Eric LeCompte Quoted in IPS on IMF Debt Relief

Inter Press Service featured the IMF's decision to halt debt payments for 25 poor countries affected by the coronavirus. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story. 

FMI alivia deuda de 25 países pobres

La decisión del FMI “es un paso increíblemente positivo. Estos países necesitan reforzar sus sistemas de salud de inmediato y la cancelación de la deuda por seis meses les ayudará”, dijo Eric LeCompte, director de la coalición estadounidense Jubilee, que trabaja por la condonación de las deudas de los países del Sur.

“Muchos de estos países tienen menos de 50 camas de cuidados intensivos”, las que se requieren para tratar a pacientes graves de covid-19, recordó LeCompte.

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Crux Features Jubilee Advocacy for Poor in Debt Relief Article

Crux featured Eric LeCompte's advocacy to help protect poor countries affected by the coronavirus. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story. 

‘Urgent action’ needed on debt relief for poor countries, expert says

ROSARIO, Argentina - On Easter Sunday, Pope Francis issued a call for reduction if not the forgiveness of the debt burdening the balance sheets of the world’s poorest countries so that they can better tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, the International Monetary Fund approved $500 million to cancel six months of debt payments for 25 of the world’s most impoverished countries: Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Togo and Yemen

The next day, the IMF published a report that the “great lockdown” could cause the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and predicted the global economy will lose at least $9 trillion in 2020 and 2021.

Some believe that such unprecedented global challenge demands an unprecedented response.

Among them is Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of more than 75 U.S. organizations and 700 faith communities working for debt relief. He called the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announcement “an incredibly positive step.”

Yet, despite the impact the IMF decision will have, LeCompte says “many of the biggest decisions are yet to come.”

“This is the most frightening news the Fund has ever released on the status of our global economy,” he said in a statment. “When you analyze what the IMF is actually saying, the message is things could even get worse and they really don’t know how bad it can actually get.”

According to the expert, what happened with the IMF this week “expands a debt relief mechanism and grant mechanism we created in 2010 for Haiti after the earthquake and then expanded again for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in 2014 during the Ebola epidemic.”

As for the decisions yet to come, LeCompte told Crux that the G20 is meeting on April 15 to make decision on suspending the debt payments for 76 of the poorest countries that owe money to G20 countries.

“These are the ‘IDA’ or World Bank International Development Association countries - the world’s poorest countries that receive concessional lending and grants,” LeCompte explained. “More than 65 percent of people who live in extreme poverty in our world call these 76 countries home.”

Ongoing behind-closed door discussions involve the suspension of debt payment for 6 to 9 months.

“If this campaign of ours moves forward, it will mean immediate money can be used to bolster health systems in the developing world,” LeCompte said. “There are other decisions that will be made to support countries in accessing a big reserve (Special Drawing Rights) for immediate financing.”

Pope Francis is far from being the only religious leader to call for a debt reduction so that the poorer countries can better confront this invisible enemy. The list includes the United States conference of Catholic Bishops, and as of Tuesday, the Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist and Lutheran churches, together with the United Church of Christ, American Friends Service Committee, the National Council of Churches and Church World Service: All are endorsing debt relief, improving the financial system, reform of bankruptcy laws, and curbing tax evasion and corruption.

LeCompte told Crux that over the next few days there will be several decisions made affecting different groups and lenders. For instance, the G20 meeting could make $25 billion immediately available for the world’s 76 poorest countries to provide bolstering for health services as they try and tackle the coronavirus crisis.

This, he argued, would be important because “some of these countries have zero critical care unit beds, [and] most have less than 50.”

China - where the coronavirus has its origins - is resisting making this fund available, he said, “but I think we’ll be able to push China to make the right decision.”

“We are also calling for the IMF and World Bank to cancel debt payments,” LeCompte said. “Because the IMF has a $140 billion dollar gold reserve according to our analysis, [so] they can afford debt cancellation on many levels.”

Over the next three days, the G7, G20, IMF and World Bank will meet to make other plans to deal with the growing crisis.

“Urgent action is required by the IMF and G20 this week,” said LeCompte. “During the meetings this week world leaders must move forward aid, financing and debt relief for developed and developing countries so people can survive the devastating health and economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis.”


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Agence France-Presse Cites Eric LeCompte on G20 Debt Freeze

Agence France-Presse cited Eric LeCompte on the G20 decision to freeze debt payments and interest for poor countries affected by the coronavirus. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story. 

G20 avala suspensión temporal del pago de la deuda para los países pobres

Eric LeCompte, director de la coalición de organizaciones de lucha contra la pobreza Jubilee USA, indicó que lo que es una novedad y es "emocionante" de los comentarios de Georgieva y de Malpass es que están llamando a todos los tipos de acreedores a generar un acuerdo conjunto para aliviar la deuda de los países más pobres.


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Winning: IMF, G20, Treasury Jubilee Decisions

Friends,

This week the IMF, G20 and US Treasury are deciding on our Jubilee USA campaigns.

Thanks to our efforts together, the US Treasury released a statement today with G7 leaders expressing support for our plan for the world's 76 poorest countries to stop debt payments to provide health services in the developing world. After our continuous actions since mid-March, the IMF announced yesterday it would cancel 6 months of debt payments for 25 poor countries using the plan that we put forward.

The next phase of our campaign goals to win debt relief processes and access global financial reserves will be decided by the IMF, G20 and US Treasury over the next 3 days.

Please sign our petition to lift the vulnerable and mitigate what the IMF calls the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Our next round of IMF petition delivery takes place this week.

Jubilee USA organized 80 national religious institutions, congregations and partners to confront the coronavirus crisis and it was delivered to the White House, G20 and IMF today.

Signers include: The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA), Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Jubilee USA Network, American Friends Service Committee, Church World Service, Buddhist Association of the United States and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. The largest labor union in the United States, the AFL-CIO joined the Jubilee USA letter.

These signers joined calls from Pope Francis, our letter with the US Catholic Bishops and 165 world leaders encouraging additional resources, aid and debt relief to ensure all countries can withstand the crisis.

The next phase of our campaign goals to win debt relief processes and access global financial reserves will be decided by the IMF, G20 and US Treasury over the next 3 days.

Can you sign this petition, share it on social media and encourage your friends and family to sign it too?

Since mid-March our Jubilee USA campaigns have been featured in tens of thousands of newspapers around the world. We've appeared in Reuters, AP, the New York Times and Fox News more than a dozen time in less than three weeks.

Our Executive Director, Eric LeCompte, has met daily with G20 and IMF leaders. We are winning and momentum is on our side.

We are so grateful to continue this work with you.

Best,

Kate

Kate Zeller
Campaigns Director

P.s. Right now all gifts are doubled and support Jubilee USA's coronavirus campaigns. Please make a tax-deductible gift for $5 or $100 or $500 or any amount and that gift will double our impact.

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Major Religious Institutions Urge President, IMF and G20 to Cancel Debts and Use Reserves to Protect Poor

Washington DC - Many of the largest religious institutions are calling for financial crisis protections, debt relief and additional resources to protect the world's poor in what the IMF calls the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. The 80 groups joined a letter organized by Jubilee USA Network to confront the coronavirus crisis and it was delivered to the White House, G20 and IMF on Tuesday.

Signers include: The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA), Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Jubilee USA Network, American Friends Service Committee, Church World Service, Buddhist Association of the United States and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. The largest labor union in the United States, the AFL-CIO joined the Jubilee USA letter.

The signers join calls from Pope Francis, the US Catholic Bishops and 165 world leaders encouraging additional resources, aid and debt relief to ensure all countries can withstand the crisis.

"Religious institutions and their partners are making a moral call for all people on the planet to be able to have enough resources to weather the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus. There is already momentum behind debt relief and emergency financing," stated Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte. LeCompte is a United Nations finance expert and has monitored IMF meetings since 2008. "We are urgently calling on the G20 and IMF to access global reserve funds so that both developed and developing countries can get through the greatest financial crisis of our time. We need to use the special drawing rights or SDRs like we did after the 2008 crisis."

"Special drawing rights," debt relief and additional emergency financing are the issues that the G7, G20, IMF and World Bank are focusing on during virtual spring meetings this week. On Tuesday, the IMF released a report dubbing the "Great Lockdown" as the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The US Treasury released a statement Tuesday after a virtual meeting with G7 leaders expressing support for the world's 76 poorest countries to stop debt payments to provide health services in the developing world.

On Monday, the IMF announced it would cancel 6 months of debt payments for 25 poor countries in an effort to boost their health systems and economies.

"Urgent and bold actions are needed now if we are to survive the greatest health and economic crisis of our lifetimes," said LeCompte.

Read Religious Leader's Letter the President Trump, IMF and G20 here

Read about the April 2020 World Economic Outlook here

Read about the IMF's Debt Relief for 25 Poor Countries here

Read about the Catholic Bishops Letter to Urge President Trump to Lead Global COVID-19 Debt Relief 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

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U.S. News and World Report Quotes Eric LeCompte on IMF Economic Outlook

U.S. News and World Report quotes Eric LeCompte of the IMF economic forecast in light of the coronavirus. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

IMF Predicts Global Coronavirus Crisis Akin to the Great Depression

"This is the most frightening news the Fund has ever released on the status of our global economy," Eric LeCompte, executive director of the Jubilee USA coalition, said in a statement on Tuesday. "When you analyze what the IMF is actually saying, the message is things could get even worse, and they really don't know how bad it can actually get."

 

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Reuters, New York Times Covers Jubilee USA, Religious Groups Letter to White House, IMF

Thomson Reuters, The New York Times and hundreds of other outlets covered Jubilee USA's letter to the White House and IMF urging debt relief for poor countries to help bolster their coronavirus response efforts. Read more here

Faith groups, AFL-CIO urge U.S., IMF, G20 to cancel debt for poor countries

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Voice of America Cites Eric LeCompte on Global Economic Crisis

Voice of America cites Eric LeCompte of IMF debt relief plan in response to the global economic crisis caused by the coronavirus. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story. 

IMF Announces Debt Relief for African Nations to Fight Pandemic  

Eric LeCompte, executive director of the Jubilee USA Network, a coalition of religious organizations that works for international finance system reform, says the plan will provide much-needed relief to countries like the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Niger and Rwanda.

He spoke to VOA from Washington, via WhatsApp.  

“When we're dealing with the reality that on average, countries across sub-Saharan Africa have an average of 50 critical care units, we know that they're not going to be able to deal with minor elements of the crisis, let alone more significant ones," he said. "In part, that's why we saw all the finance ministers across Africa, almost three weeks ago now, step up and say we need to be able to stop paying debts for all African countries, making a call to stop and suspend debt payments for $44 billion because they knew that was money that could be quickly invested, moved very quickly into economies to be able to get the ventilators, to be able to increase health systems so that they might be able to combat the virus.” 


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IMF Calls "Great Lockdown" Worst Economic Crisis Since the Great Depression

Washington DC - The IMF says we face the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression because of the coronavirus. As world leaders gather virtually for the Spring International Monetary Fund and World Bank Meetings, the Fund released its April World Economic Outlook Report, dubbing the crisis, the "Great Lockdown" and reporting that the global economy will lose at least $9 trillion in 2020 and 2021.  

"This is the most frightening news the Fund has ever released on the status of our global economy," noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte, who tracked IMF meetings and reports since the 2008 financial crisis. LeCompte's organization detailed a financial crisis plan to the IMF on March 23rd. "When you analyze what the IMF is actually saying, the message is things could even get worse and they really don't know how bad it can actually get."

The IMF report forecasts that if "lockdowns" and the spread of the virus becomes more limited in the Fall, we could see economic growth for some countries in 2021. However, those growth projections would already be below previous IMF 2021 growth projections.

The IMF report forecasts the economy will contract 3% in 2020 before coronavirus containment policies can be gradually loosened, with economic growth of 5.8% predicted as the economy stabilizes.

Over the next three days, the G7, G20, IMF and World Bank will meet to determine solutions to deal with the growing crisis.

"Urgent action is required by the IMF and G20 this week," stated LeCompte, a United Nations finance expert. "During the meetings this week world leaders must move forward aid, financing and debt relief for developed and developing countries so people can survive the devastating health and economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis."

Read the April 2020 World Economic Outlook here

Read about the IMF's Debt Relief for 25 Poor Countries here

Read about the Catholic Bishops Letter to Urge President Trump to Lead Global COVID-19 Debt Relief 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

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