Twenty-seven countries are eligible for debt relief under the HIPC
(highly-indebted poor countries initiative). The 18 that have reached completion
point, and will therefore qualify for immediate debt relief, are shown in bold:
Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo,
Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar,
Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome,
Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia
I've just been listening to the detail of the deal the G8 has made to 'write off third world debt' - in effect a mere drop in the ocean, though I have no doubt Blair will spin it as an amazing triumph that will put him in the history books. He will be, but not for that. But did we really expect anything better from a voluntary arrangement with a country like the US? A country that observes none of its international obligations, moral, legal or financial? And the hypocrites of the EU, knowing the amount of subsidy they vote themselves, for agriculture particularly, could feed the third world by itself.
It's all very well Geldof acclaiming it as 'a great victory'. He's almost as deluded as Blair himself. We have also yet to see what strings are attached, and there will certainly be strings. The small amount of money that has been allocated to debt relief is also being deducted from the total development funds available from the IMF and World Bank. This pl;an falls so far short in so many ways they needn't have bothered. Nice of Sir Bob to pat them on the back though.The BBC has an excellent fact-packed overview of the 'plan' and the response by aid agencies and other NGO's, here.
I also found this story, which illustrates the effects of laissez-faire economics and an entrenched class system better than anything I could say. This so-called plan is unlikely to have any effect on these people at all, in a country where the lack of a social support system and adequate work means that child slavery is necessary to retain a government sinecure:
India's five-year-old policeman
By Alok Prakash Putul
BBC News, Chhattisgarh
Police officer Saurabh - 'hides behind his mother'
At a time when most children prepare to go to school, Saurabh Nagvanshi is off to the office.
Saurabh works at a police station in Raipur, the capital of India's central state of Chhattisgarh. He is five years old. He is part of an Indian system that allows a family member to take the post of a government employee who dies while in service.
There is no age limit and many families have no alternative but to send young children to work to make ends meet. Saurabh has to feed a family of five and so his mother, Ishwari Devi Nagvanshi, holds his hand and takes him the 110km (68 miles) from Bilaspur, where they live, to Raipur. In this surrogate police job, a child must work one day and go to school the next.
At work, the children are asked to do filing and bring tea and water for senior officials. The children are paid 2,500 rupees ($57) a month. At an age when children are learning how to write, Saurabh now knows how to sign his name when he receives his monthly salary. He is quiet. If you try to talk to him he will either run away or hide behind his mother.
Railway Police superintendent in Raipur, Pawan Dev, says the employment of the children in the police must be seen from a social perspective. The money is a great relief to the families, he says. In addition, the workload is light. But Subhash Mishra, a member of the state's Human Rights Commission, says it is wrong to make children work like this. He says, instead, the families should be given an equal amount of money to pay for the child's upbringing and education.