The African Debt Crisis – No Relief In Sight

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While some progress has been made in achieving and maintaining debt sustainability in Africa over the past decade, the debt crisis still exists. The debt burdens, which are primarily in the Sub-Saharan African region, are the result of a buildup of foreign debt in the 1970s and 1980s. During those decades, commodity prices were high. Thinking that the prices would remain constant, borrowers exceeded their limits with the assumption that they would have no problem repaying the debts. When commodity prices fell in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Africa, like other countries, was left with massive debt repayments that still exist. The current global economic downturn has the possibility of furthering the debt crisis in Africa by resulting in even lower remittances and exports.

Instead of actively covering why little is being done to free the impoverished citizens from this debt trap, and why the outstanding obligations seem to rise despite some past debt cancellations, the media are more likely to focus on the latest football scores or which footballers have been given special Adidas F50 boots made just for them.

Football is obviously a global game and it’s television rights are extremely big business.  Unfortunately in most countries now the rights are so valuable that they are only available on subscription channels.  There are some exceptions like the Match of the Day Football programmes on the BBC, which are available online.  They are only normally available in the UK but you can access them outside by using a VPN.  It’s important to check which of these still work as the inferior VPN systems were blocked by the BBC as you can read in the report.

Africa’s crippling debt load does little to advance social and economic progress. Instead of spending on things such as education and healthcare, money is diverted to debt repayments. It is estimated that almost $14 billion per year is spent on debt repayment in Africa, while many people in the country are forced to live on less than $2 per day. Despite these staggering figures, the creditors of Africa’s debt obligations continue to insist on repayment. As a result, many people around the world are rallying for the cancellation of Africa’s debt. The majority of Africa’s debts are owed to the World Bank and IMF. As the largest shareholder in the World Bank and IMF, the United States has the power to influence a debt write-off procedure for Africa, but they have yet to use that power.

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