The Question of Debt

  • Guy Arnold


No other problem threatens the South with such continuing and forbidding menace as does that of debt, for nothing else remains so clearly beyond its control. The South can be blamed for its huge debts since in absolute terms it did not have to borrow in the first place, but although that is strictly speaking true such a judgement represents only a part of the story. At the end of the 1970s, before the OPEC-induced oil boom collapsed, western bankers, only too anxious to lend their money to an oil-rich country, were happy to tell Nigeria that it was ‘underborrowed’ while in 1980, following its independence, Zimbabwe found plenty of would-be creditors ready enough to offer aid and credits — at a price. The North, indeed, has been only too anxious to lend to the South in good times and to do so without paying too much attention to orthodox banking criteria when the prospects for a high return looked reasonable. There have been at least as many willing lenders as there have been willing borrowers to create the massive problem which faced both North and South by the beginning of the 1990s.


Debt Crisis Total Debt Debt Relief Debt Burden Debtor Country 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Independent 15 February 1992.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Human Development Report 1992 Oxford University Press, 1992.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Figures for country GNPs, etc. throughout this chapter have been extracted from the World Development Report 1991 of the World Bank, Oxford University Press 1991.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Guy Arnold 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guy Arnold

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