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’
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.