Matters of Scale - A Fate Worse than Debt

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Amount owed by the world's 47 poorest and most indebted nations
$422 billion
Amount of money spent by Western industrialized nations on weapons and soldiers every 12 months
$422 billion
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Amount raised by Live Aid in 1985 to combat famine in Ethiopia
$200 million
Amount all African countries pay back on foreign debts every week
$200 million
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Amount the United Nations estimates is needed annually to curb the African AIDS epidemic through education, prevention, and care
$15.0 billion
Amount African nations pay to service their debts each year (amount paid just in interest)
$13.5 billion
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Annual income per person in Zaire
$110
Amount each resident of Zaire would have to raise to pay off the country's debt to foreign creditors
$236
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Percent of the Zambian budget allocated for foreign debt repayment in 1997
40 percent
Percent of the Zambian budget allocated for basic social services, including vaccinations and education
7 percent
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Percent of debt owed by the world's most heavily indebted nations that the World Bank and International Monetary Fund can afford to cancel without jeopardizing their ability to function, according to the London-based accounting firm Vellacott and Chaney
100 percent
Percent of the debt that they have actually agreed to cancel
33 percent
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Profits made by Exxon in 2000
$16.9 billion
Total debt burden of Benin, Burundi, Chad, Guinea Bissau, Sao Tome, Togo, Rwanda, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Mali, Somalia, and Niger
$16.9 billion
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Sources: David Roodman, Still Waiting for the Jubilee: Pragmatic Solutions to the Third World Debt Crisis, Worldwatch Paper 155 (Washington, DC: Worldwatch Institute, April 2001); Jubilee 2000 United Kingdom website www.jubilee2000uk.org, viewed 17 May 2001; Jubilee U.S.A. Network website www.j2000usa.org/action5.htm; Drop the Debt website www.dropthedebt.org, viewed 22 May 2001; Joseph Kahn, ?quot;U.S. offers Africa billions to fight AIDS,?quot; New York Times, 18 July 2000.