Iraq's Odious Debts

World Bank eyes Iraq debt deal for others – paper

April 19, 2004

London: The prospect of the world community forgiving most of Iraq’s debt could be used as an opportunity for debt relief for other developing countries the Guardian newspaper on Tuesday quoted the World Bank as saying.

“In the light of the debt relief initiative for Iraq, a lot of countries are saying, ‘We also had debts assumed by people that shouldn’t have assumed them’. They are saying that if debt relief is happening for Iraq it should be happening for us too,” World Bank President James Wolfensohn was quoted as saying.

Wolfensohn, speaking ahead of this week’s spring meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, said it was “inevitable that we have another look at how the whole global community can come together on debt.”

Last month, Wolfensohn said creditors were likely to forgive up to $90 billion of Iraq’s $120 billion debt owed to donor nations.

The World Bank is working to meet United Nations goals to halve by 2015 the proportion of people who earn less than $1 a day and go hungry but Wolfensohn said the Bank was unlikely to meet those targets in Africa.

“If you look at Africa, not only are things not getting better, they are getting worse. It would surprise me if we could reach the goals by 2015.”

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