The debt should be forgiven to countries in extreme poverty because they should not sacrifice their scarce resources to pay interest of the debt, and leave their countries without resources for education and health of their citizens. Besides, rich industrialized countries don't even need the money. This is a way to have poor countries poor forever!
Read "Economic Hit Many" by John Perkins. He explains how the USA has used debt not to help developing nations, but rather to control those nations to conform to US Foreign Policy. The purpose of this is US Full Spectrum Dominance through military and economic methods of every nation on Earth, that is the land, seas, airspace, outer space, the internet and the main stream media. This attempt to dominate all nations has been going on for many decades and is called "The Washington Consensus. Perkins points out that the first attempt is to bribe the leaders of nations, if that does not work, then the leader is assassinated, if that does not work, then the US invades, like in Iraq.
Wake up America. Your political, economic and military efforts are killing millions and making you the most hated country in the world.
I'm assuming that by "poor nations" the question is referring to developing countries. My answer almost entirely goes as the definition goes. If we are referring to developing countries that are not yet self-sufficient then yes, they should have at least portions of their debt forgiven. Even though it seems to surprise a lot of people, developed nations have personal interests in making sure that the poorest countries never become truly industrialized and developed. This is due to imperialism which began in around 1870 and didn't end until just after WWII when the colonized Africans began pushing for independence from their European overlords. This led to neo-colonialism, however, and the richest countries are still able to take advantage of the poor countries resources even though they have no military presence or direct political control anymore. In 1992, sub-Saharan Africa was so dependent on foreign aid that regardless of what any nation did to cheat them, they could not speak out for fear of losing the money that was coming in.
Finally, a suggestion that would set sub-Saharan Africa, and really all undeveloped nations, on the road to becoming self-sufficient. The suggestion comes from my International Relations professor who was born in Ghana. What the peoples of undeveloped nations need more than anything is easy access to technology. In Ghana, most men are still harvesting crops with hatchets and scythes. We need to spread agricultural equipment throughout the nations and teach the citizens how to use it. Also, instead of sending our clothes to Africa for them to wear, we need to help set up manufacturing plants and show them how to create the goods for themselves.
By and large, loans are good b/c it encourages developing nations to invest that money in something that will help pay back the loan-thus increasing economic prosperity.
If, however, the developed nation is charging exorbitant interest and the poorer nation is trapped in a debt spiral, then having the country continue to pay its debts is beneficial to no one.
Many poor countries ran up international debts, where the previous rulers stole the money, or it was wasted. These countries do not have the means to pay back the debts. Developed countries should have a plan where these debts are written off. It will help the poor countries get a fresh start.
The loan was initially given to the poor country to help it. Forgiving debt is basically the same as giving them another loan. As long as the country is moving forward in a positive, democratic way, debts should be forgiven. A country that is starting from the bottom would accumulate way too much interest to be able to pay off the debt anyway. So, I say help them out and forgive their debts.
Nations should be held accountable for their financial actions, whether they be poor or well off
As this kid I used to know once said "Just temporarily destroy the government, then reform it exactly the way it was before. When people start bugging you about your debt, say your government was overthrown and the new government doesn't owe anyone anything."
Poor nations should not have their debts forgiven, because it gives them a free pass on money that they owe. Rather than having their debts forgiven/pardoned, poorer nations should work on efficient spending and stimulating their economy for long term improvements. If a country knows they can't pay money back, then they should not be taking out loans.
I disagree with stronger nations bailing out, so to speak, not so strong nations. Don't get me wrong, I love to help people. But, when is enough, enough? Seriously, these developing nations should not be relying on money given to them by our country, or any other, for that matter.
We could suspend interest payments for a certain amount of time instead, and renew the suspension if necessary.
"Poor nations" are not supposed to remain poor forever. There's no good reason why they should be forgiven forever and then not have to pay once they are no longer poor.