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Tell Secretary Snow: Drop the Debt to Save Lives!


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Tell Secretary Snow: Drop the Debt to Save Lives!

Dear Friends,

African countries are forced to spend more money paying back old and illegitimate debts to rich countries and institutions than they are able to spend on healthcare or education for their own citizens. Now you can help change that! Go to to sign a petition for debt cancellation today.

On February 5th, Finance Ministers from the seven wealthiest countries known as the G7 or Group of 7, are meeting to consider 100% cancellation for as many as 40 of the world?s poorest countries, the majority of them in Africa. We need your action today to ensure that the U.S. government works to achieve this 100% debt cancellation in the next four weeks! Please email the U.S. Treasury; help us win a victory on debt.

As a part of the Africa?s Right to Health Campaign, Africa Action is working for 100% unconditional debt cancellation for all African countries. Africa's massive external debt burden is the single biggest obstacle to the continent's development and to the fight against HIV/AIDS. (Learn more about how Africa?s debt fuels the fire of AIDS. The $300 billion that African countries owe to foreign creditors represents a crippling load that undermines economic and social progress. The All-African Conference of Churches has called this debt "a new form of slavery, as vicious as the slave trade."

Africa Action is encouraged by the fact that 100% debt cancellation is on the agenda at the G7 Finance Ministers meeting in London next month. The U.S. negotiator will be Treasury Secretary John Snow. Will he act for justice and ensure debt cancellation for African nations or will he accept an inferior proposal that fails to free poor countries from this debt bondage?

We are at a crossroads on the critical issue of international debt. There are two proposals on debt reduction for a number of impoverished countries. The U.S. proposal, perhaps surprisingly to many of you, is the more progressive of the two as it calls for 100% debt cancellation for roughly 40 countries by the two largest creditors, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, to be cancelled by using their own resources to cover the costs. The alternative, a British proposal, does not provide for 100% cancellation. It covers a smaller number of countries and it requires that wealthy governments (and their taxpayers) cover the costs of paying back these debts on behalf of poor countries for the next 10 years. We at Africa Action want to ensure that the IMF and World Bank finance debt cancellation themselves. We also want the largest possible number of impoverished countries to be included in the plan.

Your signature on this petition could make the difference between life and debt. Take Action Now!