This money could otherwise be spent on health care, education, equality and social protection, as well as tackling the effects of climate change, says Oxfam.  Credit: Jeffrey Moyo/IPS
This money could otherwise be spent on health care, education, equality and social protection, as well as tackling the effects of climate change, says Oxfam. Credit: Jeffrey Moyo/IPS
  • by Baher Kamal (Gypsy)
  • Interpress service

Such an inhumane reality also reveals that the G7 (group of the seven richest countries), which represents only 10% of the world’s population, continues to demand that the Global South pay $232 million – a day – in debt repayments until 2028, on 17 May 2023 revealed a new analysis from Oxfam before the G7.

This is the amount of interest and debt repayment that the middle and low-income countries – including the 46 least developed countries (LDC5)– must continue to remit -every single day- for the total of 10 trillion USD they have been forced to borrow from rich states, private banks and financial companies.

The results

The Group of Seven (G7) countries owe low- and middle-income countries a whopping 13.3 trillion in unpaid aid and financing for climate action, according to to one Oxfam new analysis launched ahead of G7 (US, UK, Germany, Japan, France, Italy and Canada) Summit in Hiroshima, Japan (19–21 May 2023).

“This money could otherwise be spent on healthcare, education, equality and social protection, as well as addressing the effects of climate change,” adds this global movement of people fighting inequality, working in 70 countries, with thousands of partners and allies .

Meanwhile, cholera threatens a billion people

Such a huge G7 debt to the Global South in their unfulfilled aid pledges would be vital to save the lives of up to a billion people in 43 countries now facing the threat of cholera in a “bleak” outlook, which reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on 19 May 2023.

In their new warning, the two specialist organizations said more countries are now facing outbreaks, an increasing number of cases are being reported and patient outcomes are worse than 10 years ago.

After years of steady decline, cholera is making a “devastating comeback, targeting the world’s most vulnerable communities.”

Killing the poor in plain sight

“The pandemic is killing the poor right in front of us,” said Jérôme Pfaffmann Zambruni, head of UNICEF’s public health emergency.

Under the grim outlook, WHO data shows 15 countries had reported cases by May 2022, but by mid-May of this year 2023 “we already have 24 countries reporting and we expect more with the seasonal change in cholera cases,” says Henry Gray , WHO’s Incident Manager for the Global Cholera Response.

Cholera cases are increasing

“Despite progress in controlling the disease made in previous decades, we risk going backwards.”

The UN’s health authority estimates that one billion people in 43 countries are at risk of contracting cholera, with children under the age of five particularly vulnerable.

“Cholera’s extraordinarily high mortality rate is also alarming.”

Southeast Africa is particularly hard hit, with infections spreading in Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, according to the UN.

Deadly combination

A deadly combination of climate change, underinvestment in water, sanitation and hygiene services – and in some cases armed conflict – has led to the spread of the disease, the two UN agencies said.

Despite these and so many other threats facing the most vulnerable countries, the rich G7 states continue to drastically cut their committed aid, while causing the greatest impact of their highly lucrative dependence on fossil fuels, one of the main causes of the current climate crisis.

Wealth “built on colonialism and slavery”

“Rich G7 countries like to pose as saviors, but what they are is driving a deadly double standard – they play by one set of rules while their former colonies are forced to play by another,” said Oxfam International’s acting executive director Amitabh Behar.

“It is the rich world that owes the Global South. The aid they promised decades ago but never delivered. The enormous cost of climate damage caused by their reckless burning of fossil fuels. The enormous wealth built on colonialism and slavery.”

In fact, as early as 2020, the G7 countries accounted for more than 50% of global net wealth, estimated at over $200 trillion.

“Every day the Global South pays hundreds of millions of dollars to the G7 and their rich bankers. This has to stop. It’s time to call the hypocrisy of the G7 for what it is: an attempt to avoid responsibility and maintain the neo-colonial status quo,” Behar said .

“This money could have been transformative,” Behar said. “It could have paid for children to go to school, hospitals and life-saving medicines, improved access to water, better roads, agriculture and food security and so much more. The G7 must pay its due.”

Billions poor… and hungry

The G7 leaders are meeting at a moment when billions of workers face real wage cuts and impossible increases in the prices of staples like food. Global hunger has increased for the fifth consecutive year, while extreme wealth and extreme poverty have increased simultaneously for the first time in 25 years, reports OXFAM.

Despite a commitment by the G7 last month to phase out fossil fuels faster, Germany is now pushing for G7 leaders to support public investment in gas, the human solidarity movement further explaining.

The G7 owes the poor $9 trillion for their devastation

“It has been estimated that the G7 owes low- and middle-income countries $8.7 trillion for the devastating losses and damage their excessive carbon emissions have caused, particularly in the Global South.”

G7 governments are also collectively failing to meet a long-standing pledge by rich countries to provide $100 billion a year from 2020 to 2025 to help poorer countries deal with climate change, it added.

Meanwhile, “In 1970, rich countries agreed to give 0.7 percent of their gross national income in aid. Since then, the G7 countries have left unpaid a total of $4.49 trillion to the world’s poorest countries – more than half of what was promised.”

Will these 10% of the world’s population ever fulfill their promises to 90% of all people on earth? What do you think?

© Inter Press Service (2023) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service