Why si Ghana in debt?

Essay by ruthie_rooA-, June 2005

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Debt is one of the largest problems facing poor countries. The poorest countries in the world are in debt to the world's richest countries. The huge debt repayments are making it hard for these countries to develop. Ghana is one of these poor countries.

Ghana is in debt because the British used to be in charge. They came to mine gold but eventually Ghana just turned into a place for slave trade. In 1957 Ghana broke free of the British and became a free country. But because it had no factories, few services and few people with skills it went quickly down hill.

Ghana wanted to develop and it wanted to do it fast. It got money from richer countries, but this was often tied to promises. This was not enough so over the next few years it had to borrow from other governments, the World Bank or International Monetary Fund. It also got so desperate that it borrowed from High Street banks. After borrowing all this money they would have to gradually pay it back with interest, therefore more money is spent paying back money than on the country. In the 1970s the interest rates rose. Every man, woman and child owe £260.

The effects of the debts are huge. The small things to us would make a huge difference to them. Things as small as clean water would save lives but they do not have it and cannot afford to put clean water pumps in. They cannot afford education; only 1/5 of the population can read and write. They cannot afford health care; simple things like diarrhoea could kill them. Children have to work to help keep their families alive. They work for small amounts of food and children as young as 2 years are working breaking...