October 27, 2004

Media Diary Week 5: Debt Relief in the Past

Writing about web page http://uk.jstor.org/view/0022278x/ap010064/01a00020/0?searchID=8258cb3a.10988328721&frame=noframe&currentResult=0022278x%2bap010064%2b01a00020%2b2%2c1D%2b19790300%2b9989%2b80209699&userID=c0928881@warwick.ac.uk/018258cb3a0050499264&dpi=3&sortOrder=SCORE&config=jstor

This article came from the Journal of Modern African Studies published in 1979. Robert L. Curry Jrs. article, "Africa's External Debt Situation" assesses how most African countries were doing in repaying their foriegn debts and what was being done to help them. Curry concludes that there are some African countries such as Rwanda who were in such a place that debt repayment would be impossible without restructuring their debts while some countries, like Ghana, appear to be in fairly good shape. The approach taken by most of the world in the late '70s was about the same as is being taken today. This being, "We'll get together and chat about those poor blokes down in Africa and say we'll help them out but we're not actually going to do anything about it." However, unlike today the solutions discussed in the '70s largely centered around reorganization of debts as opposed to the present trend of full repayment of debts by rich countries. It should be noted that the reorganization of debts implemented at this time probably played a leading role in the insane increase in debts of African countries leading to the disaster that is the economy of most African countries in present day. Most of the debts at this time were owed to financial institutions, largely American, as well as the IMF and WB of course, who had loaned money for various improvement projects that were not turning quite the profit expected. At this time, full repayment of these debts was not considered. Hopefully, the discourse taking place now will lead to full repayment and break the debt cycle most Third World countries are in, as opposed to making it worse which is what, I would think, the policies of the '70s did.

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