ISSUE: Third World Debt

Breaking the Chains of Debt

The burden of debt repayment thwarts poverty alleviation efforts throughout the developing world. Much of this debt is from loans taken out decades ago by corrupt rulers, often supported by Western nations to further their own interests. In 1999, $128 million per day in debt repayments was transferred from the poorest nations to the richest.

In the past decade, with the help of relief organizations like Jubilee USA and Oxfam, a number of impoverished countries have received partial or full cancellation of their debt to foreign governments and international financial institutions. According a study by the World Bank/IMF, in countries receiving debt relief, poverty reduction initiatives doubled between 1999 and 2004.

 

Browse this page (funded in part by The Isvara Foundation) to learn more about the burdens of excessive and crippling debt on developing nations, and to find out what you can do.

FEATURED VIDEO: Idris Elba joins Oxfam's call to Drop the Haiti Debt

Haiti's recovery risks begin undermined by an outstanding debt burden of nearly $1 billion and by a pre-existing food crisis that has left Haiti dependent on imports for 40% of its food. Click here to learn about actions being taken to cancel Haiti's debt.

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More Information on the World Bank and the IMF:

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Global Issues on Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs)
The structural adjustment policies of the World Bank and the IMF have been blamed for increasing debt and poverty in the developing world. This article explains what they are and how they work.

 

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Bretton Woods Project:
Critical voices on the World Bank/IMF
The Bretton Woods Project works to scrutinise and influence the World Bank and IMF. Browse their site for in-depth analysis, reports, and volunteer opportunities.

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