News Release

Debt Relief for Africa: How to Proceed


Mark Engler is the author of an op-ed in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer titled “Credit Globalization Movement for Debt Victory.” He said today: “Thanks in large part to persistent campaigners in the global South and their international supporters, a plan granting 100 percent multilateral debt relief for 18 impoverished countries has been approved by leaders of the G8 industrialized countries in advance of their July meeting Scotland. … Observers have often remarked in recent years that globalization demonstrators have won the moral argument about trade and development, yet have not been able to translate their positions into policy. The debt victory, however, provides a clear instance in which allied activists from Africa, Europe, the United States, and beyond have affected governmental decision-making and opened real possibilities for human development.”
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Woods is the co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus. She said today: “To put the limitations of the deal in context, key countries like South Africa, Liberia and Nigeria were left off the list. It’s reprehensible that the apartheid debt of South Africa, the debts accrued by Liberian dictators Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor, and the debt amassed by the ruthless General Sani Abacha in Nigeria will still need to be paid by the citizens of these countries. These debts are as odious as Saddam Hussein’s and should be treated the same way.”
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Co-director of Essential Action, Weissman said today: “The debt cancellation deal will dramatically improve the lives of millions of people in the 18 countries that will benefit immediately. … Thanks to money saved, children will be able to attend school, and the sick will be able to receive healthcare. … The next step will be to extend cancellation of illegitimate debt to other nations. In the case of the International Monetary Fund, unless an arrangement is reached for the IMF simply to write off these illegitimate debts, extending the deal will require identifying new resources. That will likely require sales of some of the IMF’s gold stock, a move that has been blocked by the Newmont Mining Co. and the gold lobby in the United States.”
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Dossani is the director of the 50 Years Is Enough Network. He said today: “It’s essential that countries getting their debts canceled not be constricted in terms of the money they can spend for crucial health and education programs.”
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Ann-Louise Colgan, director of policy Analysis and Communications at Africa Action, said today: “We reject the G8’s affirmation of the harmful Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) framework as the basis for future debt cancellation, when it is clear that the devastating conditions required by this program have deepened the debt crisis and exacerbated poverty across the African continent.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167