San Diego International Law Journal

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



This Article examines the promised debt relief and commends the G8 for taking the initiative to assist a continent in crisis. The Article, however, argues that debt relief is far from a complete cure, and that Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) needs more than handouts from the G8 to overcome poverty. Debt relief is merely the end of the beginning; it is, at best, a gesture of support to Africa's effort at meeting human security, which the African Union (A.U.) defines as "the security of the individual in terms of satisfaction of his/her basic needs." Africa's problems are conspicuous, though their solutions seem to defy reason and common sense. There are three external trajectories to Africa's development crisis: the first is the debt question; the second is the aid question; and the third is the trade question. The Blair Commission Report sums up Africa's internal development trajectories thus: "Africa's history over the last fifty years has been blighted by two areas of weakness. These have been capacity-the ability to design and deliver policies; and accountability-how well a state answers to its people." This Article will argue that while Africa needs the international community's support for capacity building, it must take up the challenge of accountability and pull itself up by its bootstraps. Part II addresses the debt burden, the long struggle and arguments (legal and moral) for its relief, and the promised reprieve by the G8, all in the context of global distributive justice. Part III examines Africa's other external development trajectories-aid and trade- and argues that market access offers great potential for Africa's growth, though it is hard to draw the same conclusion about aid. Part IV focuses on internal dynamics, including Africa's obstructive regulatory and economic policies, and calls for a transformative development agenda.