World AIDS Day: Take Action For Zambia

1 Dec 2000
Friday December 1st is World AIDS Day. In the African country of Zambia, one-in-five adults is infected with HIV, and 13% of children are orphaned because of AIDS.

U2 fans know of the bands' collaboration with the Jubilee 2000 campaign to cancel the debts of the world's poorest countries - Bono, in particular, has spent time lobbying political leaders in recent months.

Zambia is one of the worlds poorest countries, paying out every year to rich creditors, handicapping its ability to fight HIV and poverty.

So far $100bn of the estimated total of $360bn in debts is set to be cancelled and the situation is improving for some countries. In Uganda for example, the money saved from debt payments is now being spent on health and education.

But the rules are stringent for countries to qualify for debt relief and, strangely, for some countries the situation is set to get worse before it gets better. Zambia, where life expectancy is falling from 44 years due to the impact of AIDS, could find annual debt repayments increasing from $136 million to $220 million a year.

U2 fans can join a worldwide campaign to persuade the International Monetary Fund (IMF) not to squeeze Zambia like this - but instead to cancel her debts and step up the fight against  HIV and poverty.

The IMF, run by its major shareholders - Britain, America, France, Germany, Japan and Italy - will be making a decision on Zambia in the next few days.

You can e-mail the directors of the IMF and join the global campaign for debt cancellation in Zambia by visiting

www.dropthedebt.org

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