SIERRA LEONE MISSES OUT ON DEBT RELIEF THIS TIME OUT

 

    Corruption and poor democratic governance the cause ?

Saturday June 11, 2005

War-destroyed and poverty-stricken Sierra Leone and Liberia have not been named among the first 18  nations to be initial beneficiaries of the debt cancellation plan piloted by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and  supported by U.S. President George W. Bush Jr.

This news will come as a big disappointment to millions of citizens of both countries dispersed all over the globe. This is because many of the 18 countries given immediate relief are in a far better economic state than the two countries left out.

But Sierra Leone is among the 20 other countries whom the British Chancellor of the Exchequer( Finance Minister) Gordon Brown was quoted by the BBC  as saying “could be eligible if they meet targets for good governance and tackling corruption “.

The decision was taken today at the Finance Ministers’ meeting of the Eight richest nation of the world ( G8 ) in London and the Heads of State of these countries meet next month to finalize the deal.

The  lucky 18 nations whose debts are to be cancelled are Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger,  Rwanda,  Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. All their debts totally $ 40 Billion , owed to the World Bank and the IMF  and in the case of African countries also to the African Development Bank ( ADB)  will be erased , making the way for their governments to concentrate on socio-economic projects.

The inclusion of a country like Burkina Faso in the list will surely raise eyebrows in Sierra Leone and Liberia where that West African country is known for being among the nations that helped fuel the calamitious rebel wars that destroyed the two Mano River Union states. Their President Blaise Campaore, who  is a supplanter and racketeer and  an accomplice of war crimes indictee Charles Taylor, is  not really any remarkable reformer or democrat than President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah  and is blamed for killing the more  radical and progressive President Thomas Sankara. Also, corruption is rife in countries like Uganda and Zambia.

The difference , though, is that these countries may have been making honest efforts to end corruption, which has been the achilles heel of our President.

 

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