flybyguy
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Removal Of African Debt... Bad Idea...Period

Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:44 am

Just looking through the cnn.com website yesterday and happened to spot an article about a meeting with Bono (of SA)">U2 fame), Tony Blair, President Thabo Mbeki of SA, President Olusegun Obesanjo of Nigeria, Bill Clinton, and Bill Gates in Davos, Switzerland. This meeting concerned among other things removal of debt from struggling African nations.

However, I feel that this is not a bright idea because it sends the wrong message to potential investors. This could curb any future private sector investments and knock these countries back to the stone-age (if they aren't there already). Where they will grow more dependent on foreign aid and much, much less on self sufficiency. I feel that African nations need to get their act together because the rest of the world is tired of throwing money at them for most of it to end up in Swiss accounts and feeding genocidal rebel soldiers.

Why is it so hard for African nations to meet the standards of the rest of the world? India and South-East Asia are starting to see remarkable improvements, Latin America has seen unprecedented political stability in the past decade and presently shows great economic promise, but Africa is still the same old story, flies, pestilence and disease that just never seems to end.

South Africa, Egypt, Morocco and possibly Kenya seem to be the only viable nations on the continent. South Africa showing what African nations could aspire to be (minus the crime and AIDs epidemics).

I'd like to hear your opinions.
"Are you a pretender... or a thoroughbred?!" - Professor Matt Miller
 
MaverickM11
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Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2000 1:59 pm

RE: Removal Of African Debt... Bad Idea...Period

Sat Jan 29, 2005 1:29 am

I'm divided on the issue. I think it's a bad idea to simply forgive the debt, but it could be used as a "carrot" to become more fiscally responsible. I think the closest thing you can get to a panacea in Africa is free trade. If the first world eliminates its obscene trade protections for agriculture, textiles, etc., that will help Africa far more than debt relief. If trade protections are elminated (African countries need to eliminate them as well to get anywhere) that will help them along financially, and if they are fiscally responsible, maybe some of the debt can be removed.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
Alessandro
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RE: Removal Of African Debt... Bad Idea...Period

Sat Jan 29, 2005 1:53 am

Read the book "tropical gangsters" by Robert Klitgaard, it´s about the 1980ies,
but a lot have sure not changed...
From New Yorqatar to Califarbia...
 
Alitalia777
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RE: Removal Of African Debt... Bad Idea...Period

Sat Jan 29, 2005 1:56 am

I noticed a similar article in the Boston Globe this morning on my way to class. I had the same reaction as you, FlybyGuy. I can see this money finding its way into the hands and bank accounts of corrupt rulers. Other countries throughout the world have been able to make improvements while still remaining mostly self-sufficient. Why not Africa?

Alitalia777
 
oly720man
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RE: Removal Of African Debt... Bad Idea...Period

Sat Jan 29, 2005 1:59 am

Yes, fair trade and investments that don't end up in a swiss bank are the answers.

I don't know how many countries are in such a bad way simply because the money never actually reached the country and just made the leaders richer. Maybe some more morality in the banking world, or just some morality.
wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
 
MaverickM11
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RE: Removal Of African Debt... Bad Idea...Period

Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:05 am

"Maybe some more morality in the banking world, or just some morality. "

Why is the banking world at fault? They're happy to take your money whether you're Mobutu Sese Seko or John Smith. It's the leadership that is the problem and not accountable, not the tools they use to maintain their money.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
Biggles20
Posts: 193
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RE: Removal Of African Debt... Bad Idea...Period

Sat Jan 29, 2005 4:27 am

Greetings All,

There are so many problems when it comes to talking about the poorer Afircan Nations. I'm not an expert in this area, so if my criticisms are way out, feel free to correct me:

-I think that most of these poorer nations simply have too many people living on land that cant support them. The introduction of GM crops, irrigation, Aid, etc will only get people so far, but take a look at the land in the first place. Many Aficans sunsist in Sub-saharan lands that simply cannot support large numbers. I realise this is simplifying things, but look at a country like America. You cant begin to compare the abundance of Natural resources, depositis and fertile lands they have (not to mention ideal whether for crop growth and the like) with many Countries around the world, let alone African nations. other countries struggle because of extreme climatic problems - Bangladesh being a prime example with a massive rainfall p.a.
-These nations have suffered internal strife, war and corruption for quite some time now. In their world where survival of the fittest reigns, especially under the strain of civil war, famine, etc, its not surpirsing the top ruling elite are vicious and corrupt. At least thats what I think - believe me, I've thought long and hard as to why these rulers don't give a shit about their fellow countrymen who are dying all around them while they live in comparative wealth. This is just a quick thought anyway.

-The list continues to include various countries, including Britain (don'tI know it) "colonising" these various countries and uprooting tribes, drawing up new borders across tribal boundaries that have stood for centuries, and so on.

A friend of mine (studying politics) also recently said to me Aid wasnt the problem - that he believed free trade was more of a solution to help the farmers at the lowest levels.

Then theres AIDS, assorted famines, any other tribal conflicts or domestic disturbances I forgot to mention, AND unfair trading via the West

In response to you question though - I personally think a lot of people need to die before an improvement can be seen, fairer trading regulations need to be enforced and as far as im concerned - aid should be continued, as if even some gets to Africans in need then thats a bonus. You cant really blame the avg african for hating us in the west - would you be just a tad envious??

Biggles
 
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aerorobnz
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RE: Removal Of African Debt... Bad Idea...Period

Sat Jan 29, 2005 6:07 am

They should put a cap on the loans. The banks know that if they keep piling up the debt they will have to pay interest for centuries. What a cash cow for them.
They should set a maximum lending limit so that they can't get any further into debt. The other option could be to make their loans interest free. Many countries are just able to pay off interest rather than making inroads on the actual loan. I don't deny the corruption is a factor but they learn corruption from the western world anyway. When they became free countries they emerged in very corrupt times, so they learnt the business practices that were the norm at the time. A lot of big companies have cleaned up their act since, but most have just found more advanced ways of doing it and the leaders of these countries haven't.
Flown to 120 Airports in 44 Countries on 73 Operators. Visited 55 Countries and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
 
BN747
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Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2002 5:48 am

RE: Removal Of African Debt... Bad Idea...Period

Sat Jan 29, 2005 8:09 am

I feel that African nations need to get their act together because the rest of the world is tired of throwing money at them for most of it to end up in Swiss accounts and feeding genocidal rebel soldiers.

Oddly, Europeans didn't get tired of raping and pillaging the continent of it's nature resources...

Why is it so hard for African nations to meet the standards of the rest of the world? India and South-East Asia are starting to see remarkable improvements, Latin America has seen unprecedented political stability in the past decade and presently shows great economic promise, but Africa is still the same old story, flies, pestilence and disease that just never seems to end.

It sounds like you just discovered Africa or something... if you so curious, you need to so some homework and see how Africa got where it is.. instead of asking people. America being where it is today.. didn't JUST HAPPEN! No more than 'it just happened to Africa'. Their history is the same as Asia or South America.. check it out and find out for yourself if matters to you at all...

As for forgiving the loans, I'd have to side with Bono or hear the opinions of someone who's spent as much time there as he has who offers up a different opinion... but an answer such subject from an american college kid who's never been there (or anywhere else and void of historical perspective) just won't wash with me.

BN747
"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson

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