Debt Relief

Last night’s news that the G8 have agreed to write-off debt from the 18 poorest nations as a good step in the right direction, if the announcement is followed up with action.

I’ve not really had a chance to look into the announcement in detail yet. Still diggin’ – but I’ve found the following articles useful so far:

Most of those links sourced through Google News.

One interesting thing (to me) is that the amount of relief being touted in the Australian press is $55 billion. It seems that everywhere else in the world the amount is reported as $40 billion. The other thing to note is that it’s only debt incurred to the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank – this is not debt to individual G8 countries – I’m not sure what the amount of other debt is.

There’s also a fair amount of talk of transparency from the recipient nations being a requirement to the success of this initiative. This is needed, absolutely. But, as one of the people quoted in the articles above points out, there are many conditions that were attached to the original loans, for economic restructuring, which are still in place even though they are causing serious economic and/or social damage. These, too, need to be addressed. There are also a number of other countries that need 100% debt relief also that are not included in the list (some because of corrupt leadership).

The relief is also conditional to approval at the next G8 summit next month, although it seems highly unlikely that this won’t go through given the enormous amount of press coverage.

Regardles, this is really, really good news!