nations which have reached decision point but have not yet met all the requirements for completion point).
Eleven other countries in the HIPC scheme have fallen behind in their efforts to meet World bank and IMF guidelines and will not benefit from this deal. Though they could eventually qualify, many of these nations are dealing with conflict. As well, there are poor countries outside the HIPC process which will not be covered by the G8 plan.
This is a very positive step in the campaign to halve global poverty by 2015, BUT other steps are needed – the debt cancellation which was announced is equivalent to only about 10% of total unpayable debt; Micah Challenge and Make Poverty History still call for more poverty focused aid and opening up world markets to goods from poor countries ie fair trade.
The G8 leaders will meet in Scotland from July 6-8 to approve these plans on debt and also to discuss Britain’s proposals to double aid and trade more fairly.
Implications for Australia: the G8 will ask all donors to contribute – Australia’s cost will be a maximum of about 2% of US$1.5 bn = A$40 million per year
For more details on this issue, see BBC Business News