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Hi

The West, for its own strategic reasons, had loaned huge sums of money to African nations during the Cold War, often to very mad and bad men, just because they weren't communist. These people like Mobutu of Zaire, had squandered the countries resources on personal enrichment and now the western world was holding to ransom the children of these choices made years and years before.

I'm not sure what the last part means?
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It means that this generation of Africans is responsible for paying off the debts incurred by leaders like Mobutu.
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It means the Western World is expecting today's citizens to repay the money that was loaned.   Apparently the author does not think they should expect today's citizens to repay loans made to their leaders years earlier because those leaders did not use the loans for the nation's benefit but their own.
Thank you very much guys!