Hundreds of ‘Debt For Climate’ Activists Demand Debt Cancellation, Saying “80 Years Are Enough” for The IMF and World Bank 


Posted 2 weeks ago

On Friday 19 April, as the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings concluded in Washington, DC, ‘Debt for Climate’ activists from Africa, Europe and America staged global protests to declare that 80 years of debt colonialism are enough.

In Lusaka, Zambia, activists delivered a letter to the World Bank demanding debt cancellation for Global South countries to address their crippling debt crisis.

Hundreds march through Lusaka, Zambia on April 19, 2024 as part of a global day of action demanding debt cancellation for climate justice. (Angela Nandeka/AP Content Services for Glasgow Actions Team)

“Zambia is in the middle of a huge debt crisis, worsened by 80 years of crippling IMF and World Bank loans, leaving minimal funds for essential services. Zambia urgently needs to deal with the climate crisis and economic relief to protect its citizens, but instead is trapped spending billions in debt repayments to creditors. Debt cancellation is crucial for Zambia’s social, economic, and climate justice.” stated Precious Kalombwana, Debt For Climate Zambia.

In Ghana, where interest payments consume up to 100% of national revenue, Debt For Climate Ghana organized an educational event at the Strategic Youth Network for Development, attended by over 40 people.

“Hefty debt payments stifle our growth, poverty rises, and climate adaptation suffers here in Ghana. We have no chance of meeting any Sustainable Development Goals. The Global North institutions, like the IMF and predatory private lenders like BlackRock must cancel this debt to enable and support a just-transition and a sustainable future for Ghana,” stated Nana Mariam, Debt For Climate Ghana.

At the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Debt For Climate Mexico hosted a public radio show featuring prominent environmental and social justice activists, including representatives from the National Promoter for the Suspension of Public Debt Payments, National Front for the 40-Hour Work-week, and National Union of Indigenous Peoples’ Workers for Forest Care. 

Diana Cantarey, Debt for Climate Mexico, said “It’s no secret that lenders like the IMF and the World Bank impose financing conditions at the expense of the working class. A large portion of the national wealth, created in our country, is not reinvested back into the population but is instead used to pay the unsolicited development of fossil fuel infrastructure and industry, as well as the interest on a massive illegitimate public debt.”

In Hamburg, Debt for Climate Germany activists took to the streets of the annual Fridays for Future Global Climate Strike addressing their government’s role in perpetuating the colonial debt burden on the Global South.

In the United States, Debt for Climate US blocked the road outside IMF and World Bank meetings and performed street theater to illustrate how the IMF loans shackle the Global South. Reb Spring declared “Those of us in the Global North, the wealthiest nations, must demand our governments pressure these institutions and private lenders to cancel the debt. This financial colonialism must end.”