AFL-CIO/Jubilee Ukraine Pandemic Barron's Commentary

Eric LeCompte and Cathy Feingold, the Deputy President of the ITUC and International Director of the AFL-CIO, writing for Barron's call for global economic policies in response to the Ukraine war and the health and economic crises severely impacting most of the world due to the pandemic. . Read the full article here.

A Resilient Global Economy Is Within Reach

By Eric LeCompte and Cathy Feingold

War rages in Ukraine and a global crisis looms. Gas prices rise and around the world, wheat, corn and fertilizer prices skyrocket. The International Monetary Fund says the global economy will slow, contributing to food shortages in developing countries. Russia’s war on Ukraine combined with Covid-19 made a terrible global situation worse. There are economic policies that Republican and Democratic leaders can find common ground with the Biden administration to make the U.S. and global economy more resilient in the face of these threats.

Before the war, the pandemic revealed the catastrophic consequences of persistent global poverty and inequality for everyone—not just the poor. In response, U.S. economic strategy must focus on transparency, democracy, and what Pope Francis calls “a preferential option for the poor.”

The Ukraine crisis shows what a difference U.S. leadership makes. As the world suffers impacts from the war and pandemic, our country can and must be the respected neighbor whom others look to in a crisis. We can bring other countries together to help ensure our global future is peaceful, prosperous and democratic. Covid shows that public health is global—when some of us are vulnerable to the disease, we all are. The same is true of economic prosperity. With supply and economic shocks, U.S. prosperity depends on global prosperity.

 

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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.

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AP, US News, Fox and NYT Quotes Eric LeCompte

AP, US News, Fox and NYT Quotes Eric LeCompte. Read the full article here.

Rising Interest Rates in US Will Hinder Foreign Economies

By Paul Wiseman 

WASHINGTON (AP) — When the Federal Reserve raises interest rates — as it did Wednesday — the impact doesn’t stop with U.S. homebuyers paying more for mortgages or Main Street business owners facing costlier bank loans.

The fallout can be felt beyond America’s borders, hitting shopkeepers in Sri Lanka, farmers in Mozambique and families in poorer countries around the world. The impacts abroad range from higher borrowing costs to depreciating currencies.

“It will put pressure on all types of developing countries,” said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the Jubilee USA Network, a coalition of groups seeking to reduce global poverty.

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Eric LeCompte is Quoted in This Day Live

Eric LeCompte is Quoted in This Day Live. Read the full article here.

African Bishops Urge Global Finance Leaders to End Isolation of Poor

By Ndubuisi Francis

African bishops under the aegis of Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) have called on global financial institutions meeting in Washington DC, United States of America to, “help shape an economy that better protects the dignity and basic human rights of our sisters and brothers all around the world.”

The bishops also called on the finance ministers and other leaders to implement viable wide-ranging plans to help Africa emerge from its economic crisis as well as to resume progress toward meeting the current list of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris climate agreement, and the African Agenda 2063 plan for economic and human development.

The executive director of Jubilee USA, an alliance of faith-based development and debt relief advocacy organisations working with SECAM, Eric LeCompte said the bishops felt it was time for the large global financial system to address the needs of Africa more fully.

“It became clear during the pandemic that Africa would see some of the most severe job losses and the most significant increases in extreme poverty and yet be left out of a lot of the response.

“This was a significant concern of the bishops in Africa,”LeCompte told Catholic News Service.

He added; “We wanted to work together more closely in global advocacy that looked at all the changes that are needed and all of the solutions that are needed to address this kind of problem. And also really lift the voice of those affected in Africa.”

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Katholiek Nieuwsblad Quotes Eric LeCompte on African Bishop Statement

Katholiek Nieuwsblad Quotes Eric LeCompte on African Bishop Statement. Read the full article here.

African bishops want more international support for the poor

KN Editorial

African bishops want finance ministers worldwide to take measures to end the isolation of poor and vulnerable people. They issued an appeal this week in the run-up to the meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

During the meetings to be held on April 22 and 23, the IMF and the World Bank will discuss the issues after the global corona pandemic. Many countries are experiencing high inflation as a result of the pandemic. They also have to deal with the consequences of the extensive economic sanctions against Russia in response to the war in Ukraine.

Eric LeCompte, director of a US alliance of religious NGOs working with SECAM, said the bishops believe it is time to better serve Africa's needs.

During the pandemic, Africa faced severe job losses and it became clear that extreme poverty would increase significantly, he said. But nothing happened.

"This is a major concern of bishops in Africa," he added in an interview with CNS news agency. “We want to work more closely together in global advocacy, looking at all the changes and all the solutions needed to tackle these kinds of issues.” They also want to give those affected in Africa a voice.

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Crux Quotes Eric LeCompte on African Bishop Statement

Crux Quotes Eric LeCompte on African Bishop Statement. Read the full article here

African bishops call for world leaders to reject ‘unequal and unsustainable’ economic model

By John Lavenburg

NEW YORK – As world finance leaders meet this week in Washington, D.C., African bishops are calling for a “viable” plan for the continent to emerge from the current economic and health crisis with “resilience,” and for decisions that promote an economically just society.

“As we work for recovery, we are not doing so in order to return to an unequal and unsustainable model of economic and social life, where a tiny minority of the world’s population owns half of its wealth as millions live below the poverty line,” said an April 20 statement from the Justice, Peace and Development Commission of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM).

Emerging markets and developing economies will bear the brunt of the forecasted challenges. However, Eric LeCompte, executive director for Jubilee USA Network, told Crux that the reports are actually “really bad news for all of the countries of the world.”

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Development Group says IMF Meetings Failed on Critical Decisions

Ukraine War Derails Release of IMF and G20 Communiques

Washington DC  World leaders attending the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings failed to agree on communiques usually issues during these meetings. On Wednesday, G20 finance ministers failed to release a communiqué over Ukraine wording. On Thursday, the International Monetary and Financial Committee failed to release their communiqué and as of the writing of this article, the Development Committee did not release their customary Friday communiqué.

The war in Ukraine loomed large at the meetings, as the Fund forecast it will cut almost an entire percentage point to global economic growth this year. Talks addressed COVID response and recovery, food prices, inflation, debt crises and climate.

“Before the shocks from the Ukraine war, developing countries faced a series of crises,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. “Another casualty of the war is that world leaders can’t fully focus on pandemic response, inflation, climate change and rising poverty rates.”

The shock threatens a fragile pandemic recovery, with more than 100 countries not on track to vaccinate 70% of their people. Rising food and fuel price inflation will add to the 100 million people that fell into poverty since the pandemic.

“Developing countries now have little room to protect their most vulnerable from rising food prices,” added LeCompte. "The pandemic and the Ukraine war are making food, fuel and fertilizer inaccessible to many developing countries."

In the face of war impacts and rising interest rates, a growing number of countries face debt defaults. Three countries applied to the G20 debt reduction process set up in late 2020, and none of them has received relief.

“The discussion on debt remains perhaps the most difficult in the G20,” shared LeCompte. “The IMF and World Bank leadership put forward valuable and practical proposals to move forward debt relief, but no decisions were made on the proposals.”

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva announced that twelve countries made pledges worth $40 billion in their share of emergency currency funds or Special Drawing Rights – to help developing countries. The Resilience and Sustainability Trust, approved by the IMF last week, will administer the contributions and disbursements to developing countries.

“The IMF trust is an example of how wealthy countries can aid developing countries in pandemic prevention and dealing with the impacts of climate change,” stated LeCompte. "Unfortunately, the meetings failed to make decisions on vaccine distribution and economic aid for struggling developing countries."

At the meetings, the World Bank gained G20 backing to set up a new fund for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.
Available for interview: Eric LeCompte, Executive Director
Contact: Mizraim Belman Guerrero, Communications and Outreach Director
[email protected] / (202) 430-6975
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Press Advisory: Jubilee USA Holds IMF/World Bank Meetings Vigil and Press Conference this Friday:

IMF and World Bank Vigil
Friday April 22nd, 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Edward R Murrow Park 1872-1842 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006

What: 
World leaders gather in Washington for IMF and World Bank Meetings. Jubilee USA is hosting an outdoor vigil and press conference as leaders decide on next steps to confront the Ukraine war, pandemic, the food crisis, jobs, vaccine distribution, debt relief, climate change and rising poverty.
 
Where:
Edward R Murrow Park 1872-1842 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006.


Schedule for Friday, April 22nd
  • 11:00 AM: Vigil for Funding Vaccines, Debt Relief, Jobs and Aid for Developing Countries
  • 12:00 PM: Prayer and Reflection
  • 12:15 PM: Press Conference
    • Eric LeCompte - Executive Director, Jubilee USA Network 
    • Cathy Feingold - Director of the International Department, AFL-CIO

*In person on-camera interviews available. Photo opportunities.*
Contact: Mizraim Belman Guerrero, Communications and Outreach Director
[email protected] / (202) 430-6975

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IMF Fails to Agree on Key Meeting Communiqué

Jubilee USA Releases Statement on World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings

Washington, DC – The International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), the IMF policymaking body, failed to issue it's yearly communiqué during the IMF and World Bank meetings. Instead, the chair of the IMFC issued a separate statement. The IMFC met on COVID response and recovery, the impacts of the Ukraine war on the global economy, food prices, inflation, debt crises and climate.

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network and a United nations finance expert who monitored G20 meetings since 2010, releases the following statement on the IMFC meeting, IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings:

"Another casualty of the Ukraine war is that world leaders can't fully focus on pandemic response, inflation, climate change and rising poverty rates.

"Before the shocks from the Ukraine war, developing countries faced a series of crises. The war in Ukraine makes a terrible situation even worse.

"The IMF reports that the shock of the Ukraine war threatens a fragile COVID recovery.

"In more than 100 countries that are not on track to vaccinate 70% of their population, the pandemic is far from over.

"The meetings failed to make progress on access to vaccines, tests and treatments in the poorest countries.

"The war compounds pandemic supply chain shocks and fuels further inflation.

"Amidst ongoing health and economic impacts of COVID, developing countries now have little room to protect their most vulnerable from rising food prices.

"With growing food crises, we are worried about social unrest which could destabilize some countries.

"We expect rising interest rates and the repercussions of the Ukraine war to make more countries unable to service their debts.

"As shocks mount, the number of countries facing debt defaults keeps rising.

"We needed the G20 to urgently agree on ways to fix the shortcomings of their debt reduction process.

"The IMF and World Bank leadership put forward valuable and practical proposals for G20 Common Framework reform before these meetings, but we do not see decisions on them. 

"The IMF approved the Resilience and Sustainability Trust to provide climate and pandemic preparedness in vulnerable countries.

"Wealthy countries need to fully fund the new IMF trust.

"Energy and food security concerns could derail the urgent action needed to halt climate change."

Available for interview: Eric LeCompte, Executive Director
Contact: Mizraim Belman Guerrero, Communications and Outreach Director
[email protected] / (202) 430-6975

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African Catholic Bishops Urge IMF and World Bank to Support Systems that Build Inclusive Society

Africa Needs Debt Relief and Aid for Development Progress, Explain Religious Leaders

Washington, DC – Wealthy countries should direct more of their emergency currency funds, or Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), to help African countries emerge from the crisis and resume development progress, said the body that represents Catholic Bishops from the region. In a statement “Financing Crisis Recovery with Hope for the most Vulnerable in Africa,” the Justice, Peace and Development Commission of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) addressed leaders attending the World Bank and IMF Spring meetings. Bishop Sithembele Siphuka, First Vice President of SECAM and Commission Chair, signed the statement.

“We call on G20 Finance Ministers and other world leaders . . . to put in place viable plans for Africa to emerge from the crisis with resilience and resume progress towards [global development and climate goals],” said the bishops.

The statement highlights that Africa is home to two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor and the pandemic pushed 40 million more Africans into extreme poverty, lacking access to basic goods and services like health, education, food, water. The Ukraine war impacts on food and energy prices will add to their hardship.

“Religious leaders in Africa are calling for changes in the financial system that will benefit the most vulnerable,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of religious development group Jubilee USA Network. Jubilee USA Network partners with religious leaders on international economic and development policies. “The African bishops inspire decision makers to act in the face of rising poverty and debt in Africa.”

To support global pandemic recovery, the IMF last year created $650 billion SDRs.

“We welcome these resources which are fast, without conditions and add little or no debt, but are concerned that out of this amount, only $33 billion went to African countries,” the bishops shared.

The G20 committed to a target of $100 billion in wealthy countries’ SDR contributions to fund developing countries. The IMF Board last week approved a new fund that could use up to $45 billion SDR contributions to provide developing country low-cost loans.

The statement recommendations also addressed the debt crisis in the continent. Debt as a proportion of the economy in Africa rose from 60 to 70% in the first year of the pandemic.

“African countries did not have means to mobilize sufficient resources for responding to the pandemic, and had to make impossible choices between saving lives and jobs, or paying creditors,” the prelates stated. They called on world leaders to “coordinate efforts to bring together public and private creditors to create mechanisms to reduce the unbearable debt burdens many countries in our region continue to face.”

The faith leaders asked for measures to prevent future debt crises, promote transparency and provide sufficient aid.

Read full African Catholic Bishops' statement to World Bank/IMF Spring meetings here.

Read Jubilee USA's press release on the World Economic Outlook and Global Financial Stability Report here

Read Jubilee USA's press release on the creation of the Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST) here.

Available for interview: Eric LeCompte, Executive Director
Contact: Mizraim Belman Guerrero, Communications and Outreach Director
[email protected] / (202) 430-6975

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Ukraine War and Pandemic Drive High Food Prices, Inflation, Global Finance Risks

World Leaders Gather for G20, IMF and World Bank Meetings

Washington, DC – As world leaders descend for IMF, G20 and World Bank Meetings, the IMF forecasts high food prices, inflation and lower global growth due to the war in Ukraine and the pandemic.

"The pandemic and Ukraine war are significantly hurting poor people who live in the poorest countries,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations finance expert who has monitored IMF meetings since 2010. “The shock of the Ukraine war hits as most countries were still struggling with health and economic crises spurred by the pandemic.”

Inflation is a central concern in the World Economic Outlook report, with the war-driven high food and energy prices adding to pandemic-related supply chain disruptions. Another concern are lagging vaccination rates in poor countries that make virus mutations a continuing risk to the global outlook.

“We are failing to meet global vaccination targets and that means the coronavirus will persist all over the world." noted LeCompte. "We need better tools to deal with debt crisis and prevent future financial crises."

In its Global Financial Stability Report, the IMF discussed concerns on the war impacts on financial markets. The flagship report also underscored that energy and food security concerns put at risk efforts to halt climate change.

"The IMF is right that a solution to the multiple crises should include peace in Ukraine, aid to countries in need, addressing climate change and solving debt crises," stated LeCompte.

A full chapter of the report focuses on the risks stemming from high volumes of sovereign debt owed to banks.

“When these banks are based in a country facing a debt crisis, the crisis is more significant when you can't pay back the banks of your nation,” explained LeCompte.

Read Jubilee USA's Statement on the IMF Global Financial Stability Report here

Read the IMF Global Financial Stability Report here.

Read Jubilee USA's Statement on IMF World Economic Outlook Report here.

Read the full World Economic Outlook Report here.

Read Jubilee USA's press release on Secretary Yellen's speech to the Atlantic Council here.

Read Jubilee USA's press release on the creation of the Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST) here.

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

Read Eric LeCompte's piece for Barron's on Ukraine here

Available for interview: Eric LeCompte, Executive Director
Contact: Mizraim Belman Guerrero, Communications and Outreach Director
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