Should Africa Repay its 'Odious' Debts?

25 Oct 2011

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During the past four decades Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced a financial haemorrhage, much of it as a result of corrupt, kleptocratic dictatorships that funnelled money out of the country to international banks during the Cold War. While many dictators have fallen, the results of their corrupt ways still affect the people of the subcontinent. Is it fair to ask Africans to pay back the loans of corrupt dictators?

Africa’s people are poor because “the subcontinent's external assets are in private and in the hands of a narrow and wealthy stratum of its population, whereas it’s external debts are public and therefore borne by the people as a whole through their governments,” say the authors of a new book, "Africa's Odious Debts: How Foreign Loans and Capital flight Bled a Continent," Prof. Leonce Ndikumana, who teaches economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Prof. James K. Boyce, director of the Programme on Development, Peace Building and Environment at the PERI Institute.

In this interview (part one), Paul Jay of The Real News Network talks to the professors about the root of the debt crisis in Africa.

You can find this page online at http://sacsis.org.za/site/article/448.19.

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