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Under the radar

Private sector debt and coronavirus in developing countries The G20 must step in and compel private creditors to cancel the debts of developing countries to avoid the loss of many more lives. In the global south, coronavirus is leaving a trail of devastation - from widespread loss of life from the virus itself, to huge economic disruption that has left hundreds of millions of people, who were already struggling to make ends meet, without jobs or sufficient food. Despite this huge economic shock, many developing countries are continuing to pay off debts to rich countries, public institutions like the World Bank and IMF, and some of the richest banks and hedge funds in the world. This means they have less money to meet the immediate needs of the population. This briefing aims to shine a light on the debt owed to private creditors by five African countries - Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Zambia - and it outlines the steps which the G20 needs to take immediately to avert further economic chaos. It highlights the central role of enormous financial corporations like BlackRock, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Legal & General, JP Morgan and UBS, which have become increasingly important in the world of sovereign debt. Private creditors’ share of the foreign debts of low- and lower-middle income governments increased from 25% in 2010 to 47% in 2018.1 Multi-trillion dollar asset manager BlackRock alone holds close to US$1 billion of ‘Eurobonds’ in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Zambia through a number of funds.

New pathways out of poverty in Africa: sustainable agriculture

A Christian Aid and CAFOD policy paper investigating how agricultural transformation has become a development priority for African governments and the international development community. It is commonly understood as a shift from ‘low’ productivity subsistence agriculture to more commercially-oriented production. This shift is seen as the first step away from the continent’s continued dependence on raw commodity exports, and towards diversified and domestically integrated economies that provide sufficient employment opportunities to the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population.   This is to be welcomed. However, this report highlights the risk that agricultural transformation strategies already underway in some African countries could increase inequality and further degrade the environment. To prevent this from happening agriculture transformation strategies need to: integrate actions that will build the resilience of producer households and wider ecosystems to climate and economic shocks, instead of focusing predominantly on increasing the productivity of smallholders link smallholder producers to the wider domestic economy.  CAFOD and Christian Aid programmes that support small agro-enterprise development, climate resilience building and inclusive agricultural market development include deliberate actions to ensure equitable and environmentally sustainable outcomes. To further promote the integration of these principles in the design and implementation of government policies, we have initiated an on-going dialogue with our partner organisations in Africa to determine how agricultural transformation policies in their own countries can contribute to more equitable and sustainable development.

Africa rising? Inequalities and the essential role of fair taxation

Joint report with Tax Justice Network Africa (TJN-A) reveals Africa's much-touted growth is happening alongside worsening income inequality trends.