Jubilee USA Statement on IMF World Economic Outlook Report

As world leaders arrive in Washington, DC for the Spring IMF and World Bank Meetings, the IMF releases its flagship World Economic Outlook report. 

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations finance expert who monitored IMF meetings since 2010, releases the following statement on the IMF Meetings and World Economic Outlook Report:

“Five years after the pandemic began, the IMF forecasts weak global growth for the next five years.

"In addition to the suffering caused by wars and conflicts, it is more difficult to have accurate economic outlook predictions.

“High debt levels across developing countries and the lack of debt relief means we can't achieve a strong global economy."

Read the full World Economic Outlook Report here.

Read Jubilee USA's press release on IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva's curtain raiser speech here

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Invites for Jubilee, IMF Events

On behalf of Jubilee USA Network, we'd like to invite you to join us for these special upcoming events:


April 17, 2024 | 2:00 - 3:30 pm ET 

The Future of Special Drawing Rights as a Development Finance Tool: What's Next?

SDRs were conceived as an instrument of monetary policy during the gold-dollar standard era, and quickly faded into irrelevance. The latest issuance in 2021 reinstated SDRs as a powerful instrument, its widespread use by low- and middle-income countries reflects its effectiveness in generating fiscal space, as a mechanism to provide unconditional support to Southern countries without increasing debt in a context of poly-crisis. However, as these crises continue to hit, the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement is jeopardized. We will debate the merits and caveats of future SDR allocations, their use for development and climate finance, and reforms to the SDR system. 

La Red Latinoamericana por Justicia Económica y Social (LATINDADD)'s Global Advocacy Director Patricia Miranda moderates a panel with Andrés Arauz, Former Minister, Central Bank Official of Ecuador and Senior Research Fellow at CEPRNiranjali Amerasinghe, Executive Director, ActionAid-USA; Didier Jacobs, Debt Relief Advocacy Lead, Oxfam; Carlo Sdralevich, IMF Assistant Director and Division Chief, IMF General Resources and SDR division in Finance Department.

Sponsors: Oxfam; MENA Fem Movement for Economic, Development and Ecological Justice; La Red Latinoamericana por Justicia Económica y Social (LATINDADD); Recourse; Partners in Health; ActionAid - USA; Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR); Jubilee USA Network; and Bretton Woods Project.

Location: HQ2-03B-768B

Registration to the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings will be required to access the premises. No registration is needed to access the Zoom livestream, available at: https://imf.zoom.us/j/97986887262?pwd=VmthNjhBazVMZU1yVnlZUWQ5MkNHZz09&utm_medium=email&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9iCIg6SACnjxtvVDDDaycT6Zto-K1_xtLc0xsOXlr2DbDfI6BkWMB2QJPH861OG3VcfMJKp4axrPv23m0i9mBxomfp0Q&_hsmi=85569181&utm_content=85569181&utm_source=hs_email#success


April 18, 2024 | 11:15 - 12:45 pm ET 

Governance Reform Through Transparency - The Role of Civil Society in Combatting Corruption

Many developing countries have established anti-corruption commissions to reduce corruption. However, despite decades of reform efforts and hundreds of millions invested, there is little evidence of a corresponding decrease. This top-down approach often undermines collaborative efforts between governments and civil societies to jointly fight corruption. Panelists will discuss how civil society organizations can be reliable partners in fighting corruption that will enhance effectiveness of national anti-corruption programs. Participants will also discuss innovative and effective bottom-up anti-corruption strategies that foster community engagement and community leadership in the fight against corruption.

Africa Faith and Justice Network's Executive Director Steven Nabieu Rogers (PHD) moderates a panel with Ntal Alimasi, Specialist, Capacity Development and Governance and Anticorruption, The Africa House; Mary Awelana Addah, Executive Director, Ghana Integrity Initiative; Ibrahim Tommy, Executive Director, Center for Accountability and Rule of Law; Ntama Bahati, Policy Analyst, Africa Faith and Justice Network. 

Sponsors: Africa Faith & Justice Network; Ghana Integrity Initiative; Center for Accountability and Rule of Law; and Jubilee USA Network

Location: I Building-2-220

Registration to the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings will be required to access the premises. Visit AMWeb to view the full schedule of World Bank and IMF events. Click on the “View Event” link from the schedule and then (if prompted) log into the viewing platform with your login credentials.


April 19, 2024 | 11:30 - 1:00 pm ET 

Moving Beyond Current Debt and Development Crisis: Solutions for Genuine Debt Sustainability

The debt crisis is a reality in too many countries. High interest rates and debt service payments are squeezing Global South countries' fiscal space and jeopardizing their ability to invest in climate and development. To get solutions right it is key to restore debt sustainability in a way it also ensures governments capacity to guarantee human rights, gender equality and climate action, but also to look at the crisis from a structural perspective. The panel will explore how to effectively solve this debt crisis considering it is as well a development crisis.

Eurodad's Policy and Advocacy Manager Iolanda Fresnillo moderates a panel with Samantha Kanoyangwa, Coordinator, African Sovereign Debt Justice Network (AfSDJN); Jason Rosario Braganza, Executive Director, African Forum and Network on Debt and Development – AFRODAD; Marina Zucker-Marques, Senior Academic Researcher, Debt Relief for a Green and Inclusive RecoveryMark Flanagan, Deputy Director, Strategy Policy and Review Department, International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Sponsors: African Forum and Network on Debt and Development – AFRODAD; African Sovereign Debt Justice Network (AfSDJN); Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND); ActionAid International; The Asian Peoples' Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD); Jubilee USA Network; Bretton Woods Project; The Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR); Debt Justice Norway; Debt Relief for a Green and Inclusive Recovery (DRGR) Project; Development Finance International; Erlassjahr; European Network on Debt and Development – Eurodad; Global Policy Forum; Institute for Economic Justice; SEATINI Uganda; La Red Latinoamericana por Justicia Económica y Social (LATINDADD); The Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER); and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). 

Location: HQ2-03B-768B Lecture Room

Registration to the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings will be required to access the premises. No registration is needed to access the Zoom livestream, available at: https://imf.zoom.us/j/94507495058?pwd=THQxbHZ2N244L2dPS25PdWtIUFBmQT09#success

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IMF Chief Warns of Debt Payments in Low-Income Countries Ahead of IMF, World Bank and G20 Meetings

Global Economic Losses Since Dawn of Pandemic Hit $3.3 Trillion

Since 2020, the global economy lost $3.3 trillion. The loss affected the most vulnerable countries hardest noted International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva. Delivering her curtain raiser speech ahead of the IMF, World Bank and G20 Spring meetings, she stated debt remains at high levels in most countries, with the poorest countries spending more than 14% of their budgets on debt payments.

"Debt continues to be one of the primary concerns for developing countries," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network. "Georgieva points out that debt will continue to be a stumbling block for too many countries."

Debts had increased for more than a decade and the necessary spending to protect lives and jobs during the pandemic added to the trend according to Georgieva.

"The poorest countries saw the biggest losses from the pandemic," remarked LeCompte. "While some countries are recovering, many developing countries are still worse off than they were before the pandemic."

According to the IMF head, interest rate hikes are pushing up higher debt servicing costs.

"It is time to cut interest rates," shared LeCompte. "Interest rates are making debts soar for poor countries and pricing food and fuel out of reach for too many of us."

The curtain raiser speech calls for budget cuts as one of the tools to stabilize debt. However, a year ago the IMF flagship World Economic Outlook found that spending reductions had little effect on reducing debt, while debt restructurings had achieved debt reductions of 8 percentage points in the medium term.

“There are a number of countries where debt relief is the best option to quickly restart their economies and build economic growth,” shared LeCompte.  

Watch the curtain-raiser speech here.

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Financial Times Features Aldo Caliari's Letter On the Sovereign Debt Stability Act

The Financial Times features Aldo Caliari's letter in response to Leland Goss' letter "Flaws in New York State’s well-intended debt plan." Read an excerpt below, or the full article here.

Letter: No surprise unions back New York State’s debt plan

By Aldo Caliari

Leland Goss (“Flaws in New York State’s well-intended debt plan”, Letters, March 13) mischaracterises important aspects of the proposed New York State legislation.

The reference to “equitable burden-sharing” is part of a definition that actually, read in full, simply refers to the rules set by international debt relief initiatives. The bill does not create any new standard, but incorporates what is state of the art in the international community’s approach to resolving debt crises, and is crafted to dynamically capture its expected evolution. This includes any shaping of the standards to emerge from the G20-led Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable, and other attempts at building consensus among creditors and sovereign borrowers.

The protection the bill provides to debtors faced with a lawsuit will disincentivise rather than lead to more litigation, thus encourage engagement of all private creditors in negotiations.


Read more here.

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Reuters and Yahoo Finance Quote Eric LeCompte on U.S. Funding to the IMF’s PRGT

Reuters and Yahoo Finance quote Eric LeCompte on the benefit of the U.S. loaning $21 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT). Read an excerpt below or the full article here.

Treasury's Yellen says funding bill allows lending of $21 bln to IMF trust

Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network, welcomed the U.S. funding for the PRGT, noting the trust had a history of bipartisan support.

"Increasing resources for efficient programs like this can lift people out of poverty in developing countries," he said.

No comment was immediately available from the IMF.

Read more here.
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Financial Times Quotes Eric LeCompte on the Sovereign Debt Stability Act

The Financial Times quotes Eric LeCompte on the benefits of the Sovereign Debt Stability Act (S5542/A2970) and the costs of its absence. Read an excerpt below, or the full article here.

New York moves to rewrite law on sovereign debt default recovery

By Kate Duguid and Joseph Cotterill

"This gives countries an option in how they want to exit debt crises," said Eric LeCompte, the head of Jubilee USA, a non-profit that campaigns for debt relief for poor countries. 

"We don't want our tax dollars bailing out the private sector. We also want to prevent behavior among creditors that's harmful. And we want to promote and protect legitimate creditors," said LeCompte.

But critics said regardless of intention, the new bill would in practice raise borrowing costs for the neediest countries. With more uncertainty and less recovery possible, creditors would charge riskier countries far higher premiums on debt.


Read more here.

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Eric LeCompte Quoted in Bloomberg on the Sovereign Debt Stability Act

Bloomberg quotes Eric LeCompte on the Sovereign Debt Stability Act (S5542/A2970) and the necessity for this merged legislation. Read an excerpt below or the full article here.

New York Politicians Renew Push to Solve Sovereign Debt Crises

By Zijia Song and Nicolle Yapur

“The merged legislation is critical as it gives countries options to get out of debt crisis and restructure debts back to profitability for investors,” said Eric LeCompte, executive director at Jubilee USA Network, a nonprofit group that advocates for debt relief for smaller economies.

On Wall Street, though, the amended bill stands to cause further angst. Major investors including Pacific Investment Management Co. and Fidelity Investments last year pushed back against similar efforts, warning that new rules could result in higher borrowing costs for emerging-market governments — and potentially cripple the sovereign bond market.

Such “top-down, unilateral” solutions to sovereign debt restructuring often stoke uncertainty in markets, resulting in high borrowing costs for vulnerable economies, said Sonja Gibbs, managing director and head of sustainable finance at the Institute of International Finance.


Read more here.

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SECAM Statement to the 56th Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development

The Justice, Peace and Development Commission of the Catholic Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) issued a statement calling for effective debt relief, a significant increase in the flow of resources for development and strengthened governance frameworks as the 56th Conference of African Ministers Meetings commence in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. 

Read the statement here.

Read the press release on the statement here.

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Brazil Chairs G20 and Vows to Address Poverty, Hunger and Climate Change as Finance Ministers Gather in São Paulo

The Brazilian Presidency of the G20 hosts finance ministers for their first G20 meeting this year. Brazil’s vow to make the reduction of poverty and hunger priorities this year takes place amidst the world’s worst growth projections in the last three decades, spreading armed conflicts and rising debt payments.

“Debt payments in developing countries are equal to what many of these countries spend on health, education, social programs and climate issues combined” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network. “Giving developing countries effective tools to cut their debt is essential for progress on any of the priorities the G20 sets for this year.”

The World Bank forecasts that debt payments will rise 10% in 2023-2024 compared to the previous two years. A G20 debt reduction initiative began in 2020, the Common Framework, has only attracted four applicants, three of which remain stuck without an exit to their debt crises.

Brazil continues the G20 efforts to increase the capacity and to reform development banks.

“The G20 needs to track how development banks meet new challenges and growing demands,” noted LeCompte.

Brazil also announced plans to advance the group’s cooperation on halting climate change and aligning financial actions with the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement.

“The G20 can build consensus on meeting the climate funding goals that the UN climate conference needs to finalize by the end of this year," shared LeCompte.

This year’s UN climate conference, COP29, is the deadline for agreeing on a new climate finance goal starting in 2025. G20 leaders agreed last year that $100 billion a year is the floor for any new climate finance commitments.

“We worry that too many of the increased climate resources may come in the form of loans that add to high debt burdens.”

In last year's October G20 gathering the group avoided commenting on the conflict in Israel and Gaza.

"There are strong tensions among G20 leaders around the conflicts and humanitarian crises taking place in Ukraine and Gaza and Israel."

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Reuters and Yahoo Finance Quote Eric LeCompte on the Developing Country Debt Crisis

Reuters and Yahoo News quote Eric LeCompte on the Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable. Read an excerpt below, or the full article here.

Focus on timelines, predictability at next sovereign debt roundtable, IMF chief says

By Andrea Shalal

Eric LeCompte, executive director of the Jubilee USA Network, a coalition of religious, development and advocacy groups, said the roundtable needed to deal with key issues such as the failure of private creditors to negotiate debt deals with countries.

"We remain concerned that we are still not solving the debt crises. The slower we see progress, the more difficult it will be to resolve these crises," he said. "The roundtable must urgently define comparable treatment so the public sector stops bailing out the private sector."

Georgieva said she was encouraged that some countries tapping capital markets were finding better conditions, citing the examples of Ivory Coast and Benin.

Read more here
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IMF Says Historic Low Growth and Sluggish Economy Will Continue

Debt and War Present Major Global Economic Challenges According to IMF

The IMF forecast 3.1% global growth in 2024, a fifth of a point increase on its October projection. According to the IMF, the new forecast is still below the 3.8% growth average during the two pre-pandemic decades. The report noted risks to trade routes as a result of war and that the Israel and Gaza conflict spreads and sends food and fuel costs to new highs.

“Most countries are facing economic challenges while their debt payments are too high,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network. "When countries need resources and interest rates on loans are high, we have a recipe for more crises."

Developing countries spend 13% of their budgets repaying debt, more than double the figure 15 years ago, and debt problems prevent necessary investments, according to the IMF. High rates moved by major central banks, in attempts to contain inflation, fuel a higher cost of borrowing for these countries.

“While developing countries are still dealing with challenges from the pandemic, slow growth and high debts are bad news,” added LeCompte. “Developing countries need debt relief and more resources to confront continuing economic shocks."

Earlier this month, the World Bank found that 40% of the low-income countries are poorer than before the pandemic. Developing country debt payments were at the highest level ever in 2022 and expected to continue to grow.

Read the IMF's World Economic Outlook Update here.

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