The Guardian Cites Eric LeCompte on IMF Chief Speech

The Guardian cited Eric LeCompte on the IMF Head Kristalina Georgieva's recent speech on global inequality and financial crisis. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

IMF boss says global economy risks return of Great Depression

Eric LeCompte, the head of debt charity Jubilee USA, said: “The IMF delivered a stark message about the potential for another massive financial disaster that we last experienced during the Great Depression.

“With inequality on the rise and concerns of stability in the markets, we need to take this warning seriously.”

Read more here

 

Read More

Eric LeCompte Quoted on IMF Head Speech

Common Dreams quoted Eric LeCompte on the IMF Head Kristalina Georgieva's recent speech on global inequality and financial crisis. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

IMF Head Gives 'Stark Message' of Looming Inequality-Fueled Global Financial Disaster

According to Jubilee USA director Eric LeCompte, it would be unwise to let Georgieva's comments fall on deaf ears.

"The IMF delivered a stark message about the potential for another massive financial disaster that we last experienced during the Great Depression," said LeCompte, also a United Nations finance expert. "With inequality on the rise and concerns of stability in the markets, we need to take this warning seriously."

"Trade problems and climate-driven weather events pose additional risks at this time," LeCompte added. "It's imperative that we ensure the financial sector is free of risky behavior and corruption if we want to protect ourselves from another global financial crisis."

Read more here

Read More

IMF Chief Warns of Financial Disaster Driven by Inequality

Washington DC - IMF Head Kristalina Georgieva warns of a return of the Great Depression driven by inequality and financial sector instability in a speech delivered at the Peterson Institute of International Economics. Georgieva highlighted new IMF research and she compared the current economy to the "roaring 1920s" economy that culminated in the great market crash of 1929.

"The IMF delivered a stark message about the potential for another massive financial disaster that we last experienced during the Great Depression," noted United Nations finance expert and Jubilee USA Director Eric LeCompte. "With inequality on the rise and concerns of stability in the markets, we need to take this warning seriously."

In addition to financial sector stability and growing inequality, Georgieva shared that we face additional challenges in the current economy.

"Trade problems and climate-driven weather events pose additional risks at this time," said LeCompte. "It's imperative that we ensure the financial sector is free of risky behavior and corruption if we want to protect ourselves from another global financial crisis."

Read Georgieva's full speech here

Read More

Jubilee USA Statement on Senate Passing USMCA

Washington DC - The Senate passed the United States Mexico Canada Agreement today in a 89 to 10 vote. The agreement takes effect if President Trump signs the law and Canada approves the agreement.

Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of Jubilee USA, a religious development organization that worked on portions of the agreement, releases the following statement:

"If this new trade pact is signed into law by President Trump and approved by Canada, it will stop the previous trade arbitration process that enabled abusive corporations to skirt labor laws and protections for poor people.

"The new agreement removes harmful language that in past trade agreements prevented vulnerable people from accessing medicines.

"I commend the agreement for stopping predatory hedge funds from collecting on old bad debts.."

Read Jubilee USA's statement with the Catholic, Episcopalian, United Methodist, Presbyterian, Evangelical Lutheran and United Church of Christ Churches calling on the US Government to enact trade agreements that protect vulnerable people here

Read More

Blessed New Year

Friends,

Wishing that your New Year is full of blessings.

Eric

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

Read More

A Happy 2020 for Somalia, Puerto Rico, the Vulnerable and Transparency

Friends,

We're ending 2019 on a lot of good news.

A week and a half ago, we won the first phase of debt relief for Somalia. After two years of work, President Trump signed our legislation into law. We moved Congress and the International Monetary Fund to pass Somalia debt plans that mean building new roads, women's empowerment, kids going back to school and ending the tragic reality that 73% of people live in extreme poverty.

Over the next weeks and months in 2020, we still have a lot of work to do to move Congress, the White House and the IMF further, but now the debt relief process can begin.

So we can continue this work into 2020, please make a donation now to support our bipartisan efforts on Somalia, Puerto Rico, new trade deals, corruption and financial secrecy. Before January 1st, your tax-deductible gift to Jubilee USA Network is matched and doubled.

Beyond winning debt relief for Somalia, these last few weeks for Jubilee USA is full of victories. Now we need to carry those victories into 2020:

  • Congress passed and the President just signed, nearly $6 billion in healthcare aid for Puerto Rico. We need your help as we work to secure tens of billions of more disaster aid and assistance for Puerto Rico in 2020.

  • Our interfaith, bipartisan NAFTA, US Mexico Canada trade campaign won all of our goals. We stopped predatory "vulture" funds from using trade deals to collect on old bad debts. We ensured that most abusive corporations can't exploit trade deals to take advantage of poor people or local laws. We removed the language that would keep medicines and drugs unaffordable for vulnerable communities and all of us. Our legislation passed in the House last Thursday. We organized the largest denominations in the US to work with us on this critical campaign. With your help, we'll win our goals in the Senate in 2020.

  • We won support from the White House and passed our Jubilee Corporate Transparency Act in the House of Representatives. Once we pass it in the Senate, this legislation helps stops human traffickers, protects debt relief and development aid and raises revenue in the developing world. We are close to a deal in the Senate and organized 100 faith communities to work with us to move this forward. We expect our Senate vote in February and need your support to push this across the finish line and have the President sign it into law.

Your gift now supports vital and strategic campaigns that tackle the root cause of poverty and inequality. Whether your gift is $250, $50, $1000, $500, $100 or any amount - your tax-deductible donation really matters and is doubled before January 1st.

With many donors prioritizing donations to elections and the tax reform impacting contributions - your gift matters now more than ever.

We are so grateful for your partnership.

Happy New Year,

Eric

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director

Read More

2019: Jubilee in the News

Friends,

From TIME to the Associated Press to Quartz to your local newspaper - tens of thousands of newspapers, television and radio shows covered Jubilee USA's efforts in 2019.

See a sampling of Jubilee USA's news coverage below.

Happy Holidays,

Kate

 

JUBILEE IN THE NEWS 

Illicit Financial Flows, Tax Evasion and Transparency

Pacifica's Background Briefing (Dec 27)
MACROSCOPE (Dec 19)
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (Dec 18)

National Catholic Reporter (Sept 9)
National Catholic Reporter (Sept 6)
Agence France-Presse (Oct 23) 
Yahoo! News (Oct 23) 
Accounting Today (Oct 23) 
The Business Times (Oct 23)
Quartz (July 25)
Devex (April 23)


US State, Territory and Puerto Rico Disaster and Recovery Aid

Alabama Political Reporter (June 4)
El Nuevo Dia (June 3)
The Fence Post (May 24)


Climate and the Environment

MACROSCOPE (Dec 19) 
Crux (Nov 4)
National Catholic Reporter (Nov 4)


The IMF, World Bank, UN, Debt and Financial Crisis

MACROSCOPE (Dec 19) 
National Catholic Reporter (Dec 9)
Associated Press (Oct 19) 
Chicago Tribune (Oct 19)
US News and World Report (Oct 19) 
Business Report (Oct 16)
The Guardian (Oct 12)
Albany Times Union (Oct 7) 
Investor Daily (Sept 27)
CTV News (Sept 26)
The Baltimore Sun (Sept 26)
Chicago Tribune (Sept 26)
Agence France-Presse (Sept 25)
The Daily Trust (Sept 26)
The Irish Examiner (Sept 26)
The Jakarta Post (Sept 26)
Agence France-Presse (Sept 25) 
Brietbart (Sept 25) 
TIME (Sept 25)
Associated Press (Sept 25) 
ValueWalk (April 23)
Market Watch (April 2)


Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands

Pacifica's Background Briefing (Dec 27)
MACROSCOPE (Dec 19)
The American Prospect (July 29)
National Catholic Reporter (July 27)
Alabama Political Reporter (June 19)
National Catholic Reporter (June 18)
Pensions & Investments (June 14)
Telemundo Puerto Rico (June 16)
National Catholic Reporter (May 10)
Latin American Advisor (Feb 15)
Nonprofit Quarterly (Feb 11)
Pensions & Investments (Feb 5)
El Nuevo Dia (Feb 5)
El Nuevo Dia (Jan 18)


Somalia

Pacifica's Background Briefing (Dec 27)
Jubilee USA Network (Dec 20)
MACROSCOPE (Dec 19) 
Jubilee USA Network (Dec 18)


2019 Overview

Pacifica's Background Briefing (Dec 27)
MACROSCOPE (Dec 19)

Jubilee USA Year-end Report

 

Read More

Eric LeCompte's in MACROSCOPE

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung recently published an essay by Eric LeCompte entitled “Keeping our Promises to Finance Development.” Read an excerpt below or find the full text here.  

MACROSCOPE: Keeping our Promises to Finance Development

According to UNCTAD, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) could be achieved with a 5-7 trillion US dollar investment. If we fund the SDGs, the Business and Sustainable Development Commission notes that 12 trillion US dollars of new market opportunities and 380 million new jobs could be created. Yet we know that the developing world is losing a trillion dollars a year, and according to the IMF’s latest report - 15 trillion US dollars is held in tax havens and financial secrecy havens.

UNCTAD notes that debt sustainability in developing countries is “deteriorating fast”, and the IMF states that as of last August, 47 per cent of low-income countries were in debt crisis or facing high debt distress. Human beings are suffering. In too many poor countries, high debts mean people don’t eat, people don’t see doctors and communities are unprepared to deal with the havoc caused by tsunamis, hurricanes, earth quakes and other extreme weather events.

Because of high unsustainable debts, corruption, a lack of public budget transparency, tax evasion, tax avoidance and bad trade deals – countries are losing revenue, and this real revenue loss becomes a theft from the poor. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children under the age of five are dying every single day.

If these numbers aren’t frightening enough, these same structural causes of poverty are also why we have extreme inequality, why 80 individuals have more wealth than 3.5 billion – or half the world’s people, people who live in poverty.

High debts, illicit financial flows and these other structural issues are why the IMF and UNCTAD are warning all of us that we could experience another global financial crisis.

This frightens all of us as we ask whether debts are hindering development and whether high debts and financial secrecy are creating the conditions for another global financial crisis.

Jubilee USA Network, whose members include the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, American Jewish World Service, Islamic Relief, the United Church of Christ, The Evangelical Lutheran Church, The Episcopal Church and most mainline Christian Churches – as well as the international debt and development network that coalesced around resolving debt crisis in the poorest countries of the world over 20 years ago – is well positioned to respond to these issues because of our unique history in creating and supporting policies that successfully resolve unsustainable debts, raise revenue, promote good governance and prevent financial crisis and diminish poverty.

Together we move forward global policies that address the root causes of poverty and inequality related to debt, tax, trade and transparency issues. Congressional Quarterly cites the work of Jubilee USA as some of the last truly bipartisan efforts in the United States.

In the 1990’s – we began our work together to address inequality and finance development by addressing the global debt crisis. Working with governments around the world, together, we won two great debt relief and financing initiatives to address global poverty and promote children’s education and health: The Heavily Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC) and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). Because of these initiatives, over 115 billion US dollars was won in debt relief to benefit some of the world’s poorest countries.

Because of that debt relief, we know in sub-Saharan Africa that more than 54 million kids went to school who never would have seen the inside of a classroom. We know that school fees were cancelled, hospitals were opened, because of this historic initiative, because of this relief and the international accountability laws that we won, all of this money had to go into building social infrastructure. Former World Bank President Jim Kim cites debt relief as one of the main reasons we saw sustained economic growth in some countries across Africa.

It was out of these initiatives that concepts around achieving debt sustainability were born. 

Unfortunately, as successful and important as HIPC and MDRI were, we now realize that those solutions were not enough to entirely address the problem. Out of the 38 very poor countries that benefitted from the HIPC and MDRI initiatives, 31 – out of 38 – again face debt distress, financial crisis or unsustainable debts. At this point only Somalia is able to qualify for this existing process. Eventually two other countries may be able to utilize this process.

But for every other country in the world, this door is now closed.

While the door is now closed for almost every country in the world on this process, we acknowledge that it was only because of the political will of UN delegates and their finance, development and foreign ministries back home that this happened. In 2016 we saw that political will again in the United States under the Republican led US Congress when a super bankruptcy process was created to deal with Puerto Rico’s 72 billion US dollar debt crisis. It was the first act of the US Congress to stop predatory “vulture funds.” After Haiti’s tragic earthquake, we saw world leaders and the IMF create a process to relieve Haiti’s debt. Just a few years ago, we saw that political will again when the IMF moved forward a debt relief process and innovative grant process to respond to the three Ebola affected countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

We also see the US government and the G20 working to stop “vulture funds,” promote sustainable development and prevent financial crisis with the Operational Guidelines for Sustainable Development. Political will mobilized again to create new contract clauses to stop predatory “vulture funds.” 

Now we need that political will again, from all of us, to ensure that debt is a vehicle for sustainable development, not a hindrance to development and a cause of human suffering. We need to make debt sustainable and restructurings predictable to stop another global financial crisis.

While the problems are great, there are solutions we can move forward now.

In Addis Ababa in 2015 we gathered with heads of state, our finance ministers and foreign ministers and we forged a consensus. We forged a consensus more powerful and more important than the consensus we achieved for HIPC and MDRI.

We are halfway there – we have a consensus already. By comparison – the HIPC consensus took decades to achieve. But we already have a consensus. Now we must focus on implementation.

We’ve done it before, we can do it again.

In the Addis Ababa Action Agenda we agreed:

1.) We must implement principles of responsible lending and borrowing, promote good governance and public budget transparency. This implementation costs nothing but would raise hundreds of billions of dollars a year. It means exporting the laws we rely on for our domestic economies. Not implementing means corruption goes unchecked and the Mozambique crisis situation, which could have been prevented, is just the tip of the iceberg.

2.) We created the first international agreement to stop vulture funds. There is no way to separate the current economic condition of a G20 country, Argentina, and its battle with vulture funds.

3.) While the important work and efforts of Monterey foresaw the challenges of illicit financial flows, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda was the first to define them and call for tax evasion and corruption to be curbed as a matter of development. Additionally, curbing tax avoidance was also noted as essential for development and good governance. I would offer one of the gifts of the financing for development process was that we all learned together how startling all of our economic losses are because of illicit financial flows and also legal tax avoidance.

4.) In line with the types of debt restructuring and bankruptcy regimes we rely on in our domestic economies and the Doha and Monterey agreements, we agreed that debt restructuring must be improved to arbitrate debt comprehensively, fairly and neutrally. After the Asian financial in the late 1990s we came close to implementing the SDRM, or the Sovereign Debt Resolution Mechanism. We were so close, but it didn’t move forward. The next moment we saw global political will was after the global financial crisis of 2008. We have an agreement to move this forward – we will we wait until the next financial crisis to build political will again?

5.)  Finally – the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, took aim at debt risks of Small Island Development States (SIDS) and Caribbean countries. It is critical that we focus on this one area to help us leverage and grow political will.

With political will growing, we can tackle some of the debt problems of the SIDS. Across the world, many of these islands have poverty rates that range from 30 per cent to 50 per cent. These so-called Middle-Income Small Islands are now facing crisis. Of the 25 highest debt per capita countries, more than half are SIDS.

Unsustainable debts mean that these small islands don’t have resources to deal with the shock of a hurricane or a financial crisis that stops tourists from visiting their countries. When hurricanes decimated Caribbean islands in the last five years, we saw countries like Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda make debt payments within days of a hurricane ravaging their country. It is imperative to move forward proposals that can restructure debt when countries face shocks or natural disasters.

We see the success of proposals like this, when debt relief was successfully used as a crisis response tool for the three African countries hit by the Ebola epidemic.

When disaster strikes, when famine spreads and when economic crisis impacts the poor, we need to be able to reevaluate these situations. In line with our previous thoughts on improving debt restructuring and looking at Chapter 9 and 11 styles of bankruptcy – it seems the Caribbean and SIDS could be good candidates for a regional or focused initiative. This post HIPC initiative, could be an initiative with the high debt distress many Caribbean countries and SIDS are experiencing. It can utilize the principles of bankruptcy for a regional or focused mechanism. When a disaster strikes, a debt moratorium would allow breathing space and debt payments to be used for rebuilding. This would also be a time to reevaluate debt sustainability and possibly trigger a bankruptcy restructuring process.

We’ve done it before, we can do it again. We will do it again.

For small islands, on a smaller scale, we can test solutions that can build resilient, sustainable communities, address inequality and lift the vulnerable. Starting here, we can build more political will to finally resolve debt crisis, stop global financial crises and curb illicit financial flows.

We’ve done it before. We will do it again.

 

Read more here

Read More

Victory! President Signs Somalia Debt Relief and...

Friends, 

We are so excited to share that we won the first phase of debt relief for Somalia. Last night, President Trump signed our debt relief legislation into law.

Also, thanks to our efforts together, the International Monetary Fund just agreed to a plan that will relieve their share of Somalia's debt. Over the next weeks and months, we still have a lot of work to do to move Congress, the White House and the IMF further, but now the debt relief process can begin.

Relieving Somalia's debt means building new roads, women's empowerment, kids going back to school and ending the tragic reality that 73% of people in Somalia live in extreme poverty.

So we can continue this work into 2020, please make a donation now to support our efforts on Somalia, Puerto Rico, new trade deals, corruption and financial secrecy. Now your tax-deductible gift to Jubilee USA Network is matched and doubled.

Beyond winning debt relief for Somalia, these last few weeks for Jubilee USA is full of victories:

  • Congress passed and the President just signed, nearly $6 billion in healthcare aid for Puerto Rico

  • Our interfaith, bipartisan NAFTA, US Mexico Canada campaign won all of our goals. We stopped predatory "vulture" funds from using trade deals to collect on old bad debts. We ensured that most abusive corporations can't exploit trade deals to take advantage of poor people or local laws. We removed the language that would keep medicines and drugs unaffordable for vulnerable communities and all of us

  • We won support from the White House and passed our Jubilee Corporate Transparency Act in the House of Representatives. Once we pass it in the Senate, this legislation helps stops human traffickers, protects debt relief and development aid and raises revenue in the developing world

Your gift now supports vital and strategic campaigns that tackle the root cause of poverty and inequality. Whether your gift is $10, $100, $1000 or any amount - your tax-deductible donation is doubled and really matters.

We are so grateful for your partnership,

Eric


Read More

President Trump Authorizes Somalia Debt Relief

IMF Approves Somalia Debt Plan

Washington DC - President Trump signed a year-end spending bill which authorizes the first phase of debt relief for Somalia. Earlier in the week Congress passed the spending package which included $35 million to begin paying the principle of $1.1 billion in US held Somalia debt.

"Relieving Somalia's debt could mean building new roads, women's empowerment, kids going back to school and moving forward measures to end extreme poverty," stated Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. Jubilee USA worked on debt relief for Somalia for the last two years.

On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund announced it is organizing the cancellation of its share of Somalia debt which stands at around $140 million.

"We are seeing good progress from the United States Government and the IMF on Somalia debt relief," noted LeCompte who serves on United Nations debt expert groups. "Almost three-quarters of the Somalia population lives in extreme poverty and debt relief is desperately needed."

Somalia owes about $4.6 billion in debt. The United States is the largest creditor holding $1.1 billion in Somalia debt. The majority of the remainder of the debt is held by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, France and Italy.

Read More