In the middle of Covid-19 pandemic and a global economic recession, the poorest countries in the world are still having to make huge debt repayments. Paying off these debts means some governments may be forced to reduce their spending on areas like education and healthcare. This will be devastating for children like Shamiso* who lives in Zimbabwe. She is not going to school and not able to play with her friends. We can’t let profits be put before children! 

We urgently call on private lenders and G20 governments to agree long-term debt relief, and cancellation where possible, for the poorest countries in the world.

As the pandemic continues, governments in the world’s poorest countries have been confronted with an impossible choice: paying off their debts means cutting back spending on education and health  services. Spending cuts to vital services will devastate children’s futures.

The poorest countries are scheduled to spend over $40 billion on debt repayments this year. While some richer governments have offer to post-pone debt payments in the short-term, private companies have not done the same. Instead, they are continuing to pocket profits from huge interest payments.

Paying off these debts will threaten children’s futures. 

For children in many countries, debt relief is—quite literally—a life and death issue. While countries continue to have to repay their debts, the impacts on health and education services will be devastating. It is estimated that over six months in low and middle-income countries, 1.2 million more children could die due to increased strain on health systems, disruptions to routine healthcare and increased wasting. In addition, Save the Children’s research has shown that over 10 million children may never return to school after the pandemic, unless governments can step up to help them. If they don’t have the money to do this these children’s chance at an education will be lost. 

If critical health and education services are cut, children will be hit first and hit the hardest.

That is why we are calling for the immediate suspension of debt payments and we need your voice to make it happen! We need governments and private lenders to agree to debt relief now.

It is time to stand with the world’s poorest to convert their debts into investments in children’s future.

That’s exactly what is needed right now, and it’s up to us to ensure our governments and private lenders make it happen!

Sign the petition now.

*Name changed to protect identity


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