G7 Leaders Pressed to Find Debt Crisis Solutions Amid Worrying Growth Forecasts

Ahead of Jubilee 2025 Year, Pope Francis is First Pope in History to Join G7 Summit

 G7 leaders grapple with debt, climate and development crises in Italy from June 13th - 15th. In addition to the presidents and prime ministers hosted in the southern Italian region of Puglia, others in attendance include Pope Francis, the leaders of Brazil, Argentina, India, other developing countries and heads of the IMF, World Bank and United Nations.

The World Bank forecasts low growth rates, which will not be enough for developing countries to achieve key development goals.

“Over three billion people live in countries that spend more on debt payments than they spend on health and education,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network. “The pandemic, wars, climate challenges and high interest rates force many countries into hard choices between paying debts and investing in their people.”

In advance of the Jubilee year of 2025, for the first time in history a Pope, Pope Francis, joins the G7 meeting. Last week the Pontiff echoed words of Pope Saint John Paul II in 2000 saying that the Jubilee year is an appropriate occasion to cancel international debt and create new processes to solve debt and development crises.

“The G7 is under a lot of pressure to address growing debt challenges in Africa and among developing countries,” noted LeCompte who was with Pope Francis during his remarks on debt at the Vatican last week. “If we can't resolve debt problems and support countries to raise more revenue, poor global growth forecasts will continue.”

The G7 will consider ways to increase lending and aid through development banks. In May, G7 finance ministers noted that agreements made so far will yield more than $25 billion a year in additional finance for climate and other challenges. The largest provider of aid to the poorest countries, the International Development Association, needs substantial resources this year to maintain aid and loans with low interest rates.

“Together with G7 leaders, we won more than $130 billion in debt relief since Jubilee 2000,” shared LeCompte. “While we achieved significant debt relief and won anti-corruption policies, we failed to institute the policies we needed to prevent and resolve future debt crises. In Jubilee 2025, we must win real solutions to prevent debt crises and solve development challenges.” 

Read Pope Francis' June 5th Address on Debt Crises, Development and Jubilee 2025 here.