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Africa's Odious Debts: How Foreign Loans and Capital Flight Bled a Continent (African Arguments) Paperback – September 27, 2011
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"Ndikumana and Boyce present a coruscating analysis of the deleterious impact of crushing debt and capital flight on poor African countries that are ironically among the largest recipients of foreign aid. Eminently readable, it is a fascinating study on how absolute power corrupts absolutely beyond the tethers of human conscience." - Dev Kar, Lead Economist, Global Financial Integrity
"This is probably the most important book on Africa in recent years; it is vital reading for everyone with an interest in African affairs. The story of Africa's revolving door of inflowing debts and outflowing capital is one with catastrophic consequences for the ordinary people of Africa. Léonce Ndikumana and James Boyce have put in many years of legwork to explore the dimensions of this scandal, and the data they marshal shows, conclusively, how Africa has become a net creditor to the rest of the world, while remaining shackled to poverty by outstanding odious debts. Much can be done to free African countries from this appalling burden, and the authors are right to identify strengthening transparency, curtailing money laundering, repudiating odious debt and recovering stolen wealth as top priorities. Enraging, enlightening and encouraging in equal measure, this book combines passion and research excellence: a genuine tour de force." - John Christensen, Director, Tax Justice Network
About the Author
Léonce Ndikumana is Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He served as Director of Operational Policies and Director of Research at the African Development Bank, and Chief of Macroeconomic Analysis at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). He has contributed to various areas of research and policy analysis on African countries, including the issues of external debt and capital flight, financial markets and growth, macroeconomic policies for growth and employment, and the economics of conflict and civil wars in Africa. He is a graduate of the University of Burundi and received his doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Top Customer Reviews
It's long been known that African countries have serious debt problems with money borrowed from Western banks. Likewise it's well known that there's a lot of corruption within many African governments. This book makes the connection between those two things. And in doing so, the authors present a significant proposal concerning who is really responsible for those debts. If banks loan money to a country and the leaders of that country immediately steal it (sometimes moving the loot right back to the banks it came from), do the people of the country owe the debt or is it more rightly owed by the leaders who stole it? This book shows that there are strong arguments that it's the leaders who owe the debt, not the countries. Plus the authors contend that the banks should have known (and probably did know) where their loaned money was ending up, which makes them complicit, at least in part, in the scam.
Léonce Ndikumana and James Boyce point to one of the most intractable problems faced by African countries, "odious debt", defined as debts incurred without the consent of the people, used for private benefit rather than public good and issued by creditors who were either aware, or should have been aware, of the lack of consent and benefit of such loans. One could also add (at least I would) that the lenders of such debt, whether transnational organizations like the IMF, international financial institutions like the World Bank or the African Development Bank or the money center banks with headquarters in New York, London or Paris and with world-wide reach were also aware that the chances for actual repayment of interest and principal on many of these loans was negligible.
For example, more than half of the money borrowed by African governments in recent decades departed in the same year, with a significant portion of it winding up in private accounts at the very banks that provided the loans in the first place.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book offers a concise and compelling argument for why and how we should rethink foreign debt. A must read for anyone who is interested in development, international banking,... Read morePublished 24 months ago by JFo