Category: Africa

REVIEW of “Odious debts: the terms of the debate” by Jeff King

(November 2, 2007) This is Jeff King’s second major work on the doctrine of odious debts, the first being the landmark study he produced with Ashfaq Khalfan and Bryan Thomas on behalf of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law at McGill University in 2001 (and finalized in 2003). Like the first, this one is full of important legal history and arguments that odious debt advocates will want to know.

Graft Fights Back

(May 9, 2007) A majority on the World Bank’s board, many of whom are directors from Third World countries opposed to president Paul Wolfowitz’s anti-corruption campaign, understandably want him out. But why is the World Bank Group Staff Association so intent on getting rid of Wolfowitz?

Why Wolfowitz should stay

(May 1, 2007) For the past few weeks, the world has been riveted by the difficulties of Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank, regarding a potential conflict of interest involving the salary of his partner, also a senior official there. With the bank’s board deliberating this week over how to handle the charges, the controversy now needlessly and regrettably threatens Wolfowitz’s presidency, which has been largely defined by his energetic support for a new Africa that is struggling to emerge.

Internal Attack

(April 17, 2007) Since its creation in 1944, the World Bank has become the world’s leading architect of Third World corruption. In the Third World countries themselves, the World Bank has created hundreds of state-owned enterprises and then lavished them with money, requiring their officials to subject themselves neither to public oversight nor the bank’s own scrutiny. Among the Western suppliers to these corrupt state corporations, the bank awarded billions of dollars in contracts, again without public oversight or bank scrutiny, let alone market discipline.

Transparency International should highlight tax havens

(March 22, 2007) The annual global graft ranking by Transparency International has come under fire for not including tax havens in its survey. The Norwegian aid journal, Development Today, reports that the international NGO Tax Justice Network (TJN) has called on Transparency International to rate tax havens as highly, if not higher, than bribery in terms of impact because developing countries lose more in revenue this way than from bribery.

Zambia: Let the looters pay the vultures

(February 28, 2007) A recent British high court ruling that permits a so-called "vulture fund" to pursue an enormous profit on its purchase of Third World debt from Zambia has provoked a backlash from global debt campaigners. However, U.S. law professor Larry Cata Backer argues that, within an odious debts context, the fund ought to be able to seek repayment but not from the people of Zambia.