[mgj-discuss] Knight Ridder article
mrickling at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 27 13:39:35 EDT 2002
Where's the part about reparations for slavery on our web site? :)
Copyright 2002 Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
Knight Ridder Washington Bureau
September 27, 2002, Friday
SECTION: WASHINGTON DATELINE
LENGTH: 613 words
HEADLINE: Protesters want IMF, World Bank to forgive loans to poor countries
BYLINE: By Ben Finley
WASHINGTON _ Protesters gathering in Washington this weekend will argue that
International Monetary Fund and World Bank loans to poor countries have
failed to alleviate poverty and should be forgiven completely.
Poor countries have been forced to neglect health care and education because
they must spend large amounts of money to pay off the loans, protest
organizers said. They also said that in many cases undemocratic governments
arranged for the loans and misused the money. The protests will also call
for greater accountability from multinational companies on such problems as
sweatshop labor and environmental devastation.
Police estimated up to 25,000 protesters would gather Friday and Saturday
during the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank. Last year's
meetings and protests were canceled after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
On Friday, the Anti-Capitalist Convergence and other groups planned to try
to block traffic on the Beltway and other main roads and disrupt the city's
Metro subway system.
Mobilization for Global Justice planned to hold a large rally Saturday
outside the World Bank and IMF buildings and prevent officials from
attending annual meetings, said Soren Ambrose, a spokesman for the protest
The two institutions have changed some of their anti-poverty programs in
recent years in response to criticism. Debt relief will be one of the main
topics at the meetings.
"There has been incredible reform here in the last seven years, and we may
not have achieved as much as some people would like, but I can tell you that
this institution is a very different place than it was 10 or 20 years ago,"
World Bank president James Wolfensohn said at a news conference Thursday.
Protests "have really helped put development and poverty issues on the front
page . . . there is a much broader awareness now of issues of development,
issues of inclusion, issues of poverty reduction," said Caroline Anstey, a
World Bank spokeswoman.
The World Bank and IMF have started debt relief programs for 26 countries in
Africa, South America and Eastern Europe.
One program, called the Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries, has
reduced the total debt of 26 countries by two-thirds since 1996. The result
has been a "tremendous increase" in the amount of money those countries have
spent for education and health care, said Horst Kohler, managing director of
Many of the World Bank and IMF's poverty-alleviation strategies have failed,
but other smaller programs have succeeded, said William Easterly, an author
and a former World Bank economist.
"Instead of having a slogan 'Change the fate of nations,' let's have as a
slogan 'Change the fate of a village, one household at a time.' . . . There
are specific types of grants that we can give directly to poor people,
bypassing all these huge international and national bureaucracies," Easterly
said Monday at a conference at the Brookings Institution, a centrist
Jeni Klugman, another World Bank spokeswoman, said even if poor countries
were granted complete debt relief, the world's worst poverty would not end
overnight. Poor countries must also take other steps to manage their
finances better, end corruption and increase trade, she said.
The Mobilization for Global Justice also said debt relief was just a first
step. After "these illegitimate debts" are canceled, rich countries should
also pay reparations for slavery and colonialism, the group said on its Web
(c) 2002, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.
GRAPHICS (from KRT Graphics, 202-383-6064):
20020926 IMF PROTESTS map, 20020926 PROTESTS chrono.
LOAD-DATE: September 27, 2002
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