For more information and to support the 'drop the Debt campaign see Jubilee Debt web Group - www.jdc-web.org.uk
J2000 estimate that for Britain:
Where did the debt come from?
Back in the 60's when there was a lot of free money floating round due to increased oil prices, the West tried to assist the poorest countries by lending them a lot of money. So much they could never pay it back. Like anyone else who makes a bad business decision, the West should take responsibility and write off those debts.
Attention is focused on the poorest countries; incapable of repaying the debt. These are identified and known as HIPC's. Of course there are disagreements a to which countries qualify. Generally countries at war or so corrupt that the money would simply go into Swiss bank accounts are excluded. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and the G7 countries all work to the WB list of about 42 countries. Jubilee 2000 and others would wish to se at least 52 countries included.
On the surface everyone has agreed to the principle. See later for the real barriers. But the policy is that each country has to produce a plan showing that the money will be used to alleviate poverty (OK in principle) before the debt is forgiven. Then if for three years the plans are pursued, then the debt is forgive! In the meanwhile, the countries have to accept the conditions imposed by the WB/IMF which generally follow a Western, capitalist and free market agenda, whereby the West can effectively market goods and capital in the countries whilst sheltering behind the West's own trade barriers to protect Western business (and a lot of other similar one way issues)
The data from the WB/IMF of the cost at NPV is:-