How Many Lives Has Debt Taken Since Your Birthday?

4 Jul 2001
Drop the Debt, the global campaign supported by U2 to cancel the debts of poor countries, has unveiled a controversial advertising campaign ahead of this month's G8 Summit in Genoa.

The image of a healthy western baby trying to breastfeed from an under-nourished African woman is appearing on billboards in the UK and Italy, increasing pressure on President Bush, Prime Minister Blair and other western leaders to do more to cancel the debts of the poorest countries.

You can watch an interactive version of the new advert by clicking here - and finding out how many lives have been taken because of their debt burden since your last birthday.

The advert is designed to renew the pressure on the leaders of the rich G8 nations to instruct the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to write off the debts owed them by the world's poorest nations, predominantly in Africa.

Adrian Lovett, Director of Drop the Debt, said: 'This advertisement may shock people. But what is truly shocking and immoral is the fact that even as African countries struggle to contain the unprecedented AIDS epidemic, they must continue to pay millions of dollars every day to wealthy lenders in the west. We've taken enough from these people - they have nothing left to give.'

African nations currently spend approximately $13.5 billion per year repaying debts, more than double the amount they spend on healthcare, and roughly equal to the amount needed to combat HIV/AIDS each year. Five and a half thousand people die of HIV related diseases in Africa each day, half of them children.

This weekend the finance ministers of the G8 countries meet to finalise plans for the Genoa Summit - by clicking on the link in the interactive advert you can e-mail them and add your voice to the global campaign.


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