SEVERAL developing countries are failing to meet international
development goals, after rich nations reneged on pledges to deal
with their debts, says a report published this week. Also, the
debts of a number of EC states are increasing poverty at an
The study, Life and Debt: Global studies of debt and
resistance, from the Jubilee Debt Campaign, examined nine
countries: Egypt, El Salvador, Greece, Jamaica, Latvia, Pakistan,
the Philippines, Portugal, and Tunisia.
It found that Jamaica spent 33 per cent of its revenue on
foreign-debt payments. The economy has not grown since 1990, and
the number of women dying in childbirth has almost doubled in the
past 20 years.
The debt crisis in Latvia, caused by the levels of borrowing
taken out by its banks, forced more than 200,000 people to emigrate
- the equivalent of six million people leaving the UK. Extreme
poverty affects 31 per cent of the population.
Greece, which is now four years into a regime of austerity
imposed by the IMF and the EU, spends 29 per cent of its revenue on
foreign-debt repayments. Its economy has shrunk by 25 per cent.
Pakistan is spending 20 per cent of government revenue on debt
payments. It is unlikely to meet many of the Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs) set in 2000, in which rich nations committed
themselves to resolving the debt problems of developing
Tim Jones, a policy officer for the Jubilee Debt Campaign, said:
"People in Jamaica, El Salvador, and Pakistan have suffered for
over 30 years from debt resulting from reckless lending.
IMF-imposed austerity has failed to reduce these debts, whilst the
same imposed policies are now increasing poverty dramatically in
Europe. Such unjust debts should be cancelled, as leaders committed
to do at the millennium."
A report calling for strengthened co-operation between the
world's 49 least developed countries (LDCs) and their development
partners was launched last month at the UN. Among its
recommendations, the report said the international community should
improve the quantity and quality of aid, and pay greater attention
to the implementation of duty and quota-free treatment for LDCs'
At the same UN session, the EU and the UN's Food and Agriculture
Organisation announced £50 million-worth of agricultural projects,
which should affect MDGs on hunger for two million people in
Burkina Faso, Burundi, the Gambia, Haiti, Madagascar, and