Socialist Worker

The great debt betrayal

Issue No. 1711

Nineteen thousand children die every day in the Third World because money goes to debt payments, not health and education. The grim toll has reached over 4.5 million this year.

Western leaders, the bankers and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) promised there would be debt relief. They betrayed those words at last month's Okinawa summit, and they have betrayed them again.

The detailed figures for debt relief show some countries paying more, not less. In 1999 Zambia in east Africa paid £91 million in debt interest. After the 'relief plan' Zambia will pay £155 million a year. Three quarters of Zambia's population already live on less than a dollar a day.

Demanding extra debt repayments means more children dead from malnutrition, more women dying in childbirth, more people without medicines. It's time to step up the offensive against the bankers' undeclared war on the poorest. As the Christian Aid poster says, it is time to kill the debt, not the debtor.

Thousands of people will demonstrate outside the IMF and World Bank meeting in Prague on 26 September, and in Britain a demonstration and conference on 24 September is also gathering support.

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Sat 26 Aug 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1711
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