Advanced Level >> Themes & Topics >> Students get practice at writing formal letters. Ties in well with the 'world debt' theme.

The Issue of Debt Relief to Aid the Third World


You are an employee of the First International Bank. You have received a letter from a member of the public criticising the bank's policy of insisting on collecting payments on old debts owed by countries in southern Africa. Using the information contained in the articles on debt relief, write a polite response explaining as best you can why the solution to the debt relief problem may not be quite as simple as the letter writer suggests.

Here is the letter you have received:


Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to you in response to an article I read in the local newspaper yesterday. I felt I had to let you know exactly how I felt.

This article was about the serious problem of the debt owed to the developed world by the poorer nations among us. It has come to my attention that your bank is one of those to whom money is owed and I would like to know why you don't just cancel this debt.

These countries spend a large part of their annual budget just servicing the loans that were taken out decades ago. How can this be justified?? If your bank, and others like it, wrote off this debt, these poor countries would then be able to spend the extra money on schools, hospitals and the other vital services that the populations require. The amounts of money we are speaking about are tiny for a rich bank such as yourselves but could mean the difference between life and death to millions of children in these under-developed countries.

So please show some compassion. I really don't know how you can all sleep at night knowing what the debt burden is doing to these countries.

Yours faithfully,

John Edgar, M.A.


Now, write your response:


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