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Kenyan and Other African Nations’ Debt Relief and Debt Cancellation

WHEREAS, in the world's most impoverished nations, the majority of the populations do not have access to clean water, adequate housing or basic health care; and

WHEREAS, the world's most impoverished nations are paying debt service to wealthy nations and institutions at the expense of providing basic services to their citizens; and

WHEREAS, the international debt takes the natural resources out of a country, forcing countries to become more dependent upon international creditors for more aid and new loans; and

WHEREAS, the lives of 19,000 children around the world could be saved every day if the debt of the most impoverished nations was cancelled and the savings was put to good use; and

WHEREAS, in an African country such as Kenya, where the national debt is roughly $257.00 for each man, woman, and child and stood at eight billion dollars in December of 2002, of which $56 million is owed to United States Government; and

WHEREAS, Finland has written off $1.5 million, Japan has written off $10 million in debt, and the European Parliament has made a commitment to table in the house a motion asking for complete debt cancellation for Kenya, all in 2003; and

WHEREAS, the Kenyan government has initiated a campaign for Cancel-Debts-For-The-Child Campaign (CADEC) where countries are being asked to forgive the debt payment with the funds being used to meet children needs in education, medical and social services; and

WHEREAS, debt cancellation allows countries to access their own resources for poverty reduction; savings from debt service can now be allocated for health care, education, fighting HIV and AIDS and more; and

WHEREAS, debt cancellation makes our foreign aid dollars work better and stronger, currently our foreign aid frees up money for countries to pay back their debts to wealthy nations and international banks. Debt cancellation would help ensure that funds can be used effectively for poverty reduction, ultimately lessening a countries dependence upon foreign aid; and

WHEREAS, spread over 20 years, the cost of canceling the debts of the 52 most indebted nations is only one penny a day for each person in the industrialized world.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP urge the United States Government to take the lead in debt relief and debt cancellation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP support legislation on behalf of Kenyan children asking the United States Government to forgive Kenya for $56 million and participate in the Cancel-Debts-For-The-Child campaign; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP support diplomatic efforts in the United Nations, as well as legislative efforts in the United States Congress, including H.R. 1376 which was introduced by Congressmen Chris Smith of New Jersey and Barney Frank of Massachusetts to practically double the debt relief currently being offered to qualified, impoverished countries by providing an additional one billion dollars annually in debt relief for countries that qualify for debt relief while at the same time requiring that debt relief not be conditioned on some of the most harmful conditions by the International Monetary Fund, such as charging fees for school and health care and threatening labor rights.

Derrick Lewis - Youth & College Hero

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