Devex Profiles Jubilee USA

Devex profiles Jubilee USA. Read full article here

Indebted to faith: How the Jubilee campaign aims to end global poverty

By Shabtai Gold

A few days have passed since the gloomy Spring Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, rife with warnings about the war in Ukraine and looming food riots, so Eric LeCompte is a welcome breath of fresh air. The leader of the Jubilee USA Network has an understated positive vibe that is quietly infectious and not exactly discernable at first.

His career began in the mid-1990s in New York’s Catholic homeless shelters and soup kitchens, and it later took him to advocate against torture in Latin America through work at School of the Americas Watch. Now with Jubilee in Washington, he’s focused on reworking a global financial system he says is based on outdated architecture that perpetuates inequality.

There are “a few countries at the top who call the shots for the whole world,” he says, leading to his sharp focus on lower-income countries’ debt burdens.

LeCompte is deeply enmeshed in the details of global finance, not just abstractions. He is intimately familiar with the fine print of challenges facing debtor nations, from excessive loan burdens and interest rates to corruption and trade.

He says both low- and high-income countries must improve their performances to end the cycle of indebtedness and poverty.

“The reality is, countries go into debt because they are not capturing revenue at home,” he says, noting that tackling illicit financial flows and corruption often involves leadership at both ends of the wealth spectrum. His rhetoric focuses less on blame and more on action.