Activity sheet 3 Reducing Third World debt

1. [Cartoon to show problems caused by a debt burden] what is the message behind the cartoon?

2. If you were in charge of a bank that is weighing up a country's case for debt relief what conditions would you want in place before you granted the debt relief?

3. Consider these points of view, and agree a set of questions you might ask the person expressing them.

Vox pop, BBC documentary "Third world debt is going to be around for a long time as they haven't got the wherewithal to pay it back."

"I'm sorry, they've had the money, they spent it, whether it's corrupt or not, they should pay the bloody thing back." Vox pop, BBC documentary

"Everyone borrows money to improve their lives and debt is as old as money." BBC documentary

"Not all debt is burdensome." BBC documentary

"Essentially, this problem has arisen because countries have been encouraged or allowed to borrow to fund unviable economic programmes, some of them just grotesque, where governments essentially didn't know what they were doing or, if they did, it wasn't beneficial to their population." Martin Wolf, journalist, BBC documentary

"The banks wouldn't do that unless the politicians told them to do so. The politicians wouldn't do that unless the people told them to do so." Bono

"That we should presume to 'forgive' the third world's debts is laughable. Rather the G8 leaders must beg the forgiveness of the third world for the dreadful and deliberate mess they have made of the global economy." George Monbiot, Guardian, 20 July 2000

"We have to ask why progress in resolving the debt problem is still so slow. Why so many hesitations? Why the difficulty in providing the funds needed even for the already agreed initiatives? It is the poor who pay the cost of indecision and delay." Pope John Paul II, 23 September 1999

"If we are successful, it will be a matter not of years or months but weeks before the first country will benefit from debt relief." Gordon Brown, Chairman of IMF Monetary and Financial Committee and Chancellor of the Exchequer, UK, 24 September 1999

"Let us, above all, be clear that, without a convincing programme of debt relief to start the new millennium, our objective of halving world poverty by 2015 will be only a pipe dream." Kofi Annan, UN 21st Century Action Plan.

4. From what you have read about Uganda, explain how easy or hard it is for a country to present a case for debt relief?

5. Discuss what is meant by, "with delays in debt relief, Museveni (President of Uganda) will find it harder to steer the complex path between donors, lenders and the people."