Poverty, Debt Crisis

Women and the debt crisis

Testimony on the impact of debt burden on women
Witness: Specioza N. Kiwanuka (Uganda)
The International Peoples' Tribunal on Debt. February 2, 2002, Porto Alegre, Brazil.

"The early 1980's financial crisis faced by many countries in the South had unpayable debt service as the immediate cause that was precipitated by the tight money policies in the rich countries that drastically hiked international interest rates. The debt debate ignores the fact that debts were contracted as a result of borrowing by undemocratic governments that were not mandated by the people.

People living in poverty did not benefit from many of these loans yet they bear the burden of repayment. In addition, they live with the effects of far-reaching economic policy changes required of countries to qualify for debt restructuring, new loans and foreign investment. Debt analysis demonstrates the question of power balance since it has become an instrument used to regulate economic relations between developed and developing countries. This has directly contributed to a shift and to a more powerful role for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in the South, with adverse implications on the livelihood of the marginalised sections of society, especially the women and children..."

AFRICA: ECA addresses links between poverty and gender

NAIROBI, 12 November 2001 (IRIN) - Most African countries have the political will to tackle gender issues and improve the status of women yet widespread poverty and unequal access to assets remain particular problems to be addressed, according to the Economic Commission for Africa.

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The assets of the 200 richest people in the world are more than the total income of 41% of the world's people. A 1% tax on the wealth of these 200 people could fund primary education for all the world's children who lack access to schooling. Source: United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 1999.
Source: http://www.undp.org/hdro/99.htm sent to WLOE by the Public Education Network pen(at)penpress.org
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