With one decision, finance ministers from seven G8 countries
changed the lives of 296 million people. In total, $40 billion in
debt owed by 18, mostly African, countries was canceled.
The decision made
at this month ‘s G8 requires the eight rich nations to pay $16.7 billion
over the next 10 years and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to
cover $6 billion from its ‘existing resources,’
Christian Science Monitor reports. After 2008, the G8
nations are responsible for covering the full costs of the loans
owed to the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
The move is huge for countries like Tanzania, where 12 percent
of the annual budget is spent servicing debt, but questions remain
about the intentions behind the decision.
One issue is the
absence of African hotspots Nigeria, Sudan, Congo, and Angola
among those benefiting. These countries, deemed too corrupt for
debt relief, play a huge role in regional destabilization.
George Monbiot points out in The Guardian, the IMF and
World Bank haven’t shied away from lending money to political thugs
in the past. The real corruption plaguing poor countries is the
policies that place them in an economic straightjacket, leaving
their public utilities and commodities ripe for the picking by
multinational corporations. The conditions of debt cancellation
look to be more of the same. In order to qualify, countries must
tackle corruption, boost private-sector development and eliminate
barriers to domestic and foreign investment.
Meanwhile, as many dissect the present and future implications
Mediachannel.org is calling on the media to question and
investigate the deeper underlying issues of disease, weapons
trade, war, and colonialism that contribute to the current climate
of African affairs.
Go there >>
Debt Relief Means for Africa
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Related Links from the Utne
Jubilee Year: Time to Pardon Financial Debt of World’s
Intentions: The Story of Tanzania’s People’s Park
does US Stand on UN Proposal to End World Poverty?
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