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Poverty, debt and Africa’s HIV/AIDS crisis

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As Africa enters its third decade of structural adjustment pressures, the promised advantages of economic restructuring—as hailed by the various lending bodies— have not been forthcoming. The indelible picture emanating from the continent is one of a people relegated to a position of extreme poverty as state managers and the international community either fail to, or seem unable to, pursue policies that will secure the basic needs of its citizens. To compound matters, HIV and AIDS are threatening to erode the continent’s already fragile development capacity. Predicated on the continent’s limited economic capabilities, this article charts the relationship between poverty, debt relief and the politics of effective response to HIV/AIDS in Africa. The article begins with an assessment of the societal causes and consequences of the epidemic, moving on to contextualize the case for debts cancellation. It concludes by examining the crucial relationship between debt relief and the successful implementation of effective strategies against the pandemic in Africa.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Southampton and adviser to the government of Ghana

Publication date: 2002-07-01

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