The G7 has agreed to completely wipe out the debt of 18 of the poorest nations in the world. Ahh, how wonderful it is to see the most powerful nations in the world offer the hand of friendship and hope to those less fortunate countries. How generous and benevolent, right? RIGHT?

Finance ministers from the Group of Seven of the world’s leading industrialized nations — United States, Canada, Japan, Britain, France, Germany and Italy (the G8, minus Russia) — agreed to write off 100 percent of the debt of 18 of the poorest countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. That will amount to debt cancellation of about two billion dollars a year.

Campaigners focusing on debt relief welcomed the move. But the finance ministers’ agreement contains a provision on privatization that has the potential to deliver to them more money than they wrote off.

The ministers reaffirmed in a statement at the end of their two-day meeting Saturday that “in order to make progress on social and economic development, it is essential that developing countries put in place the policies for economic growth.” Among these, they must “boost private sector development, and attract investment,” and ensure “the elimination of impediments to private investment, both domestic and foreign.”

Umhmm… and who, pray tell will minister to these unfortunate nations to guide them on the path to privatization and “investment, both domestic and foreign”?

The World Bank has been made the monitor for these countries’ moves towards “good governance, accountability and transparency.” These declared aims are inevitably open to endless interpretation.

Thank heavens that Paul Wolfowitz and the World Bank will lend a loving, helpfing hand.

While the debt cancellation will no doubt provide immediate relief, there is enough in the stated package to raise some questions what these countries may have to do next.

The finance ministers agreed that they will use grant financing to “ensure that countries do not immediately re-accumulate unsustainable external debts, and are eased into new borrowing.”

On just how they proceed from here, the HIPCs may have no choice but to look to the World Bank and the IMF to show them the way.

 So if I have this right, the G7, with the help of the World Bank and the IMF will help these countries set up economies so private corporations can go in pillage freely. I guess that’s what “free market economy” means. No rules, no fouls. Neocons are trashing the US economy, the Bush family continues to make a killing with war and other profiteering, and Wolfowitz is now in charge at the world bank, and these poeple are going to help poor nations out of the goodness of their hearts?

What hearts?

Privatization Hangs Over Debt Relief via Common Dreams
Crossposted at European Tribune

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