Friday, February 11, 2005

[Africa] G-7 Charged with Betraying Africa

United Nations, Feb 11 -- Stephen Lewis, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan"s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa since 2001, said that continent has been betrayed with ghost overseas assistance and a new regime for international trade.

Stephen Lewis issued harsh critics against the seven most developed countries" failure to cancel Africa's foreign debt" at a recent meeting of Finance Ministers in Gleneagles, Scotland.

"It has been a devastating setback for the continent", said Lewis at the launch of the "Make Poverty History" campaign in Ottawa, Canada.

The poorest countries received between 1970 and 2002 US$ 294 million in loans but had to pay US$ 298 billion in principal and interests and still owe more than US$ 200 billion.

Africa is home to nearly half the two billion world population living in abject poverty, and together with HIV/AIDS stand as the deadliest combination on Earth, stressed the official.

Despite the UN initiative in favor of the poor and highly indebted countries, the G-7 members have reduced bilateral debt in part or in whole, but allowed international financial institution keep the intolerable financial burden on Africa.

The UK and Canada promised to cancel but in practice it is a 10-year moratoria, while the US imposes numerous - and thus far unacceptable - conditions, he added. For instance, they easily cancelled the Iraqi debt but offered a mora for the tsunami victims.

In his view annulling these debts will significantly remedy poverty, help sending children to school or acquire means to battle malaria and AIDS.

Source: Prensa Latina

Category: Africa