Lobbied by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Bush agreed this week to write off $40 billion in debt owed by the regimes of 18 Third World nations. The $40 billion was leant to these regimes by the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The governments let off the hook are: Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Taxpayers in the U.S. and other G-8 member nations will make up the losses. The multinational loan agencies will then be free to loan more money to the defaulting countries. An additional 20 nations are reportedly in line to receive similar relief over the next two years, increasing the bailout to $55 billion. Treasury Secretary John Snow calls it “an achievement of historic proportions.”