PDF version available here
PDF version available here
Washington DC - IMF Head Kristalina Georgieva foreshadowed next week's Spring IMF and World Bank Meetings with her annual "curtain raiser" speech.
"Georgieva's speech acknowledges that we are now facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
"We're impressed by much of the forward thinking of the IMF. We need to deal with the health and economic crisis now and start to think about recovery.
"I agree with the Fund that we need to expand debt relief and poor countries should stop making debt payments. However, the IMF thinking on the amount of debt relief needed is not enough. We need at least hundreds of billions of debt relief measures, not billions."
Read Kristalina Georgieva's "Curtain Raiser" Speech here
Read Jubilee USA's March 23rd letter to IMF on a health and economic COVID-19 plan here
Read Jubilee USA's April 1st letter to the IMF on reserve gold funds here
Click here to watch.
The National Catholic Reporter featured Eric LeCompte's take on the future of the Catholic church's social mission. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.
A more resilient world
Eric LeCompte is the executive director of Jubilee USA, an alliance of U.S. organizations and faith communities that advocates for fair debt arbitration and debt relief.
Under a strict coronavirus quarantine and curfew across Puerto Rico, the 3.5 million residents of the Caribbean island continue to experience earthquakes and struggle to recover from 2017 hurricanes. A debt crisis had already shuttered schools and health services in the U.S. territory, where almost 60% of kids live in poverty.
Increasing services for the poor and sick as the coronavirus spreads is Caritas Catholic Charities Puerto Rico. Caritas' parish-based groups and their coordinator, Fr. Enrique "Kike" Camacho, and his team find people that need help. Then, Caritas parish-based groups across the island are deployed, risking their lives every day to bring food and medicine to those in need in barrios, under bridges and in public squares.
As the global coronavirus takes lives and wreaks havoc on our economy, the church and the faithful are on the front lines. Offering up their lives to save us across our planet are Catholic sisters and nuns and the incredible health institutions they founded. Catholic Charities, Caritas and Catholic Relief Services are expanding their services to the vulnerable at this moment. Diocesan soup kitchens and Catholic Worker Houses, while being more flexible in how they deliver food, are quickening their pace to get the food to the people who need it most.
The Holy Father proclaims that lives, in this tragic moment, must not be sacrificed for economic growth — that if we prioritize wealth for a few, we will witness a "viral genocide."
The sad truth about this crisis is that if the social teaching of the U.S. bishops' conference and the Holy See had been heeded by world leaders, both our economic and healthcare systems would have been better prepared for the pandemic.
When asked what this plague means for the social mission of our church, the response is that in times of crisis the social mission of our church becomes more vibrant, more vital and most true to the call of the Gospel.
As the International Monetary Fund said March 28, we are in a recession and we risk a financial crisis graver than the Great Depression. It will be the social mission of the church that illuminates a path towards a more resilient post-pandemic world.
Read more here
Click Lancashire cited Eric LeCompte on the IMF's coronavirus response. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.
"We believe the Fund should take additional, deeper actions to expand debt relief, aid to the poorest countries in the world as well as offer greater relief to the so-called Middle Income Countries", wrote Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte in a letter to the head of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva.
Read more here.
The Catholic News Service featured Jubilee USA's work on moving debt relief for poor countries as a response to COVID-19 and the global recession as part of an article on Cardinal Tagle's call for debt relief. Crux, Catholic San Francisco and thousands of other news outlets included Eric's comments in their stories. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.
Eric LeCompte, executive director of the Jubilee USA Network, a multireligious group that advocates for foreign debt relief for the world’s poorest countries, told Catholic News Service the network is urging the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and wealthy countries “to suspend debt payments for poor countries so they can bolster healthcare; offer a process for debt to be eliminated for developing countries; make it easier for all countries to restructure their debt; and provide aid and financing to all countries so they can survive the growing health and economic crisis.”
The world’s poorest countries “need total relief now so they can bolster health care and survive the economic crisis” that is being created by the coronavirus pandemic and will “likely be the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression,” he said.
LeCompte urged Catholics to lobby their governments “to ensure there are stimulus packages that protect the most vulnerable and ensure that workers continue to get paychecks” and to “support Catholic Charities, Caritas and Catholic Relief Services as they are the first line of defense as the economic crisis worsens.”
Read more here.
Washington, DC - As the International Monetary Fund, G20 and world leaders consider urgent actions to confront the economic impacts of the coronavirus, a development group says IMF money is available to prevent crisis and support healthcare.
"We believe the Fund should take additional, deeper actions to expand debt relief, aid to the poorest countries in the world as well as offer greater relief to the so-called Middle Income Countries," wrote Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte in a letter to the head of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva. "This is possible if the fund were to access the $140 billion we believe to be held in the IMF's gold sales reserve. These monies should be utilized to expand debt relief for the 76 poorest countries and other developing countries."
In a review of the latest IMF financial statements and calculating the current market value of the Fund's gold reserves, Jubilee USA estimates $140 billion is available in a "rainy day" fund.
"We are bracing for what could be the worst economic storm in our lifetimes and the time to use IMF gold reserves is now," stated LeCompte a United Nations finance expert who monitored IMF policies for the last decade. "We've used these funds before for Haiti after it was devastated by an earthquake and to get emergency aid to countries hit with the Ebola epidemic. Now is the time to use these funds again."
April 1, 2020
The International Monetary Fund
700 19th St NW,
Washington, DC 20431
"And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” --- Luke 3:10-11
Managing Director Georgieva,
Since Jubilee USA leadership wrote you on March 23rd, we are pleased to see some critical Fund responses to protect the vulnerable and all of us from financial crisis in the face of the coronavirus.
We welcome the following actions:
The above actions are positive steps and we are grateful for your leadership in moving forward these vital actions.
We believe the Fund should take additional, deeper actions to expand debt relief, aid to the poorest countries in the world as well as offer greater relief to the so-called Middle Income Countries.
This is possible if the fund were to access the $140 billion we believe to be held in the IMF's gold sales reserve. These monies should be utilized to expand debt relief for the 76 poorest countries and other developing countries.
If our calculations are correct, based on the latest IMF financial statements available from 2019 and calculating the current price of gold, we believe the fund has about $140 billion in a "rainy day” fund. We are witnessing a growing storm, perhaps the worst economic hurricane we will ever see in our lifetimes. The time to utilize and access these monies is now.
In our work together, we've accessed these monies before. In 2010 when Haiti was devastated by an earthquake and in 2014 when Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia fell prey to the Ebola epidemic, these funds were creatively used to cancel debt and provide emergency aid.
While the expansion of the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust is an incredible step, due to the limited funds in the account, 29 countries may be eligible for partial debt relief and aid. The funds available in the SDA gold sales reserve could provide full cancellation and additional aid for many countries facing great need.
Further, we invite the IMF and World Bank to also suspend debt payments for poor and developing countries.
We again point to our letter of March 23rd and the analysis and four point plan that we detailed to lift the vulnerable and prevent a global financial crisis. Generally, that letter encourages urgent action along these points:
Managing Director Georgieva, we know that we are likely confronting the worst economic and health crisis in our lifetimes and we look forward to continue working with you to take bold, urgent and needed actions for our survival.
Full letter PDF here
Washington DC - A United Nations agency that predicted the 2008 financial crisis is calling for $1 trillion in debt relief for developing countries to battle the economic impacts of the coronavirus.
"We are in a recession and likely facing the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression," stated Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. "Massive debt relief and aid is needed as developing countries attempt to withstand the economic shocks caused by the coronavirus."
A report released from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development says debt payments should be suspended and ultimately eliminated for developing countries. The report further urged more than a trillion additional dollars be made available to support these countries struggling to withstand financial crises caused by the virus. Last week the International Monetary Fund and World Bank called on the G20 to suspend debt payments for the world's 76 poorest countries.
On Monday, Vatican official, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle called for a "Jubilee" and for wealthy countries to relieve the debt of poor countries. On Sunday, Pope Francis warned that a "viral genocide" would take place if world leaders prioritized economic growth over the health of people.
"We can only get through this crisis if countries around the world have the ability to do similar stimulus packages that the United States and European countries are doing," stated LeCompte whose organization detailed a plan for the IMF on surviving a global financial crisis spurred by the coronavirus. "Debt relief, aid and financial crisis protections must urgently move forward so we can live through this pandemic."
Read the United Nations Conference on Trade Development Report here
Read Jubilee USA's Letter to the IMF on COVID-19 here
The Associated Press quoted Eric LeCompte on the IMF Director Kristalina Georgieva's global recession remarks. Fox News, The New York Times, US News and World Report and tens of thousands of other news outlets included Eric's comments in their stories around the world. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.
I pray that you and your loved ones are well.
Thanks to your partnership, we have the chance to fully win campaigns we've worked on for nearly 25 years. While our strategic efforts make significant gains every year - we are in a moment where world leaders are seriously reviewing our proposals to stop financial crisis, protect the vulnerable and address extreme poverty.
After weeks of meetings and strategic planning, on Monday morning Jubilee USA's leadership sent a letter to the head of the IMF detailing a plan to bolster healthcare for the world's poorest people and protect all of us from a financial crisis. Our multi-year advocacy and strategic high-profile efforts achieved a lot this week. In a time that is so challenging, we're grateful to be heartened by so many victories.
Your contributions now also help us work with and push Congress, the G7, G20, IMF, World Bank and the White House as we expand financial crisis and debt crisis resolution tools in the United States and at the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund. While we’ve made much progress since the 2008 financial crisis, now world leaders are looking more closely at full implementation of many of our proposals.
As our coronavirus campaigns move forward, Jubilee USA continues our campaigns to end extreme poverty and address inequality. In early February, we met with Pope Francis, the head of the IMF and a dozen finance ministers to move forward our campaigns on debt, tax, trade, corruption, transparency, climate and disaster aid. During our day together, we were concerned how shocks like the coronavirus can disrupt both wealthy and poor economies. When Pope Francis addressed our small group, he endorsed all of our campaign efforts.
We are sharing some good news amidst these trying times.
Together - we just won three of our campaigns in the last 48 hours! And since we launched our coronavirus campaigns, we see mind-blowing progress every day.
Almost everyday this week we saw the IMF and world leaders endorse parts of our Covid-19 plans to lift the vulnerable and protect all of us from financial crisis. After weeks of preparation and engagement, Jubilee USA's leadership sent a three page letter outlining a detailed global coronavirus plan to bolster healthcare in the developing world by canceling debt and delivering aid, mobilize additional resources to help all countries prevent financial crisis, use debt moratoriums and better debt restructuring to help countries in distress and raise revenues by curbing corruption, tax evasion and risky market behavior. By Tuesday, you were signing our action alert and sending additional messages to the IMF. While we are winning - we still have more goals we need to move forward right away in our coronavirus fight - so if you haven't signed our petition to the IMF, please sign it now. African Finance Ministers were demanding to stop paying debt to free up $44 billion to fight the virus and Ecuador's congress was raising the alarm on debt payments.
On Wednesday the IMF and World Bank were repeating our calls to the G20 and wealthy countries to stop collecting debt payments because of the coronavirus emergency. The IMF and World Bank wanted debt payments suspended for the world's 76 poorest countries. More than 65% of those who live in extreme poverty call these 76 countries home. In the midst of this, Somalia's debt relief plan was made official. Then on Thursday, President Trump and the G20 had a virtual meeting and discussed parts of our emergency Jubilee USA Covid-19 plan.
Just hours ago, the IMF leadership announced more good results from our campaigning. In a statement that was magnified in a press conference from IMF head Kristalina Georgieva, the Fund agreed to debt relief for poor countries and committed to doubling lending resources as 80 countries are requesting emergency financing.
Eric LeCompte's reactions to today's IMF press conference are featured in thousands of newspapers around the world today - read our views in the New York Times and Associated Press.
The Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust is our debt relief mechanism that can offer debt relief and healthcare grants for poor countries. The mechanism was last used to relieve debt and deliver healthcare grants to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea during the 2014 Ebola epidemic. In 2014, Jubilee USA and our Executive Director, worked with the White House, US Treasury, IMF and G20 to create the Ebola debt relief mechanism. Now that mechanism is being used for the poorest countries as they fight the coronavirus.
Our coronavirus campaigns are just getting going to lift the vulnerable and protect all of us from financial crisis. If you signed our petition, please share it with your friends, family and community.
Donations to support our coronavirus campaigns are doubled now and urgently needed so we can continue this work. Whether you make a gift of $5 or $500, your contribution is tax-deductible and needed and goes directly to supporting our coronavirus work.
We are so grateful to work on these critical efforts with you.
P.s. In days, we'll release our Jubilee USA coronavirus action report. Please be on the look out for it and please consider a tax-deductible gift that will be doubled so we spread and promote our findings.