Corruption is a problem in Kenya and many countries. Where corruption is intractable, trust funds can be used to ensure that money freed by debt cancellation is used to benefit the poor. In Uganda, for example, money has been channeled through a Poverty Action Fund, which is overseen by representatives from government, national and international nongovernmental organizations, churches, and unions.
It's important to understand how the international debt system fuels corruption. IMF conditions have forced governments to cut jobs and lower salaries, leading workers to demand bribes. And, in the past, international creditors lent country executives money without their legislatures approving, or even knowing the amount of, the loans. Civil society groups in countries scarred by the debt crisis, such as Zambia and the Philippines, have been advocating for parliamentary oversight of new debts and want greater transparency of information to be able to hold their governments accountable.
Christina Cobourn Herman was an associate director of the Oblate Justice and Peace/Integrity of Creation Office in Washington, D.C., when this article appeared.