Facts behind G8 100% smokescreen
G8 Debt Deal: the Small Print behind the Big Headlines
by Anne Reilly
|Campaigning works - the recent G8 debt deal marks a small breakthrough on debt cancellation. For the first time there is an agreement to write off 100% of debt owed to the IMF and World Bank. Wow! Remember this is what our card campaign to the IMF and World Bank last year was calling for. However, the G8 has not agreed to write off 100% of the debt of all the poorest countries.|
Below we take a detailed look at what the deal actually covers. We also include some reactions from Southern groups.
1. Let’s look at what is on offer
Jubilee Zambia is pleased with the forward thrust on 100% cancellation for poor countries including Zambia‚. However, they go on to state: While it is important for national governments to show greater commitments to good governance, it is equally important to reform global institutions to allow for poor countries‚ participation in decision-making processes.
African Network on Debt and Development is unhappy about how few countries will benefit: "if we say half a loaf is better than nothing then it seems there is some progress. But half-baked solutions have their own limitations.‚(Charles Mutasa, Acting Director of AFRODAD). He also stated the agreement does not address the real global power imbalances. We reiterate our position that the debt crisis needs a lasting solution in which all stakeholders debtors and creditors have a say.
Jubilee South/Americas stressed that debt cancellation must be unconditional and must take into account the illegitimacy of debt claims against Southern countries. They highlight that debt cancellation for Bolivia would have minimal impact in comparison with the ongoing multi-million dollar losses and social-political impact provoked by the policies of water, gas, and other natural resource privatizations that were imposed as pre conditions for debt relief.
Africa Jubilee South co-ordinating committee pointed out that ".. if the [G8] finance ministers' proposals were to be implemented they will give some extra financial breathing space for the affected countries while ensuring their continued adherence to the dictates of the rich industrialized countries and the plunder by their foreign multinational corporations. Jubilee asked whether the ministers should be praised when the debts would have been repudiated a long time ago as illegitimate "if our governments had real political and economic independence".
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