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Debt Relief
Alex Steffen, 30 Sep 04

Iraq War politics may help get some of the world's poorest countries' international debts forgiven. As part of a campaign to get Iraq's Saddam-era debts forgiven, the US is pushing for complete debt relief for the world's 30 poorest countries, something we in the developed world can easily afford to do. The NYT explains,

"Poor countries deserve more help to get out from under loans made by banks awash in oil money; a great deal of that loan money went to corrupt dictators. Today, sub-Saharan Africa pays $1.30 in debt service for every dollar it gets in aid, four times what it spends on health care. Rich countries have yet to agree on who should pay. Britain has offered to contribute 10 percent of the needed money, but other G-8 countries are not likely to be similarly generous. The Bush administration's solution, that the I.M.F. and the World Bank cover the costs, is the best one. Surprisingly, leaders of those institutions, who had previously opposed financing debt cancellation, now say they are willing. One reason is that the I.M.F. owns more than 103 million ounces of gold, a holdover from the gold standard days that it values at about 10 percent of the market price. By selling a small part of that gold at market rates or by simply revaluing it, the I.M.F. could finance debt cancellation painlessly."

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Comments

On the Iraq end of this, see the extremely well-informed Jubilee Iraq, http://www.jubileeiraq.org/


Posted by: Dan on 1 Oct 04



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