Campaigning for Macro-Policy Change: Jubilee 2000

By Ann Pettifor

In 1996 – the year in which the Jubilee 2000 campaign began – Third World debt was not only crippling the development of poorer countries, it was shifting that development into reverse. The people of Africa owed more in international debt than their annual income. The debts were the result of irresponsible lending, corrupt regimes kept in place by Cold War politics, rises in the price of oil and a global economic and trading system that favours powerful countries. Though they had little say in the decision to take out the debts and saw little benefit from them, it was the poor who were paying the price. The cost of servicing the debt led to cuts in health and education. Western development aid was flowing back to the West in debt repayments. And the remedies being imposed by the IMF and World Bank seemed to making things worse rather than better – at least of the poor.