Order the summer edition here

Go Norway!

Norwegian Minister Erik Solheim is leading the fight against illegitimate debt.


[debt slavery] Hooray for the Norwegians. While Africa is decaying and the mantra during last year's G8 meeting – debt, trade and aid – is an ever weaker memory, it is great to see that at least one country raises the list.

I refer to the statements of Erik Solheim, Norway's Minister of Development. At a hearing in the Norwegian parliament, Solheim revealed that he had finally succeeded in getting the World Bank to commit to conduct a study on "illegitimate debt", a study his predecessor, Christian Democrat Hilde Frafjord Johnson, had requested. He also said he would put pressure on the UN to get them to do similar studies.

Illegitimate debt is a difficult concept, so I offer the World Bank and the UN my definition: Illegal loans are those loans that are taken out by undemocratic regimes and where the funds are used across the interests of the population – and where lenders know it.

Why should the Congolese people – one of the poorest in the world – pay for the loans that have accumulated after the former tyrannical dictator Mobutu Seke Seke? Why should the Filipino people pay down what Imelda Marcos borrowed to buy shoes?

Of course, there are complex issues to negotiate about what a country should or should not pay. Erasing Saddam Hussein's debt because it is illegitimate is much easier than, for example, deleting Robert Mugabe's debt. Mugabe had the support of the people in. . .

Dear reader.
To continue reading, create a new free reader account with your email,
or logg inn if you have done it before. (click on forgotten password if you have not received it by email already).
Select if necessary Subscription (69kr)

You may also like