Un allégement de la dette en trompe-l'œil

ROME - Le 14 mai, les représentants de gouvernements du monde entier se réunissent à Bruxelles sous les auspices de l'ONU pour discuter de la situation des pays pauvres. Les dirigeants des pays riches pourront y faire étalage de bonne conscience, tout en se remémorant le proverbe ancien selon lequel le pardon est divin. En effet, il y a un peu plus d'un an, ils ont décidé d'annuler en grande partie la dette des pays pauvres. C'est sans doute là un geste noble; hélas, cela ne signifie pas pour autant qu’il est efficace et utile.

La plupart des dettes des pays pauvres étaient déjà de facto considérées comme perdues et irrécouvrables. Ainsi, les sommes versées par beaucoup de pays pauvres, que ce soit au titre du remboursement du capital ou des intérêts, étaient très inférieures aux sommes réellement dues. L'Ethiopie, par exemple, versait une somme représentant 10% de ses exportations alors qu’il aurait fallu atteindre les 70% pour couvrir la valeur nominale de sa dette.

L'initiative "Pays pauvres très endettés" (PPTE) qui s'est traduite par l'accord de Cologne a abouti l'année dernière à une déclaration prévoyant l'allégement de la dette à un niveau tel que le paiement des intérêts soit réalisable. Autrement dit, l'accord remplace une dette irrécouvrable par une dette d'un montant plus faible mais qui pourra être remboursée effectivement. Selon les calculs du ministère britannique de l'économie et des finances, dans le cadre de cet accord, le Mozambique verse sensiblement le même montant qu'avant sa signature.

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