Sunday, June 10, 2007

All that glitters is not gold

Semana pasado the G8 summit commenced in Germany. Personally I don't care much for this international body but then again I have much disdain for any international body these days. Not many people know of an initiative implemented by a couple of international bodies;IMF and World Bank. The initiative's goal is to provide debt relief in Heavily In-debt Poor Countries (HIPC) aka reduce poverty to sustainable levels. What exactly is a sustainable level of poverty? A level of poverty that is fine to live with. I am sorry but there is no level of poverty that is fine to live with. The HIPC initiative gives debt relief to countries that meet a certain criteria provided that they implement some social programs that IMF and World Bank think should be priority. In other words a couple big wigs in a developed country sit down and map out what exactly is the problem in the African country they will give debt relief to, then they attach these conditions to the debt relief. Where exactly do they get off telling us they know our problems better than we do? Countries could use the extra money to increase quality of the agricultural products for export thus generating more revenue or how about building factories thereby increase productivity in the country.

Instead most of the programs are geared to be social services to meet the needs of the poor. But what exactly is a school building good for without teachers and books? A new hospital without qualified staff? What good is debt relief if the infrastructure to strengthen the countries' economy is relegated to the back burners? When you walk into a local grocery store and all you see is imported wares and nothing from your country? Africa is like a hamster in a cage, running on a wheel that is ever turning but the scenery never changes. I think its time to step back from the wheel and take a realistic look at our disproportional poverty levels, and come up with an idea that will help Africans and not make them forever beggars of alms from the developed countries. HIPC; a doomed initiative which many say leave African countries more impoverished than before.


Aya said...

What exactly is a sustainable level of poverty? A level of poverty that is fine to live with.

SD, the level of poverty that the IMF or WB speak about is one they and the western world are comfortable with. Not so crushing that Western oil refineries are threatened as they loot Africa blind. And not so devastating that young men and women, in the prime of their lives, risk death and drowning to crowd them in the streets of their modern cities in Europe or America. But just enough that people kill each with their weapons and the civilians line up to beg for food in refugee camps. Just ignorant, hungry and hopeless enough to be oblivious to the plundering of their wealth. Ugh! How I wish I could see the death of these 2 organizations in my lifetime.

SleepDepraved said...

Christ girl, you got some unresoolved anger towards IMF and WB more than I do. Now if we can channel that to activism ;)