Foreign debt that African countries carry bothers me greatly. In a Time Magazine article on Tony Blair and his life and work after the prime ministry, Bono is quoted as saying that Tony Blair was the first world leader he has met who understood that debt cancelation or debt forgiveness was a matter of justice not charity. It’s a powerful statement. Do you understand that?
Imagine it. You’re in a stereotypical country that has achieved liberation from the controlling colonial powers, but they did not leave or acquiesce under the best circumstances. You are now left with a dictator or some totalitarian regime (in President Johnson-Sirleaf’s speech she said “
Then one day, the civil wars end. And then, maybe later or at the same time, the dictatorships end, and you are finally able to have a democratically elected government. Your country has all these issues or problems and you have to address it. But instead of feeding your poor, providing better health infrastructure and trained personnel and medicines, instead of housing the homeless in your country (not to mention fighting pestilence in your country or creating access to clean water, etc.), you as president must pay interest on outstanding national debts accrued under the reign of a dictator benefi0ting only him and friends and those around him. Is that fair? Forget about fairness because it has a connotation. Is it just? This is normally what happens. You cannot address the needs of your people because you have to pay interest payments, minimum payments or installments on a loan that you can never repay anyway. It’s ridiculous. And there are many examples including