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Disappointed Hopes in Africa

by Gisela Kremberg Saturday, Jul. 30, 2005 at 5:02 PM
mbatko@lycos.com

"The billion promised before the summit was only a small part of Africa's total 0 billion in debts and the more than .4 trillion of all developing countries. The IMF, World Bank and G8 still use the debts as an instru-ment for dictating development.."

DISAPPOINTED HOPES IN AFRICA

Debt cancellation of developing countries repeatedly promised but never realized.

Dictation from the North

By Gisela Kremberg

[This article published in: Junge Welt, 7/12/2005 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.jungewelt.de/2005/07-12/007.php.]




At the summit of the G8 states that ended last Friday at the Scottish Gleneagles, Africa relief and debt cancllation were on the agenda. Several African heads of state were given audiences after arriving directly from the summit of the African Union in Libya. Concrete results from meetings of the powerful are far less than originally anounced. Hardly anyone in Africa except for the heads of government had the illusion that anything would change in ignorance toward the black continent.

The president of the coalition for African Alternatives to Debts and Development in Mali, Barre Amanita Toure recalled that similar promises were made at the end of the 1990s at the G8 summit in Koln. No progress was made for those countries included in the debt cancellation initiative, according to the analysis of her organization. The debt reductions were either minimal or the indebtedness in the meantime reached the same or a higher level.

Moreover the debt cancellations were tied to conditions. Thus the measures prescribed in the “Strategy papers for reducing poverty” led to more privatizations in the public sector, particularly in education and health care, and resulted in even more poverty. More than 300 million Africans must manage with less than 64 cents daily. Without any illusions, Barre Amanita Toure concluded that the G8 met this year “to make false promises to Africa again.”

In a survey by the international multi-media project “Raised Voices”, the opinions of African students revealed few illusions about the themes of the G8 summit. Raufu from Nigeria regarded the debt theme as crucial for his country. He calculated that Nigeria in the 1970s received credits in the amount of billion that did not flow into the country but ended up with corrupt bankers and functionaries. Nigeria has paid back more than billion and must still pay compound interests in the billions. This debt service devours the capacities for other necessities. Thus more than seven million Nigerian children are without primary education today. The condition of the public infrastructure, especially the public health systems, is catastrophic. Tayo from Nigeria said the West always only speaks of the corruption in Africa that must be removed as a cause of poverty. That the corruption in relations and businesses appeared with the West is often “forgotten.”

George Dor, general secretary of the debt cancellation network “Jubilee South” declared that the international campaign of Jubilee South had demanded the unconditional and extensive cancellation of all debts before the turn of the millenium. The billion promised before the summit was only a small part of Africa’s total 0 billion in debts and the more than .4 trillion of all developing countries. The IMF, World Bank and the G8 still use the debts as an instrument for dictating the development of the African economy.

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