The United Nations (UN) is calling for more flexibility from developed countries in easing the growing debt burden of poorer nations.
The head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Achim Steiner said there was a fear that affected countries, particularly in Africa and Latin America, would no longer be able to afford spending to cope with the coronavirus pandemic or to meet sustainable development and climate goals.
“I think it does not take much imagination to understand that this debt crisis threatens to spill over to an entrenched sustainable development crisis …,” said Steiner.
In a report published on Tuesday, UNDP identified 54 developing countries with a serious debt problem.
They represent little more than three per cent of the global economy but account for more than five per cent of people living in extreme poverty.
“Given the global outlook of low growth and high-interest rates, the international community must urgently step-up debt relief efforts to avert a deepening development crisis,” the report said.
The worst affected countries, it said, were Chad, Zambia and Ethiopia, as well as Sri Lanka and Pakistan. (dpa/NAN)