For many developing countries foreign aid from the North is less than the reverse financial flows required to service debt. This is a situation which is morally unacceptable, not just for the poorest countries but also for those "middle income" countries whose average GDP per head is usually less than a tenth of the creditor countries and where often the most adverse consequences fall on those in the severest poverty, most particularly on women.
In 1982 and 1983 nearly $28,000 million more than was lent was received by the developed world's banks from the developing countries. At the same time bank lending decreased, as did direct investment by multinational enterprises. According to the OECD, between 1982 and 1990, total resource flows to developing countries amounted to $927 billion, while over the same period these countries paid $1345 billion in debt service alone. Between 1983 and 1990, sub-Saharan Africa paid back $1.8 billion more to the International Monetary Fund than it received in new loans.
In Tanzania, debt repayment has absorbed more funds than either health or education since the 1980s. In reality, many African countries are quite simply bankrupt and unable to repay loans. In 1991, Tanzania met less than one quarter, and Zambia only around one third, of its scheduled debt payments.