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.
Fighting poverty in socialist or autocratic nations without true rule of law? Yeah, right.
And those spreading and receiving AIDS in Africa can't even use drug addiction or homosexual compulsiveness as "excuses." And the epidemic continues its exponential growth due to promiscuity, ignorance, carelessness, primitive hygiene, superstition, rape, and child molestation.
There comes a time when, after it has been clearly shown for centuries that no amount of "assistance" or governance will mitigate a deplorable situation, it is necessary and prudent to just let nature take its course.
And that time is now. The natural precepts of Darwin are inescapable......
It would seem that a couple of millenia would be time enough.....
Maybe he went to the Krugman School of Economics?
Africa is not a single entity, yet that is how the UN tries to treat them. 53 members providing 300 troops? 6 per country? 53 governments/competing interests? What can get them helping each other?
Can someone please inform Mr. Sachs to STFU ?
My tax dollars do not belong to the UN or any of their causes. The wealth of this great country is testimony to our people, not some jeolous robber-baron scenario.
I'm glad we try to help people throughout the world, it too is testimony to our great nation's goodness. We should demand an ROI however, if the funds are not effective in making change they should dry up.
It would seem that many of the issues affecting the success of African nations is not the result of having debts to larger countries. The issue is accountable leadership that desires having the Continent join in the 21st century.
They haven't had a couple of millenia of contact with Greco-Roman Western Civilization and Christianity like the Scots, for example, have. A lot of European ethnic groups didn't join Western civilization until fairly late in the game and some still haven't gotten their act together and still act tribally (e.g., the Balkans). Believing that all of Europe embraced Western Civilization quickly and painlessly is as wrong as believing that all black people are culturally identical in Africa.
People treat Africa has a single entity because Americans believe that all black people are the same. Ignoring the fact that there is quite a bit of ethnic and cultural diversity within the African American community that most white people don't see, Americans seem to forget the problems that existed between European ethnic groups in the United States within the past century, where Northern Europeans fought to keep out Southern and Eastern Europeans because they were backward and the Irish were considered less than desirable (this situation is clumsily portrayed in Gangs of New York). It took white people a long time to get over their inter-ethnic prejudices (and they are still not entirely gone). But so long as you have Irish voting only for Irish candidates that will only help Irish neighborhoods at the expense of others or Serbians voting only for Serb candidates that will only help Serbs at the expense of others or Kikuyu who will only vote for Kikuyu candidates that will only help Kikuyu areas at the expense of others, then democracy isn't going to work very well. People need a national identity before they can have national electiosn. That's one of the biggest dangers in Iraq -- that people will vote tribally.
India's makeover: From aid-taking to aid-giving TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ MONDAY, JUNE 02, 2003 10:47:42 PM ] NEW DELHI: India on Monday opted for an image change-over from being an aid-taker to an aid-giver even as Prime Minister Vajpayee ended his meetings at the G-8 Evian summit as the head of government of one of the select developing countries with big impact on global economy. The finance ministry here announced that India will not accept any tied aid in future. Simultaneously, it discontinued taking aid from all bilateral donors, barring six - Japan, Germany, the US, the UK, the European Commission and Russia. It also declared that all outstanding debt due to all bilateral donors, except just four - Japan, Germany, the US and France - will be paid back ahead of time. Ministry officials said India will soon announce a debt relief package for the least developed countries which are highly indebted. India will write off some of the credit it had extended to these countries in the past. Also, the ministry will come up with a fresh scheme for India extending lines of credit and technical assistance to developing countries in need of such help. India on Monday has one of the largest foreign exchange reserves among all countries in the world at over $ 80 billion. India also has one of the world's fastest growing economies. The country has been reducing its reliance on official development assistance over the years, preferring to attract greater private capital inflows and trade turnover. India's outstanding bilateral debt in respect of 20 countries as on March 31, 2003, stands at Rs 66,316 crore. In respect of repayment of bilateral credit, payment ahead of schedule will be done of all outstanding bilateral debt due to 14 countries: the Netherlands, Russia, Canada, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Kuwait, Spain, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Czech Republic and Slovak. There are no outstanding bilateral debt liabilities to the UK and Norway. The total amount to be paid ahead of schedule is Rs 4,490 crore. "The finance ministry has decided to discontinue receiving aid from certain bilateral partners with smaller assistance packages so that their resources can be transferred to other developing countries in greater need of official development assistance,'' an official release explained. "In India, the aid would be directed towards NGOs working in specified areas and not to the Central or state governments,'' it said. The department of economic affairs in the ministry will hold an annual consultation with these bilateral donors to review the list of institutions and NGOs which the donors propose to assist. Other than this, the donors can work directly with the institutions. Monday's decision is a follow-up to the finance minister's announcement in the budget this year. While phasing out such aid, the existing programmes which are ongoing and approved out of grants by donor countries will, however, continue and reach their completion. From: The Times of India
Also, aren't Indians genetically closer linked to Africans than Europeans?
Yet the elected, who "represent" US, refuse to put Americans and American interests first.
I have no use for government redistribution schemes.
Does Mr. Sachs similarly cancel debts owed to him and his family?
Guess what all those African countries also spent all that money on? Arms. How do people think that those participants in all those inter-tribal and inter-religious conflicts in Africa are able to pay for the weapons used in their wars? They spend almost nothing on food or capital investment and spend most of it on war and socialist programs. South Africa is doing fairly well because they've operated under the rule of law and were actually denied aid because of aparthied. (Anyone noticed that the Brits left their charges generally more well off than those controlled by the Belgians, French and others?)
When the US and other countries gives troubled countries food, medicine, and other necessities, it only allows them to spend more money on weapons and waste it on corrupt activities. We should be teaching them to fish. Giving them just aid is like giving money to a drug addict at this point.
My suggestions were possible retaliations for an African nation refusing to repay its loans. If it does so, its "nationhood" should be forfeit.
As for the rest, peoples in Europe had time to change because migration and pestilence moved slowly and economies were all local - international and even regional trade was relatively limited.
Africa no longer has this sort of time. Mass migration can be accomplished in months; disease spreads even faster. If they don't cope with their problems quickly, and continue to create problems for others, they are not going to get the time to grow out of tribalism.
It's their stinking indigenous governments that have kept them down for so many centuries -- with periodic assists throughout history from racist, exploitive European governments.
I suspect that America would be a better place if we could replace -- with African (legal) immigrants -- our growing population of illegals from our neighboring countries.
National prosperity and level of civility isn't simply a matter of race. It's one of cultural values and personal pride....
Absolutely. It's all about the culture, not the race.
I agree with what you say, it is proved by the facts that an immigrant from Africa succeeds here in America just like Asians often do.
Now if only those African immigrants can inspire their American brothers, things would get better quicker there as well.
I think Mexicans also suffers their leaders.
Which "Indians" are you talking about? I'd have to check my Luigi Luca Cavallibut if you are talking about Asian Indians (in India), it depends on which Indian subgroup you are talking about and I think those in the North are more European while those in the South are more Asian, which you can see by looking at people from India in the different castes and ethnic groups. I'd suggest reading Thomas Sowell's Race and Culture if you want some good illustrations of the role of culture in success or failure.
I'm not suggesting aid is the answer nor am I suggesting that colonialism was all bad. I'm saying that we can't go back and expect colonialism to do magic in every case. With respect to India, bear in mind that it had something of a national civilization before the British got there that created a sense of national identity (which still causes problems because that cultural India was partitioned between India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh). I don't have a magic answer to transform tribalism into nationalism -- none that I'd want to purposefully inflict on a country, anyway. If I did, I'd suggest one.