Category: Odious Debts

Ecuador’s Sovereign Default: A Pyrrhic Victory for Odious Debt?

(February 28, 2010) Ecuador’s strategic default on some of its external debt last year has drawn much commentary and generated passionate reactions. Some commentators who advocate creating a mechanism for addressing odious or illegitimate debt encouraged Ecuador to repudiate its obligations and have generally applauded its decision to do so. For those who are sympathetic to efforts to create such a mechanism, however, this enthusiasm may be misplaced.

Ecuador’s Sovereign Default: A Pyrrhic Victory for Odious Debt?

(February 28, 2010) Ecuador’s strategic default on some of its external debt last year has drawn much commentary and generated passionate reactions. Some commentators who advocate creating a mechanism for addressing odious or illegitimate debt encouraged Ecuador to repudiate its obligations and have generally applauded its decision to do so. For those who are sympathetic to efforts to create such a mechanism, however, this enthusiasm may be misplaced.

Chopsticks mercantilism: China’s involvement in Africa

(February 15, 2010) China’s engagement with Africa should be a boon. Its overall trade with Africa rose from $10.6 billion in 2000 to $75.5 billion in 2008, propelling Africa’s growth rate to 5.8% in 2008, its best performance since 1974. China is now Africa’s second-largest trading partner after the United States, importing a third of its crude oil from Africa…But China’s engagement is increasingly being seen as odious, predatory and brutish. The initial enthusiasm that greeted Chinese investments in Africa has now cooled.

Haiti heads for debt crisis as emergency loans pile up earthquake

(January 31, 2010) Anti-poverty campaigners warn emergency funds loaded to Haiti, at the height of crisis, will become a heavy debt burden for the quake devastated country. Already caught in a cycle of repayment for loans racked up by dictators from the western governments that kept the country’s looters in power, Haiti can’t afford its future in the present form of help.

The betrayal of Haiti

(January 22, 2010) Beyond the recent earthquake, there is another crisis at the heart of Haiti. Author Gerald Caplan calls the island state the perfect Carribbean example of a historic collusion between despots and Western donors, overseen by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, to “enrich themselves at the expense of the people.”

To help Haiti, end foreign aid

(January 19, 2010) For Haiti, just about every conceivable aid scheme beyond immediate humanitarian relief will lead to more poverty, more corruption and less institutional capacity, says Bret Stephens, writing in the Wall Street Journal. After the immediate impact of the earthquake has passed, and the immediate relief efforts subside, “the arrival of the soldiers of do-goodness, each with his brilliant plan to save Haitians from themselves” will take root.

What was going on in Haiti prior to the earthquake?

(January 17, 2010) Between 45,000-50,000 may have died in the impoverished country of Haiti according to the American Red Cross as a result of the earthquake that shook Port-Au-Prince and surrounding areas on January 12, 2010. A hospital collapses, the President’s palace is left in ruins, and many homes in shambles. Haitians bloodied from the devistation have walked away with tears in their eyes while others lay on the ground struggling to live or dead. This is what we see on the surface, but what is really going on behind the scenes of this catastrophe? What events were ongoing in Haiti prior to the earthquake?

Kenyan author demands forensic audits of country’s debts, speaks out about country’s odious debts

(January 6, 2010) Kenyan taxpayers should not have to repay the odious debts incurred by post-independence governments that borrowed money in their name but used the funds to terrorize citizens or were involved with corruption-tainted deals such as Anglo Leasing, writes prominent author Okiya Omtatah Okoiti in a recent op-ed. Using limited funds collected through taxation to repay odious debts incurred by the colonial, Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki administrations, he writes, must come to an end.

Cancellation of odious debts an issue in upcoming Philippine presidential race

(January 5, 2010) Research organization Ibon Foundation is urging candidates in the upcoming presidential election to make public their stand on the repeal of automatic debt servicing; cancellation of odious debt; increased allocation and spending for health, education, and housing; and reversing trade liberalization, improving collection efficiency, and addressing bureaucratic corruption and wastage to raise badly needed revenues instead of imposing new taxes such as the tax on text messaging.

A closer look at the odious debts doctrine

(November 11, 2009) The Akiton Finanzplatz Schweiz, an independent network that monitors the Swiss financial system, has today released a book detailing both doctrine of odious debts and ways countries and organizations can challenge illegitimate debts. The book, “How to Challenge Illegitimate Debt. Theory and Legal Case Studies,” will be available November 11 at 1 pm Geneva time for a free download.

How to Challenge Illegitimate Debt: Theory and Legal Case Studies

(November 11, 2009) Despite multilateral initiatives such as the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI), in 2007 the world’s developing countries still spent a combined total of approximately USD 1.5 billion every day on external debt servicing. Amongst their number are the poorest countries in the world; these low income countries spent around USD 34 million every day on external debt servicing.1 In the current global financial crisis, many of the countries which have benefited from debt relief in recent years now face substantial risk of new debt distress.

Needed: Economists, not accountants, to manage the Philippine economy

(October 21, 2009) A recent article in the Filipino broadsheet Business Mirror by Walden Bello – a Member of the House of Representatives – suggests that one way to spur the country’s economy would be to renegotiate some of its debts with creditors. Mr. Bello says the mood for refusing to pay back odious debts or for declaring moratoria on debt repayments has never been higher. Because of this sentiment, the government should look for ways to either suspend debts payments, or seek ways to eliminate this debt, as some of it was taken under suspicious circumstances.