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AfricaFocus Bulletins on Debt, Corruption, & Illicit Financial Flows

Talking Points

  • Inequality and tax evasion eroding the public sector is growing both within and between countries, while the rich on all continents funnel their wealth into secret bank accounts scattered around the world.

  • The trend is worldwide as multinational companies shuttle money and subsidiaries between countries to minimize taxes, and the ultra-rich and organized crime hide their assets in untraceable shell accounts. But the toll in Africa is enormous, estimated at a loss of $50 billion to $80 billion a year in illicit capital flight.

  • The good news that is that governments and multilateral agencies around the world are waking up to this issue, and the pressure for transparency in financial reporting is growing. The same technical mechanisms that have been used to track funds of drug traffickers and terrorist networks can now be used, if there is political will, in tracking the money that is draining public revenues and causing deficits.

Bulletins

November 19, 2014  Africa: Past Time for Bandaids http://www.africafocus.org/docs14/band1411.php
    Although the new BandAid30 single may raise millions, some of which may actually aid in fighting Ebola, it is also prompting an unusually high level of criticism for its patronizing lyrics and paternalistic stance towards Africa. Even more important, the Ebola epidemic is prompting not only traditional charity but also questioning of the fundamental global failure to invest in sustainable support for health at all levels.

September 16, 2014  Africa: Tracing the Oil Money http://www.africafocus.org/docs14/oil1409.php
    From 2011 to 2013, the governments of [ten oil-producing African countries] sold over 2.3 billion barrels of oil. These sales, worth more than $250 billion, equal a staggering 56 percent of their combined government revenues. But, reveals a new report from Swiss and international nongovernmental organizations, there is little transparency about these sales, a quarter of which were made to littleknown Swiss trading companies.

August 11, 2014  Africa: Investment for Whom? http://www.africafocus.org/docs14/iff1408.php
    "While governance remains an issue for many African countries, structural deficiencies in the U.S. financial system are just as responsible for driving the outflow of illicit capital. ... The burden for curtailing these illicit flows must be shared equally by policymakers in the U.S. and in Africa for this partnership to be effective." - Global Financial Integrity

July 31, 2014  Africa/Global: Talking Points on Common Issues http://www.africafocus.org/docs14/tp1407.php
    As African leaders and corporate CEOs gather to meet with President Obama and U.S. government officials, a wide variety of civil society activists will also be meeting in Washington, some in officially recognized side events, others in alternative venues. Many more will be issuing statements and communicating their views, some appropriating the twitter hashtag #AfricaSummit used by U.S. government officials, thus inserting their views as well into that hashtag stream.

June 1, 2014  South Africa: Disappearing Diamond Revenue http://www.africafocus.org/docs14/dia1406.php
    "In 2011, South Africa produced diamonds whose uncut, or rough, value was $1.73 billion, or 12 percent of global production, according to the most recent government data available. Yet from 2010 to 2011, diamond-producing companies paid South Africa's government just $11 million in mining royalties, according to the latest Tax Statistics report, produced by the South African Treasury and the South African Revenue Service." - Khadija Sharife

May 26, 2014  Africa: Fraudulent Trade & Tax Evasion http://www.africafocus.org/docs14/iff1405.php
    "The fraudulent misinvoicing of trade is hampering economic growth and potentially resulting in billions of U.S. dollars in lost tax revenue in Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda, according to a new report by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington DC- based research and advocacy organization. The study -- funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark -- finds that the over- and under-invoicing of trade transactions facilitated at least US$60.8 billion in illicit financial flows into or out of the five African countries between 2002 and 2011."

May 12, 2014  Africa: Report Highlights Resource Plunder http://www.africafocus.org/docs14/app1405.php
    "Take the profit out of plunder: Africa's resources should be sustainably managed for the benefit of Africa's peoples. National and regional action alone will not be enough. The international community must develop multilateral systems that prevent the plunder of Africa's resources [of fisheries and forests]." - Africa Progress Panel, 2014

April 30, 2014  Africa: Taxation Key to Fighting Inequality http://www.africafocus.org/docs14/tax1404.php
    'In many countries, it is the poor who end up paying more tax as a proportion of their income and this is just not right. When the rich are able to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, a government must rely on the rest of its citizens to fill its coffers. While tax dodging goes unchecked, governments are severely hampered from putting in place progressive tax systems - so fairer domestic tax systems depend on global transparency measures' - Alvin Mosioma, Director, Tax Justice Network - Africa

March 25, 2014  Nigeria: Corruption & Its International Partners http://www.africafocus.org/docs14/nig1403.php
    The Nigerian government has pledged to order a forensic audit of alleged missing oil receipts, which Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi reckoned at some $20 billion before his suspension by President Goodluck Jonathan in February. Previous experience with such audits has led Nigerians to be skeptical of the outcome. On a much earlier case, however, this month the U.S. Department of Justice froze some $458 million of assets embezzled by former dictator Sani Abacha and his colleagues during his years in office from 1993-1998.

December 5, 2013  Africa/Global: Pope Francis on Economic Justice http://www.africafocus.org/docs13/pope1312.php
    "As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world's problems or, for that matter, to any problems. Inequality is the root of social ills." - Pope Francis, November 24, 2013

May 31, 2013  Africa/Global: Rich Without Borders http://www.africafocus.org/docs13/tax1305.php
    "For every country losing money illicitly, there is another country absorbing it. These outflows are facilitated by financial opacity in advanced Western economies and offshore tax havens. Implementing transparency measures to curtail tax haven secrecy and anonymous shell companies is crucial to curtailing illicit flows." Raymond Baker, Global Financial Integrity

Apr 11, 2013  Nigeria: #Offshoreleaks http://www.africafocus.org/docs13/tax1304.php
    The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has begun publication of stories from a vast trove of documents revealing transactions in the "offshore world" of tax havens. The data, from an Australian investigation of offshore financial shelters and fraud, held more than 2.5 million records, which are being investigated by dozens of journalists. The total size of the files, measured in gigabytes, is more than 160 times larger than the leak of U.S. State Department documents by Wikileaks in 2010.

Feb 15 2013  Zambia/Global: The Price of Tax Avoidance http://www.africafocus.org/docs13/tax1302.php
    "From 2008 to 2010, an agricultural labourer employed by the company has paid more income tax in absolute terms than the company whose US$200 million revenues have benefitted from her labour. And even when Zambia Sugar has been paying some corporate income tax in Zambia, as in 2011 and 2012, it has still paid 20 times less income tax, relative to its income, than the tax paid by its own agricultural workers." - ActionAid, in new report on tax avoidance by Associated British Foods group in Zambia.

Nov 20, 2012  Africa: Capital Losses, What Can Be Done? http://www.africafocus.org/docs12/cap1211a.php
    "Both rich countries and Africa suffer from a global system of financial secrecy, in which rich individuals and large companies hide income and assets from public scrutiny and from taxation by transferring them across borders. ... despite many differences ...the same structural realities and the same institutions are implicated in the "fiscal crises" of Europe and North America and in the failure of African states to capture and channel sufficient resources to development." - Introduction to special issue of ACAS Bulletin on "Africa's Capital Losses: What Can Be Done?"

Nov 20, 2012  Africa: Debt Audits and Debt Repudiation http://www.africafocus.org/docs12/cap1211b.php
    "Repudiation of odious debt, if properly implemented, is selective rather than indiscriminate. Creditors who lend in good faith for legitimate projects have no reason to fear a fair and transparent process, and no cause to withhold new lending. Indeed by freeing governments from the burden of servicing illegitimate debts and strengthening incentives for responsible lending, the strategy yields a better climate for legitimate borrowers and legitimate creditors alike." - James Boyce and Leonce Ndikumana

Aug 9, 2012  Africa: Global Pirates vs. Tax Justice http://www.africafocus.org/docs12/bank1208.php
    A new report from the Tax Justice Network estimates that the global super-rich have at least $21 trillion in secret tax havens, the equivalent of the United States and Japanese economies combined. While these estimates presumably include funds such as those held by Mitt Romney in "offshore" accounts in the Cayman Islands, they also include as much as $944 billion estimated last year to be derived from capital losses to Africa between 1970 and 2008.

Dec 17, 2011  Africa: Capital Flight Updates http://www.africafocus.org/docs11/iff1112.php
    This week Global Financial Integrity released its latest report on illicit financial flows from developing countries, including data for 2009. The result: despite a drop in 2009 due to the recession, developing countries lost between US$723 billion and US$844 billion per annum on average through illicit flows over the decade ending 2009. In current dollar terms, the flows increased in current dollar terms by 15.19% per annum from US$386 billion at the start of the decade to US$903 billion in 2009.

Dec 17, 2011  Africa: Measuring Capital Flight http://www.africafocus.org/docs11/cap1112.php
    "The magnitude of African capital flight is staggering both in absolute monetary values and relative to GDP. For the thirty-three sub-Saharan African countries for which we have data, we find that more than $700 billion fled the continent between 1970 and 2008. If this capital was invested abroad and earned interest at the going market rates, the accumulated capital loss for these countries over the thirty-nine-year period was $944 billion. By comparison, total GDP for all of sub-Saharan Africa in 2008 stood at $997 billion." - L. Ndikumana and J. Boyce, in their new book "Africa's Odious Debts"

Nov 3, 2011  Somalia: Economies of War http://www.africafocus.org/docs11/som1111.php
    "Al-Shabaab's resilience, despite its lack of popular support and the chronic divisions within its leadership, is principally due to the weakness of the Transitional Federal Government, and the latter's failure to broaden its political appeal or share power with other de facto political and military forces in the country. The endemic corruption of the leadership of the transitional federal institutions ... is the greatest impediment to the emergence of a cohesive transitional authority and effective State institutions." - UN Monitoring Group

Oct 13, 2011  Africa: Migration, Inequalities, & Human Rights http://www.africafocus.org/docs11/migr1110.php
    Issues related to the situation of refugees and other migrants are hotly contested in locations as diverse as Libya, South Africa, Kenya, Western Europe, and the United States. Anti-migrant sentiment is a recurring phenomenon, featuring restrictive legislation, official abuses against immigrants, and in extreme cases, xenophobic violence. Yet these issues are most often considered in isolation, rather than also as among the most telling indicators of fundamental structural inequalities between nations.

Jul 30, 2011  Malawi: Challenging Power & Corruption http://www.africafocus.org/docs11/mal1107.php
    "The protests and riots of July 20 are fundamentally about governance and development, the enduring desire among Malawians for the establishment of a sustainable democratic developmental state. It underscores the fact that economic growth without development is not enough. ... President Mutharika embodies the contradictions of Malawi's political system and the crassness of Malawi's political class." - Paul Tiyambe Zeleza

Jun 30, 2011  USA/Gabon: Blind Eye for Corruption http://www.africafocus.org/docs11/gab1106.php
    The White House was brief in an official statement after the June 9 visit of the President of Gabon. The statement concluded by noting that "President Obama urged President Bongo Ondimba to take bold steps to root out corruption and to reform the judiciary and other key institutions to ensure the protection of human rights, and he welcomed the reforms that Gabon has taken under President Bongo Ondimba to bring more transparency and accountability to government. Both leaders agreed to continue to work together to promote peace and security, as well as advance good governance in Gabon."

May 26, 2011  Africa: Where Does the Money Go? http://www.africafocus.org/docs11/iff1105b.php
    "Current total deposits by non-residents in offshore and secrecy jurisdictions are just under US$10 trillion ... The United States, the United Kingdom, and the Cayman Islands top the list of jurisdictions, with the United States out in front with a total of US $2 trillion. ... such deposits have been growing at a compound rate of 9 percent annually over the last 13 years." - Global Financial Integrity

May 26, 2011  Africa: Cash Drain from Poorest Countries http://www.africafocus.org/docs11/iff1105a.php
    The 48 countries classified by the United Nations as LDCs [Least Developed Countries], 33 of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa, lost a cumulative total of $246 billion in illicit financial flows over the period from 1990 to 2008, according to a new report from Global Financial Integrity prepared for the UNDP. Six of the top ten countries in cumulative outflows were in Africa, including Angola (#2), Lesotho (#3), Chad (#4), Uganda (#7), Ethiopia (#9), and Zambia (#10).

Feb 16, 2011  Egypt: Recovering Stolen Wealth http://www.africafocus.org/docs11/sw1102.php
    As Egypt turns from the gripping drama of the 18 days that brought down the Mubarak regime, there are multiple issues on the agenda. Among them not the least important is recovery of stolen wealth from the assets of former President Hosni Mubarak and his colleagues. That task will not be easy, requiring political will, technical competence, and international cooperation among many countries. But the chances are enhanced by recent international efforts to increase transparency and government capacity to deal with such issues.

Feb 16, 2011  Africa: Stolen Assets Recovery http://www.africafocus.org/docs11/ar1102.php
    The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC ) ... has 71 articles addressing numerous tools to combat corruption ... However, it is the "return of assets" that has been singled out as "a fundamental principle of this Convention". - U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Center

Feb 1, 2011  Equatorial Guinea: Oil but No Rights, 2 http://www.africafocus.org/docs11/eq1102b.php
    "Obiang's eldest son, Teodorin, bought a $35 million property in California in 2006. In 2004, he spent about $8.45 million for mansions and luxury cars in South Africa. His only known income was a $4,000 monthly salary as a government minister. His $43.45 million in spending on his lavish lifestyle from 2004 to 2006 was more than the $43 million the government spent on education in 2005." - Human Rights Watch

Feb 1, 2011  Equatorial Guinea: Oil but No Rights, 1 http://www.africafocus.org/docs11/eq1102a.php
    "For the past three decades, Obiang has proudly presided over one of Africa's most devastating humanitarian and political disasters. With a per capita GDP comparable to Portugal or Korea, Equatorial Guinea's national income is the highest in sub-Saharan Africa - and yet over 60 per cent of the population struggle to live on less than a dollar a day. Since oil was discovered in 1995, President Teodoro Obiang's family and close associates have grown fabulously wealthy, while the majority of the population remain mired in poverty." - Abena Ampofoa Asare

Oct 19, 2010  Nigeria: Enabling Corporate Crime http://www.africafocus.org/docs10/nig1010.php
    A September U.S. Court decision dismissed a case against Shell for human rights abuses in Nigeria, with the sweeping claim that corporations could not be held liable under international law for human rights abuses. And a UN Environmental Programme report on oil in the Niger Delta, due to be completed early next year and funded by Shell Oil, is reported to include, without alternate views, claims from Shell that 90% of oil spills from its facilities are due to sabotage or attempts at theft rather than to negligence.

Apr 12, 2010  Africa: Profiling Cash Drains http://www.africafocus.org/docs10/fin1004.php
    "Estimates [for the period 1970-2008] show that over the 39-year period Africa lost an astonishing US$854 billion in cumulative capital flight--enough to not only wipe out the region's total external debt outstanding of around US$250 billion (at end-December, 2008) but potentially leave US$600 billion for poverty alleviation and economic growth. Instead, cumulative illicit flows from the continent increased from about US$57 billion in the decade of the 1970s to US$437 billion over the nine years 2000-2008." - report by Global Financial Integrity

Feb 8, 2010  USA/Africa: Two to Tango http://www.africafocus.org/docs10/usa1002.php
    Corruption is not a solitary activity, and the networks that promote corruption are rarely confined to one country or one continent. For corruption in Africa, countries outside the continent enter the picture not only when foreign companies pay bribes for access. They are also a preferred location for stolen wealth. A newly released investigative report from a U.S. Senate Subcommittee provides four detailed case studies of funds from Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, and Angola, tracing connections to U.S. banks, lawyers, real-estate agents, financial institutions, and even a university.

Feb 2, 2010  Africa: Haiti's Debt in Context http://www.africafocus.org/docs10/hai1002b.php
    "Haiti was the only country in which the ex-slaves themselves were expected to pay a foreign government [France] for their liberty [in 1804]. By 1900, it was spending 80% of its national budget on repayments. ... In 1947, Haiti finally paid off the original reparations, plus interest. Doing so left it destitute, corrupt, disastrously lacking in investment and politically volatile." - historian Alex von Tunzelmann, in London Sunday Times, May 17, 2009

Apr 2, 2009  Africa: Global Economic Crisis, 3 http://www.africafocus.org/docs09/gec0904c.php
    "The welfare of developed and developing countries is mutually interdependent in an increasingly integrated world economy. ...Without a truly inclusive response, recognizing the importance of all countries in the reform process, global economic stability cannot be restored, and economic growth, as well as poverty reduction worldwide, will be threatened. This inclusive global response will require the participation of the entire international community; it must encompass more than the G-7 or G-8 or G-20, but the representatives of the entire planet, from the G-192." - United Nations Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System

Apr 2, 2009  Africa: Global Economic Crisis, 2 http://www.africafocus.org/docs09/gec0904b.php
    "The Group of 20 (G20) is making a big show of getting together to come to grips with the global economic crisis. But here's the problem with the upcoming summit in London on April 2: It's all show. What the show masks is a very deep worry and fear among the global elite that it really doesn't know the direction in which the world economy is heading and the measures needed to stabilize it." Walden Bello, Foreign Policy in Focus

Apr 2, 2009  Africa: Global Economic Crisis, 1 http://www.africafocus.org/docs09/gec0904a.php
    "There is a need for developing countries to examine the options for national policy on each aspect of the economic crisis and to seek the appropriate policies. However, only some policy measures can be taken at national level, especially if the country is too small to rely on the boosting of domestic-led growth. Regional-level measures are important. And most critical are the reforms, actions and cooperative measures required at the international level." - Martin Khor, South Centre

Jul 1, 2008  Africa: Debt, Unfinished Business http://www.africafocus.org/docs08/debt0807.php
    "In May 1998, 70,000 people from across Britain and the world took part in one of the biggest demonstrations the UK had ever seen: a human chain around the Group of 8 (G8) summit in Birmingham, demanding an end to poor country debt. ... Significant amounts of debt cancellation have been secured for the world's poorest countries, making a real difference to the lives of millions of people in poor countries. .. [But] not all that has been promised has actually been delivered - and further, what was promised was far from enough." - Jubilee Debt Campaign

Feb 22, 2007  Zambia: Stop the Debt Vultures! http://www.africafocus.org/docs07/zam0702.php
    A High Court in Britain has rejected the claims of a U.S.-owned debt-collection firm to $42 million of debt from Zambia, but left open the door for the firm to get as much as $10 million to $20 million for the loan, which it purchased from Romania at a discount for less than $4 million. The firm is one of a number of "vulture funds" that specialize in buying up discounted third-world debt and then trying to collect the full sum.

Feb 9, 2007  Liberia: Debt Cancellation Overdue http://www.africafocus.org/docs07/lib0702.php
    Demonstrators delivered over 10,000 Valentine cards to the U.S. Treasury this week asking the U.S. Treasury Secretary to "have a heart" and cancel Liberia's debt. With the Liberia Partners' Forum in Washington scheduled for next week, even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has stated that the debt is unsustainable. But more than a year after President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf took office, Liberia is still being asked to repay arrears on accumulated debt.

May 30, 2006  Africa: Debt Relief Update http://www.africafocus.org/docs06/debt0605.php
    Debt relief has become a significant vehicle of resource transfer to countries under the World Bank/IMF HIPC program, concludes a new internal World Bank evaluation. But in eight countries completing the program, debt ratios already again exceed the Bank's sustainability level of 150 percent debt-to-exports ratio.

Feb 8, 2006  Africa: Fix Resource Leaks http://www.africafocus.org/docs06/abug0602.php
    "What matters for ensuring that governments have adequate resources to finance development are net flows. This means factoring in not just inflows ... but also what is lost to the rest of the world. Debt servicing is [only] one [such] outflow. ... Indeed, the reality of Africa is that the resources that leak out far exceed those that flow in." - Charles Abugre

Oct 27, 2005  Nigeria: Debt Deal Views http://www.africafocus.org/docs05/nig0510.php
    Nigeria has reached a new agreement on debt with its bilateral creditors, gaining $18 billion in debt cancellation at the price of $12 billion in payments over the next year and a new program of economic monitoring by the International Monetary Fund. Reactions to the deal are mixed.

Sep 22, 2005  Africa: Debt Deal in Question http://www.africafocus.org/docs05/debt0509.php
    "Arbitrary criteria have been used to exclude most countries from debt relief. While it may be politically expedient for powerful countries to pretend that only a small set of countries need debt cancellation, it is time to explode this myth." - Christian Aid

Jun 13, 2005  Africa: Debt Deal Substantive but Modest http://www.africafocus.org/docs05/debt0506.php
    G8 finance ministers have decided to write off 100% of stocks of debt owed to international financial institutions by 18 countries, including 14 in Africa. This decision, still to be ratified by the G8 summit in July and by the annual meetings of the IMF, World Bank, and African Development Bank in the fall, is estimated to cover some $40 billion in debt, with annual savings to the 18 countries coming to about $1.5 billion.

Jun 3, 2005  Africa: Gold Industry Blocking Debt Plan http://www.africafocus.org/docs05/gold0506.php
    "If you could improve the lives of hundreds of millions of the world's most destitute people with a program that might - just might - temporarily reduce the profits of the global gold industry, most people would probably think it is worth doing. Even most members of Congress. That's why it has been so disturbing to see gold producers strong-arm Congress and the White House into blocking just such a desperately needed measure." - The New York Times, June 3, 2005

May 25, 2005  Africa: Kenyan Bishops on Debt Cancellation http://www.africafocus.org/docs05/debt0505.php
    "The efforts at debt cancellation that were made till now could be compared to the scraps that Lazarus hoped he could feed on at the rich man's table: they are illusory promises without real substances. ...Giving to others scraps rather than what they deserve means basically treating them in a sub-human way, not as human beings!" - Catholic Bishops of Kenya, Pastoral Letter, May 17, 2005

Apr 12, 2005  Africa: Unions Call for Debt Cancellation http://www.africafocus.org/docs05/debt0504.php
    "In spite of positive rhetoric ... concrete actions [on new debt relief] have been delayed from meeting to meeting, in part because of disagreements between donor countries on the specific elements of an expanded debt relief initiative." In a new statement released in March, global unions joined other campaigners for debt cancellation in calling on international financial institutions to stop delaying and act for full debt cancellation for developing countries fighting poverty. But the prospects for action at this week's meeting of the World Bank and IMF remain uncertain.

Feb 8, 2005  Africa: Postponing Debt Decisions http://www.africafocus.org/docs05/debt0502.php
    Finance ministers of the G7 group of the world's richest countries, meeting in London from February 4 to 5, stated their willingness to consider "as much as 100 per cent multilateral debt relief" for the poorest countries. They also asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to consider how it might contribute to financing such debt relief. In theory, these could be significant steps forward. In practice, the G7 countries remain deeply divided. They disagree both about the political urgency and about the possible mechanisms for acting to free up more resources to fight global poverty.

Jan 18, 2005  Africa: Multilateral Debt Cancellation http://www.africafocus.org/docs05/dbt0501b.php
    "Given the urgency and need for immediate action, we urge the G8 to begin immediately and in particular for G7 finance ministers to reach agreement on 100 percent multilateral debt relief at their February 4th meeting," African finance ministers said in Cape Town after concluding a meeting with British finance minister Gordon Brown. But despite Brown's high-profile African visit, accompanied by pledges of debt cancellation and increased aid, debt campaigners still have questions about the details of Britain's plan and the will of other rich countries to act.

Jan 18, 2005  Africa: Debt Issue Unresolved http://www.africafocus.org/docs05/dbt0501a.php
    The first test this year for rich countries' willingness to act on world poverty is coming soon, as finance ministers from rich countries meet in London on Feb. 4. A new report from the United Nations has stressed the need for new investments in strategically targeted new investments through doubling aid (see http://unmp.forumone.com). But halting debt payments to international financial institutions could have even quicker effects, through freeing up resources for health, education, and other urgent needs.

Oct 4, 2004  Africa: Debt (Continued) http://www.africafocus.org/docs04/debt0410.php
    Despite an emerging consensus in favor of complete debt cancellation for the poorest heavily indebted countries, the G-7 group of rich countries failed this weekend to reach agreement on how to cancel the debt. Meanwhile a new UN report noted that between 1970 and 2002, African countries received some $540 billion in loans, paid back close to $550 billion in principal and interest, and still held debt of $295 billion at the end of 2002.

Sep 27, 2004  Africa: Reviewing the Bank http://www.africafocus.org/docs04/eir0409.php
    As the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank gather for their annual meetings on October 2 and 3, World Bank reports not yet released are said to indicate a continued failure of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program to provide debt sustainability, even by the Bank's own criteria. The U.S. and British governments are reported to have two competing plans for writing off more of the debt owed by the poorest countries.

Jun 13, 2004  Africa: Debt Update http://www.africafocus.org/docs04/debt0406.php
    Despite pre-summit news reports that rich country leaders gathered for the G8 summit might consider a British proposal for full cancellation of debt for poor countries, the summit only announced a two-year extension of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. The Jubilee2000 USA Network and other groups reportedly flooded the U.S. Treasury Department with phone calls, and some officials were said to be considering the idea. But the White House was not convinced.

Jun 3, 2004  Zambia: Condemned to Debt http://www.africafocus.org/docs04/zam0406.php
    "The evidence suggests that the past twenty years of IMF and World Bank intervention have exacerbated rather than ameliorated Zambia's debt crisis. Ironically, in return for debt relief, Zambia is required to do more of the same. The country has been condemned to debt." - World Development Movement report

Feb 13, 2004  Ethiopia: Debt Relief Backstep http://www.africafocus.org/docs04/eth0402.php
    Ethiopia's debt is becoming more and more unsustainable, even under the narrow criteria used by international agencies to calculate what countries can afford to pay. Changes in interest rates and continued low coffee prices are projected to drive the value of the debt up to 220 percent of Ethiopia's exports, even after promised relief.

Feb 8, 2004  Africa: Who Owes Whom? http://www.africafocus.org/docs04/debt0402.php
    Rich-country finance ministers meeting in Florida this weekend focused on the sinking dollar and rising U.S. debt, cautioning against excessive volatility in currency markets. They also called for more reductions in the debt burdens of Iraq and Afghanistan, and warned debt-strapped Argentina to comply with International Monetary Fund policies. Africa's debt, estimated at more than $300 billion, was not on the agenda.

Nov 25, 2003  Africa: Debt Meeting Consensus http://www.africafocus.org/docs03/debt0311.php
    African experts meeting in Dakar under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) deplored the lack of a consolidated African position in response to global policy proposals that have vast economic implications for Africa. They agreed that current debt relief schemes are inadequate, that increased debt relief is the most effective way to provide rapid additional funding for development, and that additional measures were also essential to advance the globally acknowledged goals of ending proverty.

Nov 4, 2003  Senegal: Debt and Destruction http://www.africafocus.org/docs03/sen0311.php
    As the U.S. Congress approves $87 billion for the U.S. occupation of Iraq, long-standing promises by rich creditors to provide debt "relief" of some $49 billion for 42 countries remain unfulfilled, and largely off the radar screen for policymakers. Yet debt remains a crippling burden not only for the 34 African countries that qualify as Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), but also for major African powers such as Nigeria and South Africa.

Nov 4, 2003  Africa: Debt and Deception http://www.africafocus.org/docs03/hipc0311.php
    As the U.S. Congress approves $87 billion for the U.S. occupation of Iraq, long-standing promises by rich creditors to provide debt "relief" of some $49 billion for 42 countries remain unfulfilled, and largely off the radar screen for policymakers. Yet debt remains a crippling burden not only for the 34 African countries that qualify as Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), but also for major African powers such as Nigeria and South Africa.