It is now widely recognized that the states of the African continent are suffering the consequences of a particular kind of debt crisis that has emerged in the 1970s, and especially from the second world oil price rises of 1978 onwards. Earlier we have described the origins and general characteristics of the Third World debt crisis, as a consequence of both internal and external factors appertain­ ing to development possibilities and the character of the international economy in the 1970s. But debt is becoming a more generalized phenomenon affecting individuals, states, and corporations alike in both the advanced industrial and peripheral worlds.