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Lula Proposes IMF and West Convert Africa’s Debts into Infrastructure Investment

Aug. 30, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Brazil’s President Lula da Silva proposed at the Brazilian-Angolan businessmen’s Economic Forum in Angola on Aug. 25, that the IMF and Western countries—which never made Lehman Brothers pay when it collapsed, but insist Africa must pay when it does not have the money to do so, he noted—“should make a deal and turn this debt on the African continent into money to invest in development, instead of paying for it.”

Lula elaborated this idea in his weekly “Conversations with the President” webcast on Aug. 29. He first pointed out that while the African continent is a continent of great poverty, “the potential for growth on the African continent, whether from an agricultural point of view or from the point of view of investment in industry, is very great. Because there is everything there to do.

“What is the African continent’s problem? It’s that almost every country owes the IMF, almost $800 billion, and the amount of interest they pay prevents them from making any other investments. That’s why I came up with the idea, that the right thing to do would be for the rich countries to ensure that their debts to the IMF be converted into infrastructure projects, so that they can start growing, and at some point be able to pay off the debt. In other words, we need to give them a chance.”

Lula is adamant that the idea that poverty is “normal” has to be dumped. “I can’t accept that it’s normal for a citizen to be born poor and die poor, for their child to be born poor and die poor, for their grandchild to be born poor and die poor.... No, no, it’s not normal.”

So, is it utopian to propose the IMF do this? Lula:

“We need to turn the world around, to have a discussion with the world. Every day I hear people say: ‘There are trillions of dollars flying from one world to another, across the Atlantic.’ Let’s make these millions of dollars contribute somewhere, let’s make them legal and let’s make them generate jobs, generate development.

“Since the last G20 meeting I attended, I’ve said: ‘Let’s take the excess wealth that some countries have and make investments in poorer countries, because these poorer countries will become consumers of the products that richer countries produce.’ It’s so normal, it’s so natural to understand this.... Keeping poverty at its current level is not in the interest of anyone.”

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