Is It a Donation or a Loan?

By Agyeman-Duah, S. K. | New African, February 2004 | Go to article overview

Is It a Donation or a Loan?


Agyeman-Duah, S. K., New African


Western countries and their agents--the IMF, World Bank, etc--call themselves donor countries or organisations. But what is a donation and what is a loan?

According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, a "donation" is a "bestowal; present; thing presented; gift (especially of money given to an institution)."

The same dictionary defines a "loan" as "a thing especially a sum of money lent to be returned with or without interest". Therefore, "donation, aid, help or assistance" all mean giving something--service or money freely--as a gift to somebody. But a loan is required to be returned or repaid at interest.

We should thus get one thing clear: the IMF and World Bank are not in the business of charity, but making profit for themselves and the member governments that financially support their lending activities. Why then do the West and the IMF/World Bank try to confuse the two distinctly different words--donation and loan--by calling themselves donor countries and organisations? In fact, from their activities, they are more "lender countries" than "donor countries".

Interestingly, not only them but also the world media seem to be encouraging that kind of misleading and deceptive terminology. The money they lend to developing countries is not a "donation" or "aid" or "help" or "assistance", but a "loan" to be repaid at exorbitantly high interest. …

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Is It a Donation or a Loan?
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