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Thursday, 19 June 2008

Vultures or victims?

An interesting article on the vulture funds covering the famous 'Zambia - Donegal' episode. Excerpt:

A weary and wary Sheehan maintains that the media and the debt-relief movement have distorted the facts about his dealings with Zambia. “They knew Donegal’s mission was debt conversion,” he wrote in a December email, but “suppressed the information because it made us the perfect example of vultures attacking a really poor country.”

In Lusaka, Zambia’s dilapidated capital, I stop by the office of David Ndopu, who has closely followed the Donegal case. Faced with the aggressive pursuit and seizure of its assets, the Zambian government transferred $15 million—1 percent of its annual budget—to Donegal from a British bank account in October. “It was very painful,” Ndopu says.

But it is hard to see how Zambia’s increased financial burden is going to make things worse for the average Zambian. Musonda Kapena, who runs a humanitarian-aid agency in the countryside north of Lusaka, tells me that so little money is reaching rural Zambia—where most of the population lives—that $15 million more would hardly make a difference. In August 2006, as schools were desperately trying to obtain a few more pieces of chalk for their blackboards, Zambia paid $7 million for its president, Levy Mwanawasa (who is still in power), to lease an Italian-­made twin-turbine AB-139 Agusta helicopter.

For the alternative on the same issue, check out Defending the Vulture Funds.

1 comment:

  1. Felix complains about rural areas but obviously the helicopter is to visit rural areas. He hasn't done the slightest research to compare the price of flying a helicopter up from South Africa and hiring a South African pilot versus this lease.

    Based on no research he attributes the high price to greed and corruption. Based on an equal amount of research I say that he is a racist. He is certainly a sad excuse for a human being.

    I tried to read the whole article but it made me too angry... :/


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