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Malawi, others must claim $97 trillion for slave trade

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Debt distressed Africa must claim its payment of about $97 trillion from the global north for the work that Africans who were captured and worked as slaves did in the developed countries, a Pan-African Feminist initiative has said.

The call comes at a time impoverished Malawi is swimming in a K5.7 trillion public debt which has seen the shrinking of fiscal space by the authorities with billions of kwacha going towards interest repayment every year.

Speaking on the side-lines of the high-level African Conference on Debt and Development (AfCoDD II) currently underway in Lilongwe, Nawi Collective Director Clustal Simeoni said African contributed 222 million hours of free labour towards the development of rich nations.

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She said the labour calculated at today’s minimum wage translates to $97 trillion.

Simeoni said it would be hard for Africa to have a debt transformative justice agenda if the money owed to the continent is not paid by the advanced nations.

The three-day conference has been convened by the African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (Afrodad), Malawi Economic Justice, Action Aid, Oxfam and the Stop the Bleeding Campaign together with development partners under the theme From Recovery to Reform: Sisi Ndio Tuko Stop the Bleeding.

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Afrodad Vice Chairperson, Barbara Kalima-Phiri called for the complete dismantling of the global debt architecture.

In his keynote presentation, University of Malawi Economics Professor Ronald Mangani said while borrowing on its own is not bad, questions need to be asked on what African countries are borrowing for.

According to Mangani, many African countries are in trouble because they are borrowing for consumption and not production which erodes their ability to repay the money.

African Parliamentary Network on Illicit Financial Flows and Tax (APNIFFT) Chairperson Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala blamed blind loyalty by Members of Parliament when they pass financial bills that do not promote production.

She said this has resulted in many Africans procuring a lot of questionable public debt.

Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament Chairperson, Gladys Ganda, conquered with Litchfield- Tshabalala that lawmakers sometimes do not help Malawians when it comes to scrutinising money bills.

The conference has brought together African citizens to actively discuss, debate, and decide Africa’s path towards economic, political, and social self-determination.

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