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Forum for the Future of Aid

Southern Voices for Change in the International Aid System Project

The Forum on the Future of Aid is an online community dedicated to research and opinions about how the international aid system currently works and where it should go next

organised by ODI

Do HIPC debt Initiatives really achieve the debt sustainability objective? Uganda’s experience

Source: Economic Policy Research Centre

The paper begins by examining why debt is a problem, and presents several reasons against over borrowing. Next, the paper investigates the status of Uganda’s external stock of debt including the current stock and disaggregation of debt by creditor category. The different strategies undertaken by the country to reduce its burden of debt servicing are addressed. These strategies include negotiations with the Paris Club, a debt buy-back plan and restructuring of unsecured commercial debt, debt conversion, multilateral debt fund and HIPC Debt relief initiatives. Finally, the paper analyses the sustainability of Uganda’s debt. The paper concludes that debt relief itself doesn’t necessarily bring about long-term debt sustainability. Sound policy and institutional frameworks, adequate debt management capacity and a diversified export base are also required.

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Assessing Debt Management Capacity: the HIPC CBP Methodology

Source: HIPC CBP

This publication reviews has three aims. First, it briefly reviews the literature on the nature of capacity building programmes and how capacity building is defined and measured. Second, it describes the HIPC CBP methodology and how it is applied in practice. Finally the publication illustrates how the outcomes of this methodology are used to identify priority actions for HIPCs to improve their own capacity, to ensure the HIPC CBP is responsive to HIPC governments’ changing capacity needs over time, and to assess the progress of the HIPC CBP.

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‘From Debt Cancellation to Trade Justice’.

Source: Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection

The representative of the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) and the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) together with civic organisations that launched the Jubilee Debt cancellation campaign in Zambia eight years ago gathered to reflect on the achievements, challenges as well as the current imperatives of the Jubilee campaign. Essentially they argue that debt relieve will only produce lasting impacts on poverty reduction if it is tied to the reform of the domestic regional and international trade arenas. Trade justice demands that trade rules put people and the environment first and profits second

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Skeletons in the Cupboard: Illegitimate Debt Claims of the G7

Source: Eurodad

A study by international anti-debt campaigners argues that some debts owed by developing countries should not be paid at all. The report says that the Group of Seven (G7) most industrialised nations – Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Britain and the United States – lent money to regimes they knew to be corrupt or repressive in order to buy political allegiance.

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Pambazuka News 197: Special Issue on Debt and Africa

Source; Pambazuka

Debt is one of the central issues facing Africa and its future development. In a year when the future of Africa is being discussed at a number of international meetings and as the Commission for Africa prepares to release its final report on the continent’s development challenges, this special issue of Pambazuka News focuses attention on the issue of debt and the impact it has had on generations of Africans.

Its publication coincides with the publication this week of ‘African Voices on Development and Social Justice: Editorials from Pambazuka News 2004’, published by Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Tanzania. The book is a collection of the 2004 editorials of Pambazuka News. The book’s 46 contributors include such distinguished African intellectuals and activists as Demba Moussa Dembele, Mahmood Mamdani, Adebayo Olukoshi, Kewsi Kwaa Prah, Brian Raftopoulos, Pierre Sané and Ernest Wamba dia Wamba. We will be sending out more information about the book next week

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The Loan Contraction Process in Africa – Making Loans Work for the Poor


AFRODAD commissioned studies in five selected African countries - Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia - to critically analyse the role of internal factors in Africa’s debt crisis. These studies seek to shed light on the link and contribution of debt management mechanisms to the mounting external debt. AFRODAD believes that if appropriate external borrowing strategies and good internal management of external loan resources were put in place, Africa’s external debt would become sustainable.

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The report of the Ecuadorean Special External Debt Audit Commission (CEIDEX)

Source: Choike

The Commision created to investigate the Ecuadorean external indebtedness presented its final report. According to Hugo Arias, member of CEIDEX, "the contribution of the investigation lies in casting light on new evidence, not so much on specific facts but above all on the historic process of indebtedness, understood as the capture of the State and its institutions by domestic and foreign financial groups and by the governments of developed nations, in order to loot its resources and change the legal framework of the State of law so as to reduce it to a minimal State".

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The Doctrine of Illegitimate Debt


Foreign debt is illegitimate if it is against national law; it is unfair, improper or objectionable; or if it infringes upon public policy (Hanlon, 2002). Four categories of illegitimate debt have been identified. These categories are unacceptable loans, unacceptable conditions, inappropriate loans and inappropriate conditions (Hanlon, 2002).

These two studies elaborate on the concept of illegitimate debt and analyse and review information, perceptions and perspectives of the concept of illegitimate debt. They also attempt to identify and quantify the DRC Congo's and Malawi’s illegitimate debt and explain its structure

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Debt and Women

Source: Oxfam

Poor countries around the world are crippled by the ‘debts’ they have to pay to rich countries; the impact on women and girls is particularly brutal. These debts worsen poverty by forcing poor countries to give money to the rich, even though many of the debts are of dubious origin, so-called ‘illegitimate debts’.

The debt crisis has its origin in loans given in the 70s and 80s: many loans were given recklessly to oppressive or corrupt regimes by rich governments in return for support in the Cold War; others arose through unfair loan terms; yet others were given by private companies in return for contracts which were often overpriced and of little value to the borrowers. But the rich world ignores its responsibility for poor countries’ debt crises, either continuing to demand payment or only cancelling debts on their own very restricted terms.

Globally, women and girls are more likely to be poor and disadvantaged. They are routinely excluded from decision-making at all levels, and have almost no independent control over resources: only 1% of the world’s land and property belongs to women. Less likely to be educated than men, many women are totally dependent on their husbands, and live with the daily threat of socially-condoned violence. Despite this systematic discrimination, societies worldwide depend on the skills, work and knowledge of women to weather poverty: finding food to put on the table, caring for the sick, and bringing up the next generation.

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Debt sustainability or defensive deterrence? The rise of new lenders and the response of the old

Author: Francesco Oddone

One year after the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative, and the G8 promise of contributing decisively to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, some impoverished countries face tough decisions. They have new sources of finance to turn to, but the World Bank plans to penalise them if they do so.

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