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Third-World Debt and Poor

October 08, 1989

In the column "Stop Starving the World's Poor to Pay Debts" (Op-Ed Page, Sept. 25) an international coalition of legislators really spelled out the tragic results of Third-World debt burdens -- the unnecessary deaths of 500,000 children last year.

Ironically, in developing nations the very people loans are supposed to benefit are hit the hardest when these debt-choked countries must tighten their economies to make the interest payments. What are the first things to get cut? Social services like rural health care clinics, immunization programs, schools, and food subsidies. Unemployment rises and, as usual, the poor suffer and children die needlessly from hunger.

That's why it's critical that the World Bank and International Monetary Fund adopt proposals that borrowing nations must direct loans to:

1. Improving child mortality and female literacy.

2. Focusing on programs that directly benefit the poor.

3. Targeting the economic productivity of the poorest 20%.

Also, a country's effort to comply with the three proposals must be a major criterion for further loans and debt reduction.


Huntington Beach

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