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The most impoverished nations are extremely vulnerable to changes in the global marketplace and are likely to be marginal players in the global economy.In this context, the impact of debt on the world's poorest countries is especially crushing.The total external debt of the developing countries is more than trillion; that of the forty-one most impoverished and indebted countries is more than 0 billion.
The jubilee was to be both a time of repentance when injustices were put right and the symbolic beginning of a new era. The end of the Cold War has enabled the world to escape the destructive and paralyzing polarization between East and West.Copyright © 1999, United States Catholic Conference, Inc., Washington, D. It is authorized for publication as a statement of the Administrative Board of the United States Catholic Conference by the undersigned. The debt crisis is one critical aspect of a much wider problem of development that must be addressed if large segments of the world's population are to avoid a future of marginalization, despair, and hopelessness. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright holder was developed by the Committee on International Policy and approved by the Administrative Board on March 24, 1999. Schnurr General Secretary, NCCB/USCC The existence of a foreign debt which is suffocating quite a few countries of the American continent represents a complex problem. Second, debt is symptomatic of a larger unfinished agenda of this century: the problem of underdevelopment in so many parts of our world. These are the serious wounds that Zambians experience because of debt and the demand for debt servicing. In most cases, those who bear the burden of repaying the debt had no voice in the decision to borrow and did not benefit from it; in some cases, the borrowed funds were wasted, used for extravagant activities, or even stolen by unprincipled officials.
The Church in her pastoral concern cannot ignore this difficult situation, since it touches the life of so many people. What servicing this debt means for Zambians [is] lack of education opportunities, inadequate health care facilities, poor housing, water and sanitation structures, insufficient productive investments for promoting jobs, etc. First, the burden of the external debt of the poorest countries is crushing the lives and dignity of vulnerable children, women, and men.For example, Ethiopia spends four times more on debt service repayments than on health care, yet 100,000 children die each year from easily preventable diseases.In Tanzania, debt service repayments were equivalent to nine times the government's spending on primary health care in 1997, yet almost a third of the population dies before reaching the age of forty.The continued urgency of this problem is also brought home to us by Catholic Relief Services and others whose efforts to promote development in the world's poorest countries are frustrated by the debilitating effects of debt. The jubilee year was meant to restore this social justice. We hope that further dialogue on this urgent question will contribute to building a consensus for decisive action to relieve the burden of debt.