In 2005, people of faith and conscience worked together to win a promise from the Bush administration, other world leaders, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to cancel more than $40 billion worth of debt for 20 of the world's most impoverished countries. Up to 20 additional countries are eligible to receive cancellation under the 2005 debt agreement.
But many nations, such as Burundi, the Gambia, Guinea, and Haiti are currently facing deadly delays and are tied up in harmful economic policy strings imposed by the World Bank and IMF.
In order for impoverished nations to receive debt cancellation from the IMF, World Bank, and other international financial institutions under the G-8 debt deal, they must first qualify by reaching what is called “completion point” in the IMF/World Bank’s Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative.
In order to reach completion point, countries must comply with harmful economic policies dictated by the IMF and World Bank, including the privatization of basic utilities such as water and electricity. These harmful economic policy “strings” delay desperately needed debt cancellation and once they are implemented raise the cost of basic needs beyond the reach of the poorest people in impoverished countries.