Third World Debt
Environmental & Social Issues

Third World Debt

Many developing countries and billions of people are devastated under the burden of debt and trade policies of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and World Trade Organization (WTO). In 1997, Zambia spent 40% of its total budget to repay foreign debt and only 7% for basic services like vaccines for children. If the debt had been canceled in 1997 for twenty of the poorest countries, the money released to basic health care could have saved the lives of about 21 million children by the year 2000, the equivalent of 19,000 children a day. The failure to cancel debts leaves the poorest countries in the world with nothing to spend on basic needs and much-needed infrastructure, leaving millions in poverty and destitution.


  • The developing world now spends $1.3 on debt repayment for every $1 it receives in grants. Nigeria borrowed around $5 billion and has paid about $16 billion, but still owes $28 billion. That $28 billion came about due to bias in the foreign creditors' interest rates.
  • 7 million children die each year as a result of the debt crisis.
  • In the 52 Jubilee 2000 countries, a total of 1 billion people shoulder a debt burden of £286 billion. It is interesting to note that this is less than the total net worth of the world's 21 richest individuals.
  • In 1999, $128 million was transferred from the poorest countries to the richest for debt repayments - EACH DAY. Of this, $53 million was from East Asia and the Pacific, $38 million from South Asia and $23 million from Africa.
  • Canceling the debts of all 52 Jubilee 2000 countries would only cost one penny a day for each person in the industrialized world for 20 years.


Written by

World Centric


Read time

2 minutes


Published on

May 15, 2020


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