The North’s New Debt Trap for the South

Developing countries in the stranglehold of debt

Part 3

26 April by Eric Toussaint , Milan Rivié

The coronavirus pandemic and other aspects of the multidimensional crisis of global capitalism are enough to fully justify suspending debt repayment. Indeed priority must be given to protecting people against ecological, economic and public health disasters.

In the context of the current emergency, we have to assess longer trends that make it necessary to implement radical solutions to the issue of DCs’ debt. This is why we develop our analysis of factors that currently increase the unsustainability of the debt repayments claimed from countries in the Global South. We shall consider in turn the downward trend in commodity prices, the reduction of foreign exchange reserves, continued dependence on revenue from commodity export, the DCs’ debt payment calendar, with major repayments due between 2021 and 2025, mainly to private creditors, the drop in migrants’ remittances to their countries of origin, the backflow to the North of stock market investments, the perpetuation of capital flight. [1] Payment rescheduling granted in 2020-2021 because of the pandemic by creditor countries that are members of the Paris Club and of the G20 only accounts for a small portion of repayments owed by developing countries.

 1. The fall in commodity prices

At the beginning of the 1980s, the fall in commodity prices was the second main factor triggering the Third World debt crisis. History repeats itself today for those vulnerable countries that remain dependent on their export revenues. Commodities Commodities The goods exchanged on the commodities market, traditionally raw materials such as metals and fuels, and cereals. are indispensable as the sole means of providing the foreign currency required for external debt payments. Yet since 2014-2015 they have been exported at prices far lower than those previously reached (see Graph 1). The reversal causes serious financial hardship for a number of countries dependent on revenues from oil, agriculture or minerals. This factor has been aggravated by the devaluation Devaluation A lowering of the exchange rate of one currency as regards others. of currencies of countries from the South against the US dollar. Oil exporting countries are particularly badly hit as oil prices have plummeted.

Graph 1: Evolution in commodity prices between November 2010 and November 2020 [2]

We can observe a clear correlation between the evolution of commodity prices and DCs’ external indebtedness. From 1998 to 2003, a period that saw backflow of DCs’ capital towards the countries of the North, commodity prices were relatively low. From 2003-2004 on, those prices began a steep increase culminating in 2008. This phenomenon attracted investors and lenders from the North who were looking for countries offering guarantees Guarantees Acts that provide a creditor with security in complement to the debtor’s commitment. A distinction is made between real guarantees (lien, pledge, mortgage, prior charge) and personal guarantees (surety, aval, letter of intent, independent guarantee). based on their resources in commodities and their export revenues. Thus, starting from 2008, there was a period of inflowing capital from countries of the North towards the DC. The governments and big private companies of the South were incited to take on more debt taking advantage of the super-cycle of commodities. Nevertheless there was a fall in 2009 due to the global crisis triggered by the major financial crisis of 2008 in the United States and Western Europe. Commodity prices rose again in 2010. In 2014 the cycle suddenly collapsed.

At the beginning of the 1980s, the fall in commodity prices was the second main factor triggering the Third World debt crisis. History repeats itself today for those vulnerable countries that remain dependent on their export revenues

From 2015 to 2020 commodity prices fluctuated upwards from year to year without ever recovering the peaks reached during the ’super-cycle’. In the wake of the economic and financial crisis aggravated by the health crisis, prices literally collapsed during the first half of 2020. Despite the rebound in prices in the second half of the year, the trend is clearly negative for a range of commodities between 1 January and 1 December 2020: -8.30% for all commodities (fuels: -31.21%; lead: -7.67%; cotton: -5.17%; cocoa beans: -11.92%; tea: -13.54%; coffee: -3.21%). Gold, a safe-haven asset Asset Something belonging to an individual or a business that has value or the power to earn money (FT). The opposite of assets are liabilities, that is the part of the balance sheet reflecting a company’s resources (the capital contributed by the partners, provisions for contingencies and charges, as well as the outstanding debts). , especially in times of crisis, rose by 21.76%.

  2. The fall in foreign exchange reserves

With less export revenue, reserves fell rapidly (see graph 2) and indebtedness accelerated. 2020 ended on a strong increase of the debt.

Graph 2: DCs’ foreign exchange reserves in months of import [3]

The end of the ‘super cycle’ coincided with a steady drop in DCs’ foreign exchange reserves in months of import. Whereas countries dependent on commodities are advised to hold at least three months of import in foreign exchange reserve, low income countries are now well below this threshold. With the new fall in oil prices in 2020, the drop in export revenues, the higher amounts to be repaid from 2020 onward, a number of countries, particularly oil exporting countries, may not be able to repay their public external debt.

  3. Continued dependence on exporting commodities

If you take the 29 low-income countries , with the exception of North Korea and Haiti, all depend on the evolution of the price of one commodity or another. We could extend the exercise to middle-income countries and find similar results

The price of commodities is of fundamental significance in the present system of indebtedness for DC. Colonialism followed by neo-colonialism, strikingly illustrated by the IFI’s structural adjustment Structural Adjustment Economic policies imposed by the IMF in exchange of new loans or the rescheduling of old loans.

Structural Adjustments policies were enforced in the early 1980 to qualify countries for new loans or for debt rescheduling by the IMF and the World Bank. The requested kind of adjustment aims at ensuring that the country can again service its external debt. Structural adjustment usually combines the following elements : devaluation of the national currency (in order to bring down the prices of exported goods and attract strong currencies), rise in interest rates (in order to attract international capital), reduction of public expenditure (’streamlining’ of public services staff, reduction of budgets devoted to education and the health sector, etc.), massive privatisations, reduction of public subsidies to some companies or products, freezing of salaries (to avoid inflation as a consequence of deflation). These SAPs have not only substantially contributed to higher and higher levels of indebtedness in the affected countries ; they have simultaneously led to higher prices (because of a high VAT rate and of the free market prices) and to a dramatic fall in the income of local populations (as a consequence of rising unemployment and of the dismantling of public services, among other factors).

programmes, have deliberately maintained the majority of DCs in an “extractivist” model: exporting commodities. Inadequately provided with infrastructures of transformation, they are extremely sensitive to volatility of prices. That volatility is sustained by speculation on the major international stock-markets. [4] If you take the 29 low-income countries (see Table 2), with the exception of North Korea and Haiti, all depend on the evolution of the price of one commodity or another. We could extend the exercise to middle-income countries and find similar results. For example in 2017, fossil fuels represented between 50 and 97 % of exports for the Democratic Republic of Congo (50 %), Gabon (70 %) and Angola (97 %); agricultural produce represented 80 % of exports from Grenada; mining products 75 % of exports from Zambia and 92 % from Botswana.

Box: What is an extractivist export-oriented model?

This model consists of a set of policies that aim to extract from the soil and subsoil a maximum of primary goods (such as fossil fuels, minerals or timber) and to produce a maximum of agricultural produce intended for foreign market consumption, in order to export them on the global market. This model has numerous harmful effects: environmental destruction (open-air mines, deforestation, contamination of running water, salinization/ depletion/ poisoning/ erosion of soils, reduction of biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions, etc.); destruction of the natural habitat and way of life of entire populations (first peoples and others); depletion of unsustainable natural resources; dependency on global markets (stock-markets for raw materials and agricultural commodities) where the prices of export products are determined; salaries kept low to remain competitive; dependency on technologies owned by the highly industrialized countries; dependency on inputs (pesticides, herbicides, seeds whether transgenic or not, chemical fertilizers…) produced by major transnational companies (mostly from highly industrialized countries); subjection to international financial and economic conditions.

Source : Éric Toussaint, “Ecuador: From Rafael Correa to Lenin Moreno”,

Table 1: Dependence of low-income countries on commodities (in months of import) [5]

Dependence on export of agricultural productsDependence on export of fuelsDependence on export of minerals, ores and metals
Countries Reserves in
Countries Reserves in
Countries Reserves in
Afghanistan 12.02 Sudan (2017) 0.19 Burkina Faso Nc
Central African
Nc Chad Nc Burundi (2018) 0.88
Ethiopia 1.8 Yemen Nc Eritrea Nc
Gambia (2018) 3.59 Guinea 3.26
Guinea-Bissau Nc Liberia 2.99
Madagascar 4.38 Mali Nc
Malawi 2.82 Mozambique 4.36
Uganda (2018) 4.18 Niger Nc
Syria Nc DRC (2018) 0.41
Rwanda 4.28
Sierra Leone (2018) 3.47
Tajikistan 1.68
Togo Nc

Table 2: Developing countries with foreign exchange reserves under 3 months of import

Low income countriesLower middle income countriesUpper middle income countries
Ethiopia 1.80 Djibouti 1.22 Belize 2.38
Liberia 2.99 Eswatini 2.11 Belarus 1.86
Malawi 2.82 Ghana 2.73 Ecuador 0.77
Tajikistan 1.68 Laos 1.57 Guyana 1.79
Pakistan 2.55 Kazakhstan 1.61
Sao Tome & Principe 2.89 Kosovo 2.52
Sri Lanka 2.95 Maldives 1.96
Zambia 2.08

With the trade war between the United States and China and the general slow-down in growth accentuated by the multidimensional Covid-19 crisis, commodity prices have continued to fall dramatically during the 1st half of 2020. In the second half of 2020 oil prices remained very low while prices of other commodities increased slightly.

  4. DCs’ repayment calendar

The amounts that the DCs must repay are particularly high and the effects of the crisis will increase them even more in the coming years. (Obviously the table below cannot show this.) Governments are increasing public debt to alleviate the drastic situation of the year 2020.

Graph 3: DCs’ repayment of public external debt – 2007-2027 (in $ billion))

Graph 3 shows the amounts paid by the DCs by type of creditor:

A considerable increase of payments can be seen between 2007 and 2020, with an increasing share Share A unit of ownership interest in a corporation or financial asset, representing one part of the total capital stock. Its owner (a shareholder) is entitled to receive an equal distribution of any profits distributed (a dividend) and to attend shareholder meetings. allocated to repaying loans issued in the form of sovereign debt bonds. In 2015, with the fall in commodity prices (which became much worse for oil prices in 2020), the rise in interest rates Interest rates When A lends money to B, B repays the amount lent by A (the capital) as well as a supplementary sum known as interest, so that A has an interest in agreeing to this financial operation. The interest is determined by the interest rate, which may be high or low. To take a very simple example: if A borrows 100 million dollars for 10 years at a fixed interest rate of 5%, the first year he will repay a tenth of the capital initially borrowed (10 million dollars) plus 5% of the capital owed, i.e. 5 million dollars, that is a total of 15 million dollars. In the second year, he will again repay 10% of the capital borrowed, but the 5% now only applies to the remaining 90 million dollars still due, i.e. 4.5 million dollars, or a total of 14.5 million dollars. And so on, until the tenth year when he will repay the last 10 million dollars, plus 5% of that remaining 10 million dollars, i.e. 0.5 million dollars, giving a total of 10.5 million dollars. Over 10 years, the total amount repaid will come to 127.5 million dollars. The repayment of the capital is not usually made in equal instalments. In the initial years, the repayment concerns mainly the interest, and the proportion of capital repaid increases over the years. In this case, if repayments are stopped, the capital still due is higher…

The nominal interest rate is the rate at which the loan is contracted. The real interest rate is the nominal rate reduced by the rate of inflation.
(especially loans in the form of sovereign bonds) and the global slowdown in economic growth, 9 DCs defaulted on their payments. [6]

Slowly but surely the debt trap is closing on a growing number of DCs

As of 2020, note that the data are minimal projections, which are likely to increase. However the amounts are already considerable. You can see how the part owed in the form of sovereign bond Bond A bond is a stake in a debt issued by a company or governmental body. The holder of the bond, the creditor, is entitled to interest and reimbursement of the principal. If the company is listed, the holder can also sell the bond on a stock-exchange. repayments tends to increase. As well as the factors mentioned, the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic will need to be taken into account.

Because of the pandemic, the G20 G20 The Group of Twenty (G20 or G-20) is a group made up of nineteen countries and the European Union whose ministers, central-bank directors and heads of state meet regularly. It was created in 1999 after the series of financial crises in the 1990s. Its aim is to encourage international consultation on the principle of broadening dialogue in keeping with the growing economic importance of a certain number of countries. Its members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, USA, UK and the European Union (represented by the presidents of the Council and of the European Central Bank). countries have granted a moratorium on repayments of the bilateral part for the period from May 2020 to April 2021. This moratorium may be extended to the end of 2021. The operation consists of postponing payments on the bilateral part owed in 2020 (and perhaps 2021) to between 2022 and 2026. So those amounts would be added to the repayments already scheduled for those four years and would make it even harder to find the money. Although 73 countries were selected, [7] only 46 countries have actually participated in this debt service Debt service The sum of the interests and the amortization of the capital borrowed. suspension initiative (DSSI). [8] Why so few? There are two reasons. The first concerns the inadequacy of the measure which simply postpones payment of a mere 1.6 % of the DCs’ external public debt; and the second is that they are blackmailed by the private creditors and the credit rating agencies Rating agency
Rating agencies
Rating agencies, or credit-rating agencies, evaluate creditworthiness. This includes the creditworthiness of corporations, nonprofit organizations and governments, as well as ‘securitized assets’ – which are assets that are bundled together and sold, to investors, as security. Rating agencies assign a letter grade to each bond, which represents an opinion as to the likelihood that the organization will be able to repay both the principal and interest as they become due. Ratings are made on a descending scale: AAA is the highest, then AA, A, BBB, BB, B, etc. A rating of BB or below is considered a ‘junk bond’ because it is likely to default. Many factors go into the assignment of ratings, including the profitability of the organization and its total indebtedness. The three largest credit rating agencies are Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings (FT).

Moody’s :
, the latter indicating that countries applying for a moratorium risk seeing rating agencies downgrading their rating, thus losing their access to the finance markets. [9] In other words, the creditors promise to increase interest Interest An amount paid in remuneration of an investment or received by a lender. Interest is calculated on the amount of the capital invested or borrowed, the duration of the operation and the rate that has been set. rates for those countries, while the rating agencies threaten to limit their possibilities of obtaining finance on the money markets. As a consequence, those countries will find themselves having to repay a greater amount with fewer resources. Returning to Table 1, such economic circumstances look like bringing back negative net transfers for the DCs; in other words, they will find themselves repaying more money than they are getting in the form of new loans.

The debt trap is closing slowly but surely on a growing number of DCs.

 5. Other factors aggravated by Covid-19

Although the Covid-19 crisis cannot be blamed for all the economic difficulties countries are going through, it certainly has played a role in intensifying unprecedented financial speculation by the sheer extent of it, as well as a decrease in production from mid-2019 in economies as big as those of Germany and the United States. [10] Finance vacillated significantly in Wall Street in Autumn 2019 [11] and again in February-March 2020 with the generalization of lockdown followed by massive intervention on the part of the central banks. [12] The crisis which has spread catastrophically since March 2020 will have long-term consequences in terms of job losses, loss of revenue and difficulty in meeting debt payments.

Although the Covid-19 crisis cannot be blamed for all the economic difficulties countries are going through, it certainly has played a role in intensifying unprecedented financial speculation by the sheer extent of it, as well as a decrease in production from mid-2019 in economies as big as those of Germany and the United States

In the (translated) words of Gilbert Achcar, “143 million companies were destroyed in lower middle income countries (- 14 %), 128 million in upper middle income countries (- 11 %), […] And, if lower income countries only lost the equivalent of 19 million jobs (- 9 %) over the same period, this figure is a poor translation of the socio-economic impact of the crisis they experience.” He proceeds, “According to the World Bank World Bank
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

, as a consequence of the pandemic, extreme poverty — defined as surviving on less than 1.90 dollars per day — increased in 2020 for the first time since 1998, just after the 1997 Asian financial crisis.”

In the wake of the crisis, we are seeing repatriation of financial resources from the Periphery to the Centre, which results among other things in the collapse of stock-markets in countries of the South, while those of the North have rallied since mid-March. Thus the stock-exchange Stock-exchange
The market place where securities (stocks, bonds and shares), previously issued on the primary financial market, are bought and sold. The stock-market, thus composed of dealers in second-hand transferable securities, is also known as the secondary market.
of Mexico City fell by 2.5 %, the Santiago stock-exchange in Chile by 7.25 %, Nairobi’s by 5.1 %, Morocco’s by 7 %. (All percentages shown correspond to the period between 1 February 2020 and 1 February 2021.)

Africa and many other developing countries are actually net creditors of the countries of the North

Other elements are instrumental in drying up the financial resources available for the DCs, alongside a rise in expenditure (to deal with the pandemic) and a fall in revenue. With instruments of monetary control conveniently placed where they can “do no harm” by the International Financial Institutions (IFI), and their structural adjustment policies, the DCs are suffering major capital flight. In 2015, the Global Financial Integrity think-tank estimated illicit financial flows leaving the countries of the South at between 438 and 600 billion dollars per annum, i.e. 20 % of the total external public debt of the countries of the South. [14] For Africa alone, UNCTAD UNCTAD
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
This was established in 1964, after pressure from the developing countries, to offset the GATT effects.

estimates that illicit financial flows represent an annual loss of 89 billion dollars, which is the equivalent of Official Development Assistance ODA
Official Development Assistance
Official Development Assistance is the name given to loans granted in financially favourable conditions by the public bodies of the industrialized countries. A loan has only to be agreed at a lower rate of interest than going market rates (a concessionary loan) to be considered as aid, even if it is then repaid to the last cent by the borrowing country. Tied bilateral loans (which oblige the borrowing country to buy products or services from the lending country) and debt cancellation are also counted as part of ODA. Apart from food aid, there are three main ways of using these funds: rural development, infrastructures and non-project aid (financing budget deficits or the balance of payments). The latter increases continually. This aid is made “conditional” upon reduction of the public deficit, privatization, environmental “good behaviour”, care of the very poor, democratization, etc. These conditions are laid down by the main governments of the North, the World Bank and the IMF. The aid goes through three channels: multilateral aid, bilateral aid and the NGOs.
and Direct Foreign Investments combined. [15] The shortfall is so great that Africa and many other developing countries are actually net creditors of the countries of the North, all the more since these estimates are based on minimal projections.

In their quest for safe investments, investors are also likely to shun issues of sovereign bonds by the DCs in most difficulty unless they agree to an increase in interest rates and risk premiums, which will add to the already heavy bill for debt repayment. As for Direct Foreign Investments (DFI), UNCTAD predicts a decline of 40 %. With the closing of borders and airports, several countries have lost a significant amount of revenue related to tourism.

  6. Drop in remittances from migrant families to their countries of origin

Another significant factor is the net drop in remittances from the diaspora, which have always accounted for far more funding than that provided by Official Development Assistance (ODA). [16] (See Graph 4). Now those remittances mostly arrive in hard currency, enabling States to put the dollars or euros or other hard currencies towards repaying their external public debt. The fall in income for households in the South due to the reduction of the amounts they receive from family members working abroad has the effect of reducing their consumption and of automatically diminishing their ability to pay direct or indirect taxes. This will reduce public revenue and weaken their capacity to make debt repayments. It will also force already impoverished families to borrow money to survive.

Graph 4: Remittances from the diaspora and public development aid received by DCs (in $ billion )

The expected drop of 20 % of these remittances will translate into an increase of poverty and ever greater difficulty in repaying external public debt

Graph 4 compares remittances from the diaspora (in blue) to ODA (in orange) received by DCs. Over a period of 18 years, ODA has tripled in absolute value, going from 48.36 billion to 165.59 billion dollars. But in fact that increase is a smokescreen. In relative value, ODA has fallen to 0.3 % of gross national income (GNI) of contributing countries, far short of the objective of 0.7 %. [17] Moreover, one has to question the quality of this “assistance”, for although it is partly donations, most of it consists of loans which may be affected to some extremely dubious uses such as border control, the costs incurred in detaining migrants or debt cancellation. Over the same period, remittances from the diaspora have been multiplied by 6.5, going from 73.95 billion to 485.27 billion dollars. In 2019, a new record was reached with 554 billion dollars remitted. [18] Furthermore, to avoid paying commissions claimed by banks and firms specialized in international money transfers, a significant percentage passes through informal circuits invisible to the statistics of institutions. [19] Remittances from the diaspora represent at least 3 times ODA, probably a lot more. Above all, they are indispensable income for the DCs’ populations, who often lack the means to pay for health and education expenses, and even food. Often sent in hard currencies, (dollar, euro, etc.), for the State they also constitute a significant part of the foreign exchange reserves at its disposal. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, the World Bank expects a drop of 20 % of these remittances in 2020. [20] In other words, this will translate into an increase of poverty and ever greater difficulty in repaying external public debt.

  7. Countries with payment difficulties

Table 2 illustrates the elements analyzed in this chapter. According to the IMF, 20 % of DCs are at present in a state of over-indebtedness. In both cases, Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region. Then come East Asia & the Pacific, followed by Latin America & the Caribbean.

Table 2: List of overindebted or defaulting DCs by region [21]

 8. Debt against people

According to Jubilee Debt Campaign, DCs’ debt servicing amounted to 14.3% of their revenues in 2020, which meant that it had more than doubled compared with 2010. As always this average amount conceals strong disparities and tragic situations such as Gabon’s (59.5 % of public revenues), Ghana’s (50.2 %), Laos’ (31.1 %), Pakistan’s (35 %), Sri Lanka (37.5 %) or Venezuela’s (266.4 %). [22] In other words, “Fifty-two countries dedicate over 15% of their revenues to debt repayment, vs 31 in 2018, 27 in 2017, 22 in 2015.” [23]

 9. Summary

Summary of parts 2and 3

  • A massive increase of DCs’ public debt from 2008 onward, with a huge inflow of private capital;
  • an unprecedented increase of debt in the form of sovereign public securities, most of them maturing from 2020 onward;
  • an incipient backflow of the financial resources sent from the North to the stock-markets of the South;
  • interest rates on public loans made by the South on the rise, which is likely to further compound the worsening indebtedness of DCs;
  • severe degradation of exchange terms due to the brutal and continuous fall of commodity prices accompanied by devaluation of DCs’ currencies as against the US dollar;
  • Covid-19 dominating the news and uncertainty hovering over the DCs’ economies;
  • a reduction in foreign exchange reserves;
  • a fall in migrants’ remittances towards their countries of origin;
  • 10 countries in suspension of payments since 2015 and 21 countries in all. To which must be added 27 countries at high risk of over-indebtedness.

A new debt trap is closing in on countries of the South. It is high time to act.

Translated by Snake Arbusto, Vicki Briault, Mike Krolikowski and Christine Pagnoulle (CADTM)



[1Unless otherwise stated, all data used in the graphs come from the World Bank website.

[2Source: indexmundi, accessed 4 December 2020.

[3According to the latest data available on the World Bank website. No data for 2019 for low-income countries.

[4Gerard Le Puill, « Speculations permanentes sur les matières premières » (Permanent speculation on commodities), (in French only), L’Humanité, 26 June 2019.

[5“State of commodity dependence 2019”, UNCTAD, p.25-30. Nc = not communicated.

[6These are Argentina, RDC, Gambia, Grenada, Mozambique, São Tomé and Principe, South Sudan, Venezuela and Yemen.

[7These are the WB’s IDA countries. See

[8See World Bank, “COVID 19: Debt Service Suspension Initiative” (data updated every week), See also Milan Rivié, “6 months after the official announcements of debt cancellation for the countries of the South: Where do we stand?” 18 September 2020 at

[9See among other references, Camilla Hodgson, “Moody’s clashes with UN over G20 debt-relief efforts,” Financial Times, 21 July 2020; also, in French, Aurélie M’Bida, « Dette africaine : Moody’s face aux foudres de l’ONU et de la Banque mondiale », Jeune Afrique, 22 July 2020 at and Nelly Fualdes, « Dettes africaines : pourquoi les prêteurs privés se rebellent », Jeune Afrique, 18 May 2020, at (all in French).

[10See Éric Toussaint, “The Capitalist Pandemic, Coronavirus and the Economic Crisis,” 19 March 2020.

[11See among other references Éric Toussaint, The Credit Crunch is Back and the Federal Reserve Panics on an Ocean of Debt, 25 September 2019,

[12Éric Toussaint, « Covid-19 : changer radicalement le financement public », (in French only)

[13Gilbert Achcar, Dans le tiers-monde, un « grand confinement » dévastateur, Le Monde Diplomatique, November 2020, à :

[14See Global financial integrity at

[15See UNCTAD’s report on economic development in Africa, 28 September 2020 at

[17See CNCD-11.11.11, 2020 report on Belgian development aid, September 2020, (in French only).

[18World Bank, “World Bank Predicts Sharpest Decline of Remittances in Recent History”, press release on 22 April 2020,

[19See Léonce Ndikumana and James K. Boyce, Africa’s Odious Debts: How Foreign Loans and Capital Flight Bled a Continent, London: Zed Books, 2011.

[20See note 17.

[21“List of LIC DSAs for PRGT-Eligible Countries. As of November 25, 2020”. Accessed 4 December 2020.

[22“Debt data portal,” Jubilee Debt Campaign. Accessed 4 December 2020,

[23Gilbert Achcar, op. cit.

Eric Toussaint

is a historian and political scientist who completed his Ph.D. at the universities of Paris VIII and Liège, is the spokesperson of the CADTM International, and sits on the Scientific Council of ATTAC France.
He is the author of Debt System (Haymarket books, Chicago, 2019), Bankocracy (2015); The Life and Crimes of an Exemplary Man (2014); Glance in the Rear View Mirror. Neoliberal Ideology From its Origins to the Present, Haymarket books, Chicago, 2012 (see here), etc.
See his bibliography:
He co-authored World debt figures 2015 with Pierre Gottiniaux, Daniel Munevar and Antonio Sanabria (2015); and with Damien Millet Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers, Monthly Review Books, New York, 2010. He was the scientific coordinator of the Greek Truth Commission on Public Debt from April 2015 to November 2015.

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Milan Rivié

CADTM Belgium
milan.rivie @
Twitter: @RivieMilan

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