Thursday, February 16, 2006

hardly debt cancellation

Despite all the talk last year about making poverty history and cancelling third world debt, it's instructive to note that the British government will shortly receive its share of a ridiculously uneven debt cancellation deal with Nigeria, one of Africa's poorest nations and a country where one in five children die before their fifth birthday.

"In January 2006, the UK received more than £800 million from Nigeria, with a further £900 million following in March. This is the UK's share of £7.2 billion being demanded by rich countries in exchange for cancelling around £10.5 billion of Nigeria's debt - a crippling demand being made despite Nigeria already having an externally-monitored fund set up to ensure money from debt relief is spent properly."

This sum which the UK will receive - incidentally more than any other country will get - which combined adds up to £1.7bn, is twice the amount of money that the UK gives to Africa per year. The Jubilee Debt Campaign (which put together a petition to cancel third world debt in the year 2000 that 24 million people signed) is asking people to write to Gordon Brown urging him to return this money to the Nigerian government. Details of how to do so are available on their website.

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