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AID Watch says policy should reduce red tape

Debt deal now needs to focus on more countries and removing strings.

AID/WATCH sighed with relief today after the World Bank committed to supporting the international debt deal signed by the G8 in July.

The focus on debt cancellation now urgently needs to include more countries than the few that are so far included. Countries such as Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, who both suffer crippling debt repayments, are not yet included in the debt cancellation scheme.

AID/WATCH is also concerned about the coercive conditions of such ‘debt deals’. These conditions often include the forced opening of markets and the privatizing of public utilities.

It is estimated that the deal will amount to $55 billion USD between the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Many of the debts suffered by poor countries were accrued under despots and have never benefited the majority of people in the countries involved. Despite this, the indebted countries are now forced to pay back these odious debts, which in turn divert funds that could be used for education and health services.

Tim O’Connor from AID/WATCH stated, ‘we all breathed a sigh of relief when the World Bank agreed to support these measures, as recently leaked emails from the Bank suggested they may do otherwise. The real battle is now on to get more countries included in this package, and to ensure that these exploitive conditions, so common to these agreements, are abolished to ensure developing countries can chart their own course to development.’

Recent research from the World Development Movement suggested that 9 out of 10 World Bank agreements included measures to enforce privatization.

Countries included in the deal so far:

Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia.

Countries not included but suffering crippling debt:
Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and at least 57 more developing countries.

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