News Release

As O’Neill and Bono Tour Africa: Interviews Available

U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and rock star Bono have started a 10-day tour of Africa. The following policy analysts are available for interviews:

SALIH BOOKER
Executive director of Africa Action, Booker said today: “African governments are being held liable for the cost of failed and often grandiose development projects pushed by creditors. Now Africa’s people are expected to repay huge debts that were largely incurred before their time and that did not benefit them. For example, South Africa’s white minority regime accumulated more than $18 billion in foreign debt in the 15 years before apartheid fell. South Africa’s neighbors incurred more than $26 billion in debt during this same period, much of it a result of Pretoria’s regional war. Today, victims of apartheid are forced to pay the costs of their own previous repression. Interest payments on these kinds of loans are still sucking resources out of Africa, even though the principal on the debt has already been repaid…. The U.S., since it is the dominant shareholder in the IMF and World Bank, has the power to change this…. Among industrialized countries, the U.S. continues to rank lowest with 0.1 percent of its GNP in official development assistance, far below the UN target of 0.7 percent.”
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NONDUMISO MVINJELWA
Administrator for the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa, Mvinjelwa said today: “Because the government is spending so much on debt, it says it has little for AIDS treatment, milk, healthcare.”
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BILL FLETCHER
Fletcher, the president of TransAfrica Forum, said today: “The term ‘structural adjustment’ is used by the IMF and the World Bank to describe an approach to the reorganization of a country’s economy in order for it to access assistance from international financial institutions. ‘Structural adjustment’ is akin to dealing with a loan shark. Underdeveloped and often formerly colonized countries in the global South often go to the international financial institutions seeking assistance. They are informed that in return for receiving assistance they surrender their sovereignty. Rather than an economy based on the needs of the people of that country, the economy is reorganized to serve and service the needs of the international financial institutions and multinational corporations.”
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MARIE CLARKE
MARA VANDERSLICE
National coordinator of Jubilee USA, Clarke said today: “Many of the most impoverished nations of the world have paid their original debt time and again, but because of ever-accumulating interest and the impact of the conditions attached to the loans, the countries are never able to overcome their debt burdens. A recent report from the World Bank and IMF … shows that only five countries have completed the program since it began in 1996. The other 21 countries that have entered HIPC are racing to complete endless and harmful conditions set by the World Bank and IMF. To get debt relief, countries are required to take out a new loan with the IMF…. Any program that requires countries to take out new loans to qualify for debt relief is just scandalous.” Vanderslice is outreach coordinator for the group.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167