[mgj-announce] MGJ Genl Meeting: Tomorrow, Weds, Sept 11, 7:30
rob at essential.org
Tue Sep 10 13:52:16 EDT 2002
TWO WEEKS (and a few days) TO GO
DON'T MISS THIS WEEK'S MGJ GENERAL MEETING
Wednesday, September 11
St. Stephens Church
16th and Newton
JOIN THE FUN!
Please send agenda items for the next meeting to
Kate and Tom
kate at freedomrising.org
steelgame at yahoo.com
IMF AND WORLD BANK PROVIDE EVER MORE REASONS TO PARTICIPATE IN MGJ ORGANIZING.
Debt relief scheme missing targets, says IMF
By Alan Beattie in Washington
Published: September 5 2002 22:07
A flagship international debt relief scheme for the world's poorest
countries is failing to free many countries from debt as it becomes clear
that its forecasts were too optimistic, the IMF and World Bank have
In a study for the joint ministerial steering committee linking the two
institutions, which meets at the end of this month, fund and bank staff say
that half of the 20 countries going through the process are likely to exceed
their sustainable debt targets. But the bank's governing board, which met
earlier this week, showed no enthusiasm for making the scheme more generous
despite pressure from non-governmental organisations, bank officials said.
The staff study - a copy of which has been seen by the Financial Times -
asserts: "Earlier projections often contained overly optimistic
macroeconomic assumptions, reflecting. . . inadequate analysis of the likely
sources of growth and the expected impact of planned policies."
Falling commodity prices have pushed several of the highly indebted
countries, which are heavily dependent on agricultural exports, off
track in hitting debt-to-export targets.
The report considers various proposals from NGOs and a bill currently in the
US Congress to deepen the relief available, but concludes that they
would be too expensive and an inefficient way of delivering extra money
Jacob Kolster, a senior bank official, said the bank's governing board,
representing its shareholder countries, had met earlier in the week and
backed this conclusion.
"There was no general sentiment in the bank's board to modify the heavily
indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative," he said. The IMF's board meets
on Friday to consider the report.
Some rich nations, including Nordic countries and the UK, have proposed
minor modifications to the scheme which would increase slightly the amount
of debt relief on offer. But bank officials say even these have been opposed
by the US and Japan.
The report also warns that litigation against debt-ridden poor countries
from some governments and commercial creditors is jeopardising their
development. Iraq, for example, is suing Uganda for non-payment of sovereign
debt, while the private military company Executive Outcomes, which was
involved in the civil war in Sierra Leone, is suing the government there for
$30m in unpaid fees.
A spokesman for Executive Outcomes defended the litigation, saying that the
government "owe us the money rightfully".
NGOs reacted with anger to the report, saying it proved the scheme was
insufficiently generous. "The knowledge that life-saving debt cancellation
is being held up while creditors tinker with a failed programme is
enough to bring thousands of people to the streets of Washington," said Mara
Vanderslice, at Jubilee USA Network.
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