AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - “Every week in the world poverty kills like a tsunami” say Catholic Bishops of Southern Africa

Thursday, 3 February 2005

Pretoria (Fides Service)- Poverty kills the equivalent of a tsunami every week throughout the world. This was affirmed by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference SACBC in a statement issued during their plenary session in Pretoria on 2 February.
The Bishops said that poverty remains the world’s greatest challenge and that debt cancellation for poor countries must be achieved. Despite many promises of debt relief poor countries continue to pay $100 million dollars a day in debt repayments.
The Bishops call for a transparent procedure to revise debts.
At the same time they call on industrialised countries and international institutions to promote a more just global financial and trading system to protect jobs of more vulnerable communities and guarantee essential public services for poor people. The Bishops say rich countries must honour their long-standing commitment to increase international development aid levels to at least 0.7% of their GDP. However such sustained development grants must not be traded off against debt cancellation.
Correspondingly, the Bishops say that leaders of developing countries have their responsibilities. In particular they must introduce development programmes, practices of good governance and anti-corruption measures.
The Bishops reaffirm their own commitment to extensive anti-poverty programmes through the various church agencies, to expanding partnerships with different role-players, both national and international in overcoming poverty. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 2005 righe 27 parole 301)