Le dilemme de la dette de l'Afrique

L'obtention de l'annulation ou du rééchelonnement des dettes étrangères de l'Irak par le président américain George W. Bush et son envoyé spécial, l'ancien secrétaire d'Etat James Baker, illustre parfaitement tout ce qui peut être accompli lorsqu'une politique est soutenue par une volonté politique. Le contraste avec les dettes de l'Afrique ne pourrait pas être plus prononcé. Seulement trois ans auparavant, Jubilé 2000 a défrayé la chronique lorsque des groupes de société civile, des stars du rock et quelques ministres de la Finance comme le Britannique Gordon Brown ont demandé l'annulation de la dette africaine. Le président Bush a réussi dans sa croisade ; Jubilé 2000 a réussi à décrocher des promesses vaines.

Bien évidemment, les deux campagnes ont dû faire face à des obstacles différents et leurs bases de soutien étaient différentes. La mission de Baker disposait du soutien illimité des Etats-Unis, confrontés au coût gargantuesque de la reconstruction de l'Irak ; Jubilé 2000 avait uniquement l'opinion mondiale à ses côtés. Les contrats de reconstruction lucratifs en Irak ont donné à l'Amérique les moyens de pression nécessaires pour contraindre ses alliés à la soumission ; Jubilé 2000 ne disposait d'aucune arme de persuasion de ce type.

Enfin, Baker a fait appel, en Europe et au Moyen-Orient, aux alliés traditionnels de l'Amérique qui ont besoin de l'amitié américaine dans de nombreux domaines. La campagne visant à faire grâce de la dette de l'Afrique était, quant à elle, axée sur la dette écrasante contractée par les pays africains après du FMI et de la Banque Mondiale, qui avaient uniquement à s'inquiéter d'argent. Les manifestations dans les rues lors de la campagne Jubilé ont néanmoins instauré un débat bénéfique sur les conditions de prêt du FMI et de la Banque Mondiale.

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