An “odious debt” is incurred and used for ends which, to the knowledge of the creditors, are contrary to the interests of the nation. The term was coined by Alexander Nahum Sack in 1927 in the wake of the Spanish American war, and is used to describe debts incurred by contemporary despotic regimes which ought to be legally unenforceable unless as personal debts of the regime.
It is time for the IMF and World Bank to understand their own responsibility and decolonise their approach.
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The Bretton Woods Project is a UK-based NGO that challenges the World Bank and IMF and promotes alternative approaches. We serve as an information provider, watchdog, networker and advocate. Our flagship publications are the Bretton Woods Observer, a quarterly critical review of developments at the World Bank and IMF, the Dispatch, a biannual analysis of the World Bank and IMF Spring and Annual Meetings, and the NewsLens, a bi-weekly roundup of key news and critical viewpoints published about the World Bank and IMF.
The Bretton Woods Project is an ActionAid hosted project (UK registered charity no. 274467).