Skip to comments.African countries should refuse to pay debts - UN adviser
Posted on 07/06/2004 8:06:27 AM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
A top economic adviser to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan told African countries yesterday to refuse to pay their huge debts if rich countries did not cancel them.
American economist Jeffrey Sachs made the comment to a conference on hunger on the eve of a summit of the heads of state of the African Union, which estimates sub-Saharan Africa has foreign debts of $US201 billion ($283 billion).
"The time has come to end this charade. The debts are unaffordable," said Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and special adviser to Annan on global anti-poverty targets. "If they won't cancel the debts I would suggest obstruction. You do it yourselves."
The 53-member African Union, which is to discuss taking a more prominent role in conflict resolution on the continent, announced yesterday that it would send a 300-strong armed protection force as soon as possible into Sudan's Darfur province.
Sam Ibok, director of the Union's Peace and Security Division, said the troops' role would be to protect refugees in Sudan and in neighbouring Chad, where many have fled from a campaign of terror by Arab militiamen - a situation the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis. The force would also protect military observers currently being sent to Darfur, he said.
Advertisement Advertisement The number is a significant increase from the 150 unarmed African Union monitors who were expected to go to Darfur as part of an April ceasefire agreement in Sudan. A few AU monitors are already there.
Sachs called on the developed world to double aid to Africa to $US120 billion a year and meet commitments they made in 1970 to spend at least 0.7 per cent of their gross domestic product on grants and loans.
The United States and other rich nations spent billions of dollars on arms but only a minute fraction of that on fighting poverty, he said.
In his remarks to the conference, Annan warned that hunger was becoming worse for the most vulnerable segment of Africa's population.
"Africa is the only continent where child malnutrition is getting worse rather than better," he said. "Tragically, the past decade has seen very little progress."
Annan said Africa needs a "green revolution" to meet a 2015 target to end hunger.
Jacques Diouf, director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, said progress in ending hunger was "painfully slow" and predicted it would take more than a century to achieve it in Africa.
Fine. Let's not send 'em another penny. Beget the deadbeats.
Interesting, I have the same feelings about paying UN dues.
Which only points out the brilliance of Alexander Hamilton who had the federal government guarantee repayment at our founding.
How many of these are tinpot bannana republics? How many dictators will just pocket the money now?
What can be done with 300 soldiers?
Now will we finally tell the UN to take a flying leap?!
No, sadly we will probably give even more AIDS money to africa.
Typical liberal mentality.
They think that the only way to restore your credit is to default on loans and deny they ever existed.
The UN wants us to support them and do their work also, while they sit around, draw their paychecks and not do a thing. Socialism at its best.
Sachs called on the developed world to double aid to Africa to $US120 billion a year and meet commitments they made in 1970 to spend at least 0.7 per cent of their gross domestic product on grants and loans."
Suppose one tells their banker they won't be repaying an auto note, but they expect a home loan ASAP? Who'd be the laugh?
This guy poses as a "top economic advisor"? No wonder the UN is so irrelevant....
I'll agree that $283 billion of debt for this part of the world is not repayable. The problem with the whole issue is that no one at the UN takes the issue any further than forgiving debt and asking for more money. They have created tribal welfare states and allowed genocide to continue. For these economies and in local currencies, $283 billion is a LOT of money. Where did it go? If someone would stand up and address the real issue head on I wouldn't have a problem forgiving the debt and helping out. But not until this happens.
Otherwise, why would he suggest a short-sighted policy guaranteed to cut African countries off from foreign investment and keep them mired in poverty?
He demands that we meet and even exceed our commitments when they won't meet theirs? While I feel for "the children", I can't quite seem to see past the Iraqi oil-for-palaces scandal perpetrated by the UN. Bite me once...
Though not as was meant ... the time has come to end this charade known as the UN.
"The United States and other rich nations spent billions of dollars on arms but only a minute fraction of that on fighting poverty..."
Maybe so, maybe so.
But um, the US is free to spend its own $$ on whatever the f--k the US wants, and if we want to put it into weapons R&D and not spread it around Africa too bad.
Maybe Sachs can guess when Africans will take more interest in bettering themselves, instead of waiting for "rich nations" to do it for them?
Here's a question:
If these loans are denominated in US Dollars, and then the loans are defaulted, Does this hurt the Dollar and help the Euro?
Is this an effort of the anti-american UN to hurt the USA by helping the Euro?
Who wants to bet the corruption in these loan programs will dwarf the oil for food program.
It would hurt us in the UK equally - if not moreso than the US. Many of our finanical instutions have massive exposure to the developing world and would rightly expect the government to make up the difference of any debt the government 'forgave'.
That said - I am half expecting Britain to do something like this unilateraly regardless of everyone else as our chancellor is big on this issue.
"Who wants to bet the corruption in these loan programs will dwarf the oil for food program."
Which is probably why no one at the administrative level will be asking the right questions. Sounds like they want to continue the gravy train for the corrupt officials.
Because, dating back at least to the so-called ''sovereign loan'' debacle in the 1970s, both traders and economists (in a rare display of agreement, btw) haven't counted these ''loans'' AS loans, but have essentially expensed them from the get-go. Therefore, exactly the same effect of these ''loans'' as would be if the same dollars had been spent buying a few B-2s.
As to your bet: no bet. The sum total of these faux-loans over 40+ years utterly dwarfs the amount involved in the oil-for-food scam.
Sachs is the same Harvard-miseducated cretin whose policies and ''advice'' led directly to Russia's loan default and currency devaluation (it's impolite to call this fiasco a bankruptcy) in 1998.
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