September 17, 2006

Damned by Debt Relief


In June 2005 the finance ministers of the G8 industrialised nations struck a deal worth a seemingly whopping US$72billion that cancelled the debt of 18 of the poorest countries in the world, 14 of them in Africa.

So how’s that working out for those on the receiving end, for those who live in the poor African countries that have been liberated from debt? ‘It is rubbish. It stinks. This debt relief is making things worse.’ says DeRoy Kwesi Andrew, a science teacher and BA student in his twenties who lives in Accra, Over the past year he has been working on the film Damned by Debt Relief, a scathing critique of the economic and political straitjacket imposed on the poor countries that signed up for debt relief.

‘Debt relief has taken away very much: our independence, our ability to develop, our self-respect

it has meant the country being forced to submit to more stringent international regulation of its spending habits and priorities, Says Andrew. ‘It does not deliver development and it also denies us the freedom to pursue development.

The post-G8 debt relief programme ties poor countries into a relationship of child-like dependency with international institutions.

They tell Third World countries how to run their affairs, prioritise their investments and they insist on regular check-ups to make sure these countries are adhering to ‘good policy performance’
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In order to win debt repayment or relief Third World countries must agree to mould their political and economic life – the very lifeblood of sovereign states – around the diktats of Western governments and banks.

From Spiked interview with Ghanaian teacher and film maker.

1 comment:

Bapu Satyanarayana said...

What has been stated is very true. In fact I am not happy about the hype about poverty alieviation scheme which is akin to a gtratutious dole not withstanding that it is supposed to help people in rural areas for some part of the year. They will accostom to it so much nothing worthwhile happens in the long run and development projects deteriorate very prematurely. It kills initiative. Instead there should be moe encouragement for self-help programmes in which the people ahve astaake