The IMF has blocked substantial debt cancellation. It is controlled by the voting power of its members. The G8 countries control 48 per cent of the votes; the 41 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) have only 3 per cent. (If the votes were allocated on the basis of population rather than level of financial contribution to the IMF, the G8 would have 14 per cent in comparison to the HIPC countries 10 per cent.).
2. The World Bank and the IMF continue to force poor countries to pay back their debt despite the fact that many lack the funds to properly care for their own people. The IMF/World Bank's control of the debt issue preserves their power to impose unpopular austerity policies. Sub-Saharan African countries spend more on debt payment than on primary education and health care combined.
3. During the financial crisis in Asia, the IMF and the World Bank raised more than 150 billion dollars in a few months. Now they claim that they cannot afford to cancel the outstanding debt owed directly to them by the poorest countries, even though the debt is worth only 25-40 billion dollars.
4. The income the Japanese firm Nintendo expected to earn on US sales of its Pokemon games in the year 2000 was enough to wipe out the entire debts of Rwanda and Niger combined. The $750m spent on the Okinawa G7 summit could have written off the entire debts of Ethiopia and the Gambia.