This divide is based less on conflicting ideologies than on radically different living standards that threaten to relegate the most impoverished nations to a permanent underclass status.These widely different levels of development reflect in part an increasingly volatile global economy as well as failed or inadequate development policies of the past.
Yet despite the weakening of old animosities and the creation of new alliances, the divide between the wealthy and poor nations is deepening.
In 1998, Mozambique's annual debt service obligation was more than half of its public revenue.
In a country still emerging from a sixteen-year civil war, half the rural population does not have access to safe drinking water; 200,000 children die annually from preventable diseases such as malaria, measles, and respiratory infections; two-thirds of adults are illiterate; and most children do not go to primary school.
Mozambique's debt service repayments, even though they fall well short of the amount due, are made at the price of investing in human development.
In Africa as a whole, one out of two children does not go to school, yet governments transfer four times more to foreign creditors in debt payments than they spend on the health and education of their citizens.