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Illegimate International Debt Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by keesa, United States Oct 29, 2003
HIV/AIDS , Human Rights   Opinions


There are over 14 million orphaned children in Africa, a continent in which orphans would not have existed before the AIDS epidemic wiped out nearly an entire generation of people. According to the Global Exchange this number could escalate to 40 million underage adults by 2010.

This weekend I attended the Global AIDS Conference and learned about the menacing presence this virus has in the world today, and the astonishing ease with which it could be curbed through debt reform.

Reducing the AIDS plague in Africa would only require $7 to $10 billion annually. Instead of paying to fight this epidemic, African nations are forced to pay over $13.5 billion dollars every year in illegitimate debt.

The debts that exist in these nations are not only devastating through the consequent economic restrictions, but the current structure makes the debt impossible to repay, leading to nations further dependant on outside aid, and continued decreases in health care, education, and sustainable production, as required by the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) of the IMF/World Bank.

I saw how this effects people on my trip to Tanzania my junior year. One afternoon we visited Hamidu Musa Sumari, a coffee farmer just outside the city of Arusha. Throughout the day we worked with him in the laborious job of coffee production and talked with Sumari about his job. He told us that he was forced into this business based on the shift of the nation to focus on cash crops, rather that food production, which is a requirement by the SAP. His four daughters are unable to attend school and have no access to health care. Sumari and his family spend the entire day slaving through the process of coffee production only to go home at the end of the night to collapse into sleep, listening to the sounds of their stomachs growling. Sumari and his family receive the equivalent of $0.50 for what we would pay $20.00 at the grocery store.

The debts that have led to these situations are largely unjust and can be easily modified to create a sustainable economy in the nations that service them. Governments often accumulated debts as they were rebuilding after the colonial regime and unfortunately much of the money was used to oppress the peoples of these nations. Examples such as the South African apartheid government, which used its loans to fund years and years of murder, torture, and suppression, abound. Currently the new government of South Africa is expected to fund repayment for the debt funding their oppression. According to the Doctrine of Odious Debt, agreed upon in international law, these sorts of required payments are unjust and illegal.

Another thing that is unacceptable to me is the fact that the debts have been repaid over and over again. According to the Jubilee USA Network, Nigeria originally borrowed $5 billion and has to date paid $16 billion in interest. The nation still has $32 billion to repay.

There is currently a bill, H.R. 1376, in the House of Representatives that would reform debt payments making indebted nations able to once again finance education, health care, and other services for their people. This bill calls for reducing the debt payment annually to 5% of total expenditure, down from the current average of 15%. Successes in these types of programs abound and can be seen in examples such as Uganda, where, after reducing the debt, elementary school enrollments doubled almost immediately. Mozambique is another example where, after reducing debt payments, children were able to once again receive vaccinations preventing widespread epidemics from developing.

The focus of the conference was to demonstrate to us what we can do about this injustice and the Global issue of HIV/AIDS. Therefore I feel that it is important that we write to our congress people urging them to support this action. I think as well that we can support programs in place working on these issues.



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credit repair
Conor K. | Apr 24th, 2009
Due to the continuing financial crisis, debt is also continuously getting larger and larger that affording to pay it will be impossible. If you're trying to repair your credit, it can help to make larger or more payments to reduce principle and interest. Short term credit needs are better served through a cash advance, or cash advance loans on a case by case basis, never on a regular one, as you don't want to get stuck into rollover. However, the detractors of cash advance loans never mention the vicious nature of credit cards that results in an urgent scramble to repair your credit.

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