"No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine." - - - William Blum

June 07, 2005

Help Eliminate Africa’s Foreign Debt

Mercy Corps, an international relief organization (one of the top-rated, too) is asking for your help. It will take all of 5 minutes of your time:

This Friday and Saturday, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow will meet with six of his most influential international counterparts to discuss the issue of debt relief for the world’s most impoverished countries.

Releasing poor nations from their international debt obligations is a key part of the worldwide campaign to make poverty history. Too many poor countries spend more on servicing debt held by the U.S. and other well-off countries than on health care or education for their own citizens. For every $2 Africa is given in aid, nearly $1 is returned as debt payments.

Although the Group of Eight (G8) wealthiest nations has formally agreed that full debt relief is desirable, there is still dispute over how to accomplish this goal. Please join Mercy Corps in sending a strong message to U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow that 100 percent debt relief is necessary and vital for the world's poorest countries.

Nowhere is debt forgiveness more desperately needed than in Africa, home to the highest proportion of people living in extreme poverty. Relinquishing African nations from their burdensome debt obligations will free up resources to modernize economies, deliver health care and education and achieve higher living standards.

The limited debt relief given so far has shown enormous promise: In the last five years, Mozambique has reduced its poverty rate from 70 to 55 percent; a school-building boom has put Tanzania on track to offer universal primary education by 2006; and Uganda has reduced its rate of HIV/AIDS from 20 percent to 6.5 percent.

The time for debt relief is now. Please ask Secretary Snow to help forge agreement on a 100-percent debt relief plan for the world’s poorest countries, and free Africa’s resources to focus on developing its people, its economies and its future.

For more information on Mercy Corps' current advocacy campaigns and how you can help, please visit mercycorps.org/advocacy.
Mercy Corps * 3015 SW 1st Ave. * Portland, OR 97201


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