Political situation in Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, microcredit, IMF

Success of the 9th CADTM South Asia seminar in Colombo (Sri Lanka)

21 December 2022 by CADTM , Maxime Perriot

The 9th CADTM South Asia Seminar, organised in collaboration with the Law & Society Trust (LST, Sri Lanka) and the Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR, Sri Lanka), a member of La Via Campesina, was held in Colombo on Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3, 2022. It was a real success, responding to the needs of the hour. The exchanges were rich and varied: from the international situation to the current political situation in Sri Lanka, from the damage caused by the IMF and microcredit to the state of external debt in South Asia, many subjects were discussed. The interventions were held in English, Tamil, or Sinhalese, and CADTM delegates came from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Morocco, Belgium, and Spain for the occasion. About 40 people participated in the discussions.

 Friday 2 December: Welcome, international situation, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, foreign debt in South Asia, and climate justice

The seminar began with a tribute to Linus Jayathilaka, a former leader of the United Federation of Labour (UFL, Sri Lanka) and a Sri Lankan trade unionist and activist who died in May 2022. Linus J. has supported the CADTM’s efforts for the cancellation of illegitimate debts from the beginning.

The Colombo Declaration adopted at the end of the seminar : Colombo Declaration

Global Perspectives on Debt: Causes and Consequences (with references to the Sri Lankan default) by Éric Toussaint (CADTM International)

The bulk of Sri Lanka’s debt is odious because the policies pursued by the borrowing governments were inimical to the interests of the people

Éric Toussaint opened the workshop with an overview of the global political and economic situation. He explained that the peak of the crisis had not yet been reached and that the rise in interest rates Interest rates When A lends money to B, B repays the amount lent by A (the capital) as well as a supplementary sum known as interest, so that A has an interest in agreeing to this financial operation. The interest is determined by the interest rate, which may be high or low. To take a very simple example: if A borrows 100 million dollars for 10 years at a fixed interest rate of 5%, the first year he will repay a tenth of the capital initially borrowed (10 million dollars) plus 5% of the capital owed, i.e. 5 million dollars, that is a total of 15 million dollars. In the second year, he will again repay 10% of the capital borrowed, but the 5% now only applies to the remaining 90 million dollars still due, i.e. 4.5 million dollars, or a total of 14.5 million dollars. And so on, until the tenth year when he will repay the last 10 million dollars, plus 5% of that remaining 10 million dollars, i.e. 0.5 million dollars, giving a total of 10.5 million dollars. Over 10 years, the total amount repaid will come to 127.5 million dollars. The repayment of the capital is not usually made in equal instalments. In the initial years, the repayment concerns mainly the interest, and the proportion of capital repaid increases over the years. In this case, if repayments are stopped, the capital still due is higher…

The nominal interest rate is the rate at which the loan is contracted. The real interest rate is the nominal rate reduced by the rate of inflation.
, the appreciation of the US dollar against the currencies of the countries of the South, and the repatriation of financial flows from the global South to the United States (as well as Western Europe) would provoke similar crises in several other countries like the one Sri Lanka was experiencing.

Subsequently, the spokesperson for the CADTM International network reiterated the criteria for defining odious debt Odious Debt According to the doctrine, for a debt to be odious it must meet two conditions:
1) It must have been contracted against the interests of the Nation, or against the interests of the People, or against the interests of the State.
2) Creditors cannot prove they they were unaware of how the borrowed money would be used.

We must underline that according to the doctrine of odious debt, the nature of the borrowing regime or government does not signify, since what matters is what the debt is used for. If a democratic government gets into debt against the interests of its population, the contracted debt can be called odious if it also meets the second condition. Consequently, contrary to a misleading version of the doctrine, odious debt is not only about dictatorial regimes.

(See Éric Toussaint, The Doctrine of Odious Debt : from Alexander Sack to the CADTM).

The father of the odious debt doctrine, Alexander Nahum Sack, clearly says that odious debts can be contracted by any regular government. Sack considers that a debt that is regularly incurred by a regular government can be branded as odious if the two above-mentioned conditions are met.
He adds, “once these two points are established, the burden of proof that the funds were used for the general or special needs of the State and were not of an odious character, would be upon the creditors.”

Sack defines a regular government as follows: “By a regular government is to be understood the supreme power that effectively exists within the limits of a given territory. Whether that government be monarchical (absolute or limited) or republican; whether it functions by “the grace of God” or “the will of the people”; whether it express “the will of the people” or not, of all the people or only of some; whether it be legally established or not, etc., none of that is relevant to the problem we are concerned with.”

So clearly for Sack, all regular governments, whether despotic or democratic, in one guise or another, can incur odious debts.
as follows:

Éric Toussaint then listed the debt repudiations that have taken place in history (most recently in Paraguay in 2005, Ecuador in 2007–2008, and Iceland in 2008–2009).

Also read : Ecuador: Resistance against the policies imposed by the World Bank, the IMF and other creditors between 2007 and 2011

He reminded the participants of the role played in the 1980s by Fidel Castro and Thomas Sankara in their fight against illegitimate debts and then concluded by highlighting the situation in Sri Lanka. The bulk of Sri Lanka’s debt is odious because the policies pursued by the borrowing governments were inimical to the interests of the people. These policies have also aggravated the situation, especially in terms of the environment. These policies were also detrimental to a fair taxation system.

Also read : ‘The Canary in the Coal Mine’: Sri Lanka’s Crisis is a Chronicle Foretold
Hommage à Linus Jayathilaka

External Debt in South Asia, International Financial Institutions and Social Movements by Badrul Alam (Bangladesh Krishok Federation), Sushovan Dhar (CADTM India), Abdul Khaliq (CADTM Pakistan), Sudhir Shrestha (South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication, Nepal).


This second session on external debt in South Asia was initiated by Sushovan Dhar, member of CADTM India. After analysing India’s external debt situation and detailing how the country’s banking system works, he drew up a list of demands. These include:


Bangladesh is facing very high interest costs, and the devaluation Devaluation A lowering of the exchange rate of one currency as regards others. of the taka against the US dollar is causing an alarming decline in foreign exchange reserves. As a result, to replenish its reserves

Badrul Alam spoke next, where he analysed the external debt of Bangladesh. He highlighted the continuous increase in the country’s external debt since its independence in 1971. While the current government tries to convince people that there is no problem with public debt, the reality is quite different. Bangladesh is facing very high interest costs, and the devaluation of the taka against the US dollar is causing an alarming decline in foreign exchange reserves. As a result, to replenish its reserves, the Bangladeshi government wants to take a loan from the IMF IMF
International Monetary Fund
Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.

, which, like everywhere else, will impose its neoliberal conditions.
To break out of this vicious circle, Badrul Alam recalled the need to mobilise against illegitimate debt.


Le FMI a libéralisé l’économie pakistanaise à coup de conditionnalités Conditionnalités Ensemble des mesures néolibérales imposées par le FMI et la Banque mondiale aux pays qui signent un accord, notamment pour obtenir un aménagement du remboursement de leur dette. Ces mesures sont censées favoriser l’« attractivité » du pays pour les investisseurs internationaux mais pénalisent durement les populations. Par extension, ce terme désigne toute condition imposée en vue de l’octroi d’une aide ou d’un prêt. : arrêt des subventions sur le gaz, le carburant, l’électricité, coupes drastiques dans les dépenses sociales...

After India and Bangladesh, Pakistan was discussed. Abdul Khaliq raised alarm about the massive increase in Pakistan’s debt recently, which has more than doubled between 2018 and 2022, from $75.3 billion to over $200 billion. He also highlighted that Pakistan has signed the most IMF agreements in the world, tied with Argentina (22). In the course of these agreements, the IMF has liberalised the Pakistani economy with a series of conditionalities: an end to subsidies on gas, fuel, and electricity; drastic cuts in social spending; etc. These measures have hit Pakistan very hard, especially the working classes, plunging 34% of the Pakistani population into poverty.

Today, Pakistan is in a major political and economic crisis. It could face a fate similar to that of Sri Lanka and enter a debt crisis due to the shortage of foreign currency. Indeed, while its foreign exchange reserves were worth US$20 billion in August 2021, they stand at only US$8 billion today.

Abdul Khaliq said that a major economic crisis could have very serious political consequences. In particular, the Pakistani Taliban, like the TTP, could use it as a weapon.

Also read : After the floods, Pakistan needs reparations, not charity


Environmentally, Nepal is also in great difficulty, even though its responsibility for climate change is minimal

Finally, Sudhir Shrestha detailed the Nepalese situation concerning public external debt. In this country of almost 30 million people, 34% of the budget is financed by borrowing. Debt service Debt service The sum of the interests and the amortization of the capital borrowed. , which varies between 2% and 4% of GDP GDP
Gross Domestic Product
Gross Domestic Product is an aggregate measure of total production within a given territory equal to the sum of the gross values added. The measure is notoriously incomplete; for example it does not take into account any activity that does not enter into a commercial exchange. The GDP takes into account both the production of goods and the production of services. Economic growth is defined as the variation of the GDP from one period to another.
, will increase sharply in the coming years as many dollar repayments will have to be made. As the rupee depreciates against the US dollar, it will be more expensive to repay the same amount of US dollars as before (as more Nepali rupees will have to be paid to obtain one US dollar). In addition, Nepal faces a debt crisis as it is heavily dependent on imports and its foreign exchange reserves are dwindling.

Environmentally, Nepal is also in great difficulty, even though its responsibility for climate change is minimal. The population is suffering from floods due to melting glaciers, etc. Recently, the Nepalese government accepted a loan from the World Bank World Bank
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

to finance climate change adaptation measures. Sudhir Shrestha reminded the participants that Nepal should not be trapped in a vicious cycle of debt but should demand aid from the countries responsible for the climate crisis. The government of Nepal should not negotiate with the World Bank and the IMF; it should audit its public debt, cancel the illegitimate part of it, and finance itself by increasing progressive taxes and taxing the rich. Today, the country relies almost exclusively on loans or unfair indirect taxes such as the Value Added Tax.

Sri Lanka : What crisis? How did we get here? Ramindu Perera (Open University of Sri Lanka) and Vimukhti de Silva (MONLAR)

One of the first things that angered the population was the ending of government subsidies on fertilisers as prices rose and the subsequent ban on farmers using chemical fertilisers without any prior preparation

Ramindu Perera opened the session by outlining the evolution of the Sri Lankan economy over the decades. Governments decided to liberalise the economy and integrate into global capitalism in the 1970s.

Today, the population is paying the price for these choices, as Sri Lanka has a built-in foreign exchange reserve deficit. It spends far more on imports than it earns in foreign exchange from exports. Every year for the past several years, the government has had to borrow from external creditors (at rates ranging from 5% to 7% recently) to cover this balance of payments Balance of payments A country’s balance of current payments is the result of its commercial transactions (i.e. imported and exported goods and services) and its financial exchanges with foreign countries. The balance of payments is a measure of the financial position of a country vis-à-vis the rest of the world. A country with a surplus in its current payments is a lending country for the rest of the world. On the other hand, if a country’s balance is in the red, that country will have to turn to the international lenders to meet its funding needs. deficit. These loans increased the external debt until last spring’s default, which meant a shortage of foreign currency and therefore of food, oil, and agricultural inputs.

The government is negotiating with the IMF, which wants to impose its conditionalities, including privatisations that have already begun, and vulture funds Vulture funds
Vulture fund
Investment funds who buy, on the secondary markets and at a significant discount, bonds once emitted by countries that are having repayment difficulties, from investors who prefer to cut their losses and take what price they can get in order to unload the risk from their books. The Vulture Funds then pursue the issuing country for the full amount of the debt they have purchased, not hesitating to seek decisions before, usually, British or US courts where the law is favourable to creditors.
are interested in the country (they want to buy Sri Lankan debt securities when they are at their lowest on the financial markets and demand payment of the principal and interest at the highest price when the country is once again able to pay).

The crisis in Sri Lanka is seen by the ruling class as an opportunity to pursue further neoliberal reforms in the country. It is also an opportunity to audit the public debt, repudiate its illegitimate portion, introduce an exceptional tax on the rich, and rebuild a more independent economy.

Also read :Sri Lanka’s Crisis is Endgame for Rajapaksas

Vimukthi de Silva then took the floor to speak about the reasons for the crisis that hit Sri Lanka in 2022 and the situation of women in this crisis.

She explained that one of the first things that angered the population was the ending of government subsidies on fertilisers as prices rose and the subsequent ban on farmers using chemical fertilisers without any prior preparation.

This caused great hardship for farmers, who were no longer able to match world market prices, which the big companies exploited to buy up their land at ridiculously low prices.
The government’s measures drove farmers off their land because it became impossible to make a living out of their work. Vimukhti de Silva advocates that Sri Lankan agriculture should not be market-driven but should move towards state-supported food agriculture in order to ensure a stable income and peaceful working conditions for the people working on the land.

Women are paying for this forex crisis and the government’s policies with their work and their bodies

Women are the first victims of these measures because they form the majority of Sri Lankan farmers. Faced with the loss of their livelihoods, shortages, and rising prices, many women become sexually exploited and malnourished. These measures also increase infant mortality.

While social spending must increase to compensate for this situation, the budget presented for 2023 contains major budget cuts. The government is thus taking advantage of the crisis to deepen the neoliberal character of the Sri Lankan economy and the exploitation of its population. For example, in order to obtain more foreign currency, the government has taken measures that will hurt children. Earlier, a woman could not leave Sri Lanka until her child was 5 years old; now she can leave when her son or daughter is over 2 years old.

Women are paying for this forex crisis and the government’s policies with their work and their bodies.

Renuka Karunarathne (Coalition des victimes de microfinance au Sri Lanka)

Climate justice in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and elsewhere, by Farooq Sulheria ( Pakistani journalist) and Quincy Saul, US eco-socialist activist.

Pakistan regularly suffers from droughts and terrible floods even though it is responsible for only 1% of greenhouse gas emissions

Farooq Sulheria spoke about the urgent need for climate justice for Pakistan. It regularly suffers from droughts and terrible floods despite being responsible for only 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and having a population of over 200 million. The latest floods in the summer of 2022 killed over 1,000 people and displaced 2.1 million. They caused damage equivalent to 15 billion dollars.

Pakistan urgently needs reparations from the countries responsible for climate change..

Lire aussi : The “Debt for Climate” campaign interviews Eric Toussaint about the responsibility of private companies and international organisations, such as the IMF and WB, in climate change

Quincy Saul then analysed Sri Lanka’s environmental plight before moving on to a more global reflection. He recalled that Sri Lanka was very vulnerable to rising sea levels. He also deplored the lack of debate on debt at the last COP.

The cancellation of the global South’s debt would not be enough to repair the ecological debt that the North owes to the South. This debt has been accumulated through 500 years of resource extraction in the South by the North and 200 years of pollution emitted by large companies in the North.

The cancellation of the global South’s debt would not be enough to repair the ecological debt that the North owes to the South. This debt has been accumulated through 500 years of resource extraction in the South by the North and 200 years of pollution emitted by large companies in the North.

The debate that followed focused on “debt for nature swaps,” in which part of the debt is cancelled in exchange for environmental protection measures. These mechanisms were denounced as new conditionalities, a neo-colonial tool telling the countries of the South that they must protect the environment and preserve resources when they are not responsible for the climate crisis that we are experiencing. Their debt must be cancelled unconditionally so that they can free up resources to decide for themselves on measures to adapt and preserve resources and the environment.

 Saturday, December 3: IMF, private debt in South Asia and North Africa, Sri Lankan default, IMF agreement and alternatives, seminar closing

What is the IMF? What is it for? What is the role of the IMF in a debt crisis? What is the IMF programme? What are the conditionalities imposed by the IMF? Can they be compatible with respect for human rights? What are the alternatives? What is the citizen audit of public debt? by Éric Toussaint

Repudiating the debt will not be enough; it is necessary to regain independence and sovereignty at the economic level by establishing an endogenous, self-reliant development

Éric Toussaint opened the second day of the workshop with a presentation on the International Monetary Fund. He addressed several major issues: the institution’s unequal voting system that provides the United States with a veto on all important decisions, the appointment of executive directors, the possibility of defying the IMF by not signing agreements with it (the example of Malaysia in 1996-1997 during the Asian Tiger Crisis)...

Éric Toussaint stressed the need to suspend debt payments, to reject the neo-liberal policies imposed by the IMF and the World Bank when they grant a loan, to carry out citizen audits of public debt, and then repudiate debts identified as odious.

Lire aussi : IMF: Inhuman at the micro and macro levels

Repudiating the debt will not be enough; it is necessary to regain independence and sovereignty at the economic level by establishing an endogenous, self-reliant development. A fair taxation system must be put in place, which abandons indirect taxes and puts in place progressive taxes with higher rates on the richest, while preventing capital from leaving the country above a certain level of income and wealth. Small farmers must be protected, and control of resources must be left to local communities. All of this must be done in conjunction with the development of a public and socialised banking sector.

Private debt in South Asia and North Africa, by Chinmayi Naik (Working Peoples Coalition in India), Jawad Moustakbal (ATTAC-CADTM Morocco), and Renuka Karunarathne (Collective of Women Affected by Microfinance in Sri Lanka)

Les personnes ayant contracté des microcrédits se sont retrouvées confrontées – notamment par l’accumulation de microcrédits pour rembourser les précédents – à des taux d’intérêt dépassant les 40%

Jawad Moustakbal began this session on private debt by elaborating on the Moroccan case. He began by noting that debt was used as a tool to colonise Morocco. After the country’s independence in 1956, debt was used as a pretext to implement neoliberal policies. Morocco’s debt has now doubled since 2012, with debt service accounting for 10 times the health budget, 3 times the education budget, and 7 times the amounts allocated to public investment.

Jawad Moustakbal explained that microcredit was the solution sought by capitalism in response to the damage caused by its austerity policies. As the state withdrew from providing for the basic needs of the population, the working classes were invited to take out loans.

In Morocco, the microcredit system developed in the mid-1990s. The sector exploded between 2003 and 2007, during which period loans multiplied. Total loans granted by microfinance institutions increased by a factor of 11 between 2003 and 2007. In the same period, the number of borrowers increased by a factor of 4.
The microcredit sector then entered a crisis in 2008 with repeated defaults. People in debt were confronted with interest rates of over 40% (for half of the loans granted by microfinance in Morocco), particularly due to the piling up of microcredits to repay previous ones. However, microcredit organisations hide and conceal this information in the contracts they sign.

Three years later, in 2011, a massive social movement erupted against the microfinance excesses in Ouarzazate (Morocco).

Regarding the use of funds lent by microfinance institutions in Morocco, a study showed that 43 percent of the funds are used for daily consumption and not for financing long-term projects.

Jawad Moustakbal insisted that the Sri Lankan default provides an opportunity to fight the debt system. There is a need to audit public but also private debts, to create a system of public borrowing without interest or at very low rates, to stop the dismantling of public health and education services, and to give back to communities the sovereignty over their territories...

Renuka Karunarathne explained the situation of microcredit victims in Sri Lanka. The loans offered to Sri Lankan women are too large compared to their income, and the interest is huge.

Many women have committed suicide due to their inability to repay loans; families have been broken up; and women have entered into prostitution because they had no other choice

In the event of late payment, these women face penalties in the form of additional interest. Otherwise, they take out a new loan to repay the previous one. Microfinance institutions pile interest on their shoulders.

If they cannot repay, women are sometimes taken to court. They are often afraid of this because they have never been to court. Moreover, they lack the money to hire a lawyer to defend them.

Often, they are unable to pay back the money, and their belongings and assets are seized. Many women have committed suicide due to their inability to repay loans; families have been broken up; and women have entered into prostitution because they had no other choice.

The microcredit victims’ movements are calling for these abusive loans to be regulated, citing the enormous impact on the lives of these women.

Also read : In Sri Lanka, Resistance to Private Indebtedness is a Strategic Issue
Chinmayi Naik (Coalition des travailleur·euses en Inde)

Chinmay Naik continued her intervention on private debts in India, focusing on households in the informal sector, which employs 72% of the workforce. As a result, when the unemployment rate doubled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the vulnerability of households reliant on the informal sector and lacking social security exploded. Since then, these households have been dealing with a genuine private debt crisis.

Also read : Micro credit : empowerment or victimisation?

Since the pandemic, most households that have taken on debt have done so to cover their living expenses or medical expenses, which increased from an average of Rs 1,900 per month to an average of Rs 4,700 during the pandemic

Since the pandemic, most households that have taken on debt have done so to cover their living expenses or medical expenses, which increased from an average of Rs 1,900 per month to an average of Rs 4,700 during the pandemic.

This has had dire consequences. Many daily wage workers committed suicide in 2021 under the burden of their debts. They suffered the highest proportion of suicides in India in 2021.

While laws are supposed to protect households that fail to repay their debts, they are not enforced.

Consequently, in case of difficulties in repayment, households pay penalties in the form of additional interest and lose their homes and land.

The state and the banks also create a situation where there is no alternative to such borrowing. For example, the Central Bank Central Bank The establishment which in a given State is in charge of issuing bank notes and controlling the volume of currency and credit. In France, it is the Banque de France which assumes this role under the auspices of the European Central Bank (see ECB) while in the UK it is the Bank of England.

ECB : http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/Pages/home.aspx
of India has made a case against co-operatives or self-help groups on the grounds that they are not profitable... Everything is done to make people dependent on loans and microcredit. For example, in the contracts signed by people who receive microcredit, no mention is made of the interest rate. It is only much later that they realise how much they will have to pay back, falling into a downward spiral of private debt without having been properly informed.

Sri Lanka: debate and strategies on debt, the IMF, and alternatives by Chintaka Rajapaksa (MONLAR), Dhanusha Gihan Pathirana (a political economist), and Thilak Kariyawasam (FIAN, the Lanka Organic Agriculture Movement))

Aujourd’hui, au Sri Lanka, 6,3 millions des 20 millions d’habitant·es que compte le pays sont plongé·es dans la pauvreté, ne parviennent pas à subvenir à leurs besoins les plus essentiels

The final panel discussion was on the alternatives for Sri Lanka instead of entering into an agreement with the IMF.

Dhanusha Gihan Pathirana opened the session by reminding the participants that the main victims of the foreign exchange crisis affecting Sri Lanka today are those who are least responsible for it. He showed that despite the crisis, the government is continuing and even deepening the path of dependency and neoliberalism. While it should be moving away from the microfinance system in agriculture and putting in place a new model based on subsistence farming, cooperatives, and food independence from the outside world, the government is following the “advice” of the IMF by privatizing and cutting public spending, which puts the victims of the crisis in an even more desperate situation. Today, 6.3 million of Sri Lanka’s 20 million people are living in poverty, unable to meet their basic needs.

Lire aussi : Sri Lanka: No agreement with the IMF!

Thilak Kariyawasam then highlighted the derisory nature of development aid (0.7% of GDP) from the countries of the North to the countries of the South. This aid is not used to open the way to independent development that respects resources and the environment—quite the contrary.

He also recalled that the debt restructurings proposed by the IMF and the World Bank were only a means to continue payments, thus perpetuating the repayments to the creditors. These restructurings serve the creditors, not the Sri Lankan people.

Finally, Chintaka Rajapaksa insisted on the importance of the cancellation of Sri Lanka’s debt. He also spoke about the necessity of a debt audit—both public and private—and of strong mobilisations concerning the necessary transformation of the Sri Lankan rural economy.

A debate then started with Eric Toussaint, who emphasised the need to stand up to the International Monetary Fund, without which no alternative will be possible. He used the examples of Ecuador and Argentina to show that it is perfectly possible to resist the creditors, cancel the debt, and stand up to the international financial institutions while improving the lives of the population.

After these two days rich in debates, arguments, and alternatives, a declaration presented by Sushovan Dhar on behalf of the meeting was adopted. Then Miguel Urban, Anticapitalistas MEP (Spain), closed the workshop with a speech of solidarity with the struggles in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.


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