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Pope calls for an openness to foreign debt forgiveness – would it actually help?

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Credit: Rome Reports

The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences gathered top academic experts, economic leaders and religious leaders on 5 June to address the concerning debt crisis in the global south.

Those gathered for this event had an audience with Pope Francis, where he spoke of the consequences of mismanaged globalisation.

“In order to try to break the debt-financing cycle, it is necessary to create a multinational mechanism, based on the solidarity and harmony of peoples, that takes into account the global nature of the problem and its economic, financial and social implications,” he explained.

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According to Development Finance International, an organisation that helps developing countries with their finances, citizens of the global south now face the worst debt crisis since global records began

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in unprecedented debt increases that have been especially crushing developing countries and impacting the health, education and poverty levels of their citizens.

In closing his address to the conference participants, the pope noted that during the last Jubilee year, in 2000, Pope John Paul II encouraged the substantial reduction or even cancellation of foreign debt. Pope Francis in turn echoed this appeal and called for an openness to foreign debt forgiveness.

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