Seychelles win gold in an unwelcome Commonwealth table
The Seychelles may be lurking near the bottom of the Commonwealth Games medal table – but the island nation has just topped a rather more unwelcome ranking.
Research by Jubilee Scotland shows that the Indian Ocean state, with a population of just 92,000, tops the debt capita table with $22,084.01 ‘owed’ per person.
Taking silver, in second place, was Grenada on $5,381.68 and bronze went to Jamaica on $4,891.71.
In total, seven of the top 10 countries – based on the latest World Bank debt report – are island states.
This is despite the fact that the Commonwealth organisation, in its Charter of Values, believes itself to be a global leader in understanding the special needs of small island nations.
However, as the Jubilee Scotland alternative medal table shows, many of its members are still struggling from crippling debt.
Until the Commonwealth backs up the words of its Charter with action, there will always be a sense that for the stronger members the weak states are not worth looking after
Jubilee Scotland's campaign director Alys Mumford said: "Small Island Developing States often have particular problems, such as a lack of resources and land, or an increased susceptibility to natural disasters.
“In what is clearly an associated concern, having a small economy also means that the slightest knock can create devastating effects.
“It is highly counter-intuitive that a response to protect the states most at risk is to encourage them to take on more and more loans.
“Whilst these loans are meant to help foster development, for a small island with a delicate economy, the ensuing debt and interest payments will only make matters worse. Development assistance to these nations should be given as loans, not grants.
“As the table shows, until the Commonwealth backs up the words of its Charter with action, there will always be a sense that for the stronger members the weak states are not worth looking after.
Jubilee Scotland is a coalition of Scottish NGOs and civil society organisations campaigning for an end to unjust global debt.