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UNDP calls for debt restructuring

By Danny Harrington, MD ITS Education Asia

With rising interest rates, the news in the mainstream media tends towards the cost of living crises for people in the world’s major economies, particularly mortgage holders. And while their difficulties are very real and many will enter relative poverty, we see yet again how the world’s marginalized are pushed from view despite the fact that they will be hit even harder and face very real questions of life and death.

The UNDP has just released a report called Avoiding Too Little Too Late on International Debt Relief and it opens like this:

“An already bad debt outlook has deteriorated rapidly across developing economies since the start of the year with fast rising interest rates pushing up borrowing costs, decreasing fiscal space and driving countries into or closer to debt distress.2 A least 54 developing economies are suffering from severe debt problems. Together they represent little more than 3 percent of global GDP but 18 percent of the global population, more than 50 percent of people living in extreme poverty, and 28 of the world’s top-50 most climate vulnerable countries. Much in line with the history of debt relief, efforts have still not caught up to the seriousness of the unfolding debt crisis. The international community should not wait until interest rates drop or a global recession kicks in to take action: the time to avert a prolonged development crisis is now. Creditors, debtors, and guarantors must act fast and decisively to avoid past mistakes of providing ‘too little too late’ debt relief.”

Dulwich College Singapore

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