Eric LeCompte quoted in the Khaleej Times on World Bank's crisis response

Eric LeCompte was quoted in the Khaleej Times on the World Bank's largest-ever crisis response of $157 billion to help fight COVID-19. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story. 

World Bank Group deploys over $157b to fight Covid

By Issac John

The World Bank Group has deployed over $157 billion — its largest-ever crisis response yet — to fight the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on health, economic and social fronts during the past 15 months.

This “unprecedented level of support” represents an increase of more than 60 percent over the 15-month period prior to the pandemic, the bank said on Monday.

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious-affiliated development group Jubilee USA Network, said that the IMF action would allow developing countries to immediately receive more than $200 billion in support.

“Wealthy countries who receive emergency reserves they don’t need should transfer those resources to developing countries struggling through the pandemic,” LeCompte said.

 

Read more here. 

 

 

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Puerto Rico Medicaid Funding Advances in Congress

Permanent Fix Needed for 1.5 million US Citizens, Asserts Religious Development Group

Washington DC – Medicaid funding for 1.5 million US citizens living in Puerto Rico expires on September 30, if Congress doesn't act. A subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved legislation that Congress could enact to fund the health program for the next five years.

“Poor and vulnerable people living in Puerto Rico rely on Medicaid," said Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network. “If Congress does not act quickly, the impact will be devastating for Puerto Rico as the island wrestles with debt crisis, COVID and disaster recovery."

While the federal government contributes a specific percentage of Medicaid expenses for states, Puerto Rico and other US territories receive a smaller, fixed grant amount. 

“While fixing the funding shortfall for five years is critical, Puerto Rico needs a permanent, long-term fix,” shared LeCompte.

In February, Jubilee USA and 19 heads of US and Puerto Rico major religious bodies signed a letter to President Biden asking for expansion and full funding of Medicaid and other child poverty relief programs. The letter signers represent leaders from the Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, Christian (Disciples) and Evangelical churches as well as the US and Puerto Rico Council of Churches, Catholic Charities, Caritas and the General Bible Society.

Read Jubilee USA's Puerto Rico Religious Leader Letter to President Biden here.

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Eric LeCompte Featured in Devex on G20's COVID-19 Response

Eric LeCompte is featured in Devex on measures the G20 is taking to respond to COVID-19. Read an excerpt below and click here for the full story.

How the COVID-19 response fared at the G-20

By Adva Saldinger

When finance ministers and central bankers from the G-20 group of nations met last week, they came to agreement on a number of global financial issues, including debt relief and a fiscal response to COVID-19.

But some global development advocates say they fell short on committing to improving coronavirus vaccine distribution.

“The biggest concern now is the lack of political will, political ambition, for the G-20 to tackle the vaccine distribution issue,” said Eric LeCompte, executive director at Jubilee USA Network. The pressure will be on the G-20 to agree on a process for global vaccine access at its October meeting — or risk what the International Monetary Fund has predicted could be a $9 trillion hit to the global economy, he said.

Some governments, such as Germany, have concerns about vaccine-related issues, including waiving intellectual property rights, LeCompte said. Many of those watching the meeting had hoped the G-20 would take action on vaccine production and distribution, given the consequences of a lack of global action. LeCompte said it was “baffling” that the group did not.

And for those reading closely, other language around COVID-19 relief in the statement appeared promising, LeCompte said.

To date, G-20 efforts to respond to the pandemic — notably the Debt Service Suspension Initiative and the Common Framework for Debt Treatments Beyond the DSSI — have been limited to low-income countries. Development advocates, civil society organizations, and struggling middle-income countries have been pushing the G-20 and other global organizations, including IMF, to broaden the group of countries eligible for support.

Governments agreed to avoid “premature withdrawal of support measures” and maintained commitments on exchange rates. The group also backed a recent agreement on international tax architecture that includes reallocating profits of multinational enterprises and an effective global minimum corporate tax.

The agreement’s changes for how digital companies can be taxed could raise revenues in lower-income countries, and together they are “one of the most exciting things to see move forward,” LeCompte said.

 

Read more here.

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Front Page Africa Features Jubilee USA Network and Eric LeCompte on the IMF's Approval of Aid to Poor Countries

Eric LeCompte and Jubilee USA featured in Front Page Africa on the IMF's decision to allocate $650 billion global reserve funds, $350 million of which would benefit Liberia. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

Liberia to Benefit US$350M from IMF US$16Bn Aid to Poor Countries for Post-Covid Recovery

By 

Jubilee USA Network, a nonprofit organization that advocates debt relief for poor countries, praised the move by the I.M.F. and called on wealthy countries to do more to help.

“This is the biggest creation of emergency reserve funds that we’ve ever seen, and developing countries will immediately receive more than $200 billion,” said Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network. “Wealthy countries who receive emergency reserves they don’t need should transfer those resources to developing countries struggling through the pandemic.”

The I.M.F., the World Bank, the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization have created a new vaccine task force and called for an additional $50 billion investment to broaden access to supplies. The groups have also called on G20 countries to set a goal of having 40 percent of their populations vaccinated by the end of this year and 60 percent by the middle of next year.

 

Read more here.

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Reuters features Eric LeCompte on the need for global vaccine access

Eric LeCompte is featured in Reuters on the need for universal vaccine access. Read an excerpt below and click here for the full story,

Virus variants threaten global recovery, G20 warns

By Gavin Jones, Leigh Thomas

An upsurge in new coronavirus variants and poor access to vaccines in developing countries threaten the global economic recovery, finance ministers of the world’s 20 largest economies warned on Saturday.

Italy said it the G20 would return to the issue of vaccine funding for poor countries ahead of a Rome summit in October and that new variants was an area that needed to be looked at. It did not give further details.

“We must agree on a process for everyone on the planet to be able to access vaccines. If we don’t, the IMF predicts that the global economy will lose $9 trillion,” religious development organization Jubilee USA Network said.

It was referring to an IMF forecast that international cooperation on COVID-19 vaccines could speed world economic recovery and add $9 trillion to global income by 2025.

Read more here.

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KPFA Features Eric LeCompte for Segment on the G20 Finance Ministers' Meeting

KPFA Evening News' David Rosenberg interviews Eric Lecompte on how the G20 Finance Ministers' meeting addressed global COVID vaccine access. Click here to listen to the episode from 11:11 to 13:56. 

The KPFA Evening News (Saturday) – July 10, 2021

By David Rosenberg

Selected Statements from Eric LeCompte

"There are multiple issues around global COVID response that the G20 is considering this weekend in Italy. The issue where we're seeing a lack of political will and ambition is around global vaccine distribution and production."

"If we don't come to an agreement this year on how we can adequately get vaccines to everyone in the world, the IMF predicts that we will lose $9 trillion in the global economy and we'll continue to see mutations from the virus that will infect those who are already vaccinated in the North."

"The big issue where the G20 should have done more but failed to do so is getting the agreement done on global vaccine access, distribution and production. It leaves any progress on this agreement up to the October G20 meetings that'll be taking place in Italy."

"The most important thing the G20 needs to do is get the financing and resources to support global distribution and production of vaccines. That's where they fell short this meeting." 

 

Click here to listen to the episode from 11:11 to 13:56.

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Jubilee USA Statement on G20 Finance Ministers Meeting and Communiqué

Washington DC - G20 finance ministers and central bank governors met in Venice, Italy, on COVID response, economic recovery, vaccines, debt relief and global tax agreements on July 9-10, 2021.

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations finance expert, releases the following statement on the G20 finance ministers meeting and communiqué:

“While the G20 is making critical progress in many COVID response areas, vaccine distribution and production is not moving quickly enough.

"At the next G20 meetings in October, we must agree on a process for everyone on the planet to be able to access vaccines. If we don't, the IMF predicts that the global economy will lose $9 trillion.

“Rising US interest rates mean more countries could be unable to pay their debts and the G20 and IMF will deal with even more defaults.

“The G20 is asserting that the private sector must offer adequate debt relief for any countries that apply for the G20 debt relief process.

“We welcome the G20's endorsement of creating $650 billion in emergency reserve funds or Special Drawing Rights by the end of the summer. Developing countries will receive more than $200 billion in new resources when the IMF takes a final vote.

"More than $400 billion of these new Special Drawing Rights reserve funds will go to wealthy countries.

"The G20 calls for an ambitious target for donating the Special Drawing Rights that rich countries receive to vulnerable countries. Unfortunately, there is no concrete amount for how much wealthy countries should donate to vulnerable countries.

"We must quickly agree on Special Drawing Rights donation vehicles to support all developing and vulnerable countries to access these resources to fight poverty, climate change and the coronavirus health crisis.

“The G20 is right to call on development banks to do more, but the G20 must also be clear on how we can inject much more capital into these banks so they can do more.

“The G20 agreement on global minimum corporate and digital tax is incredibly exciting progress on closing loopholes for tax evasion and avoidance.

“In upcoming tax agreement negotiations, we must do more to increase the benefits for developing countries.

“The G20 is aligning climate change action goals with the Paris Climate Agreement. This will help spur greater action during the November climate meetings the United Kingdom is hosting.

“International cooperation on climate targets and carbon prices needs to account for the impacts on the most vulnerable countries and people.” 

Read the G20 Finance Ministers Meeting Communiqué here.

Read Jubilee USA's G20 Finance Ministers press release here.

Read Jubilee USA's response to the IMF approval of $650 bn in Special Drawing Rights here.

 

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AP Features Eric LeCompte on the Creation of $650 Billion Global Reserve Funds

AP features Eric LeCompte on the IMF's decision to create $650 billion global reserve funds.

Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

IMF approves $650 billion expansion to fight pandemic

By Martin Crutsinger

Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious-affiliated development group Jubilee USA Network, said that the IMF action would allow developing countries to immediately receive more than $200 billion in support.

“Wealthy countries who receive emergency reserves they don't need should transfer those resources to developing countries struggling through the pandemic,” LeCompte said.

More than six months after vaccines became available, reported COVID-19 deaths worldwide have fallen to about 7,800 each day, after topping out at over 18,000 a day in January. The World Health Organization recorded just under 54,000 deaths last week, the lowest weekly total since last October.

However, COVID-19 has illuminated global inequities as deaths worldwide climbed to 4 million, a milestone recorded Wednesday by Johns Hopkins University.

Vaccination drives are barely getting started in Africa and other desperately poor corners of the world because of extreme shortages of shots.

To fund the spending, the IMF will expand its Special Drawing Rights, a currency reserve that can be tapped by IMF member countries.

 

Read more here.

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New York Times Features Jubilee USA and Eric LeCompte on IMF's $650 Billion Aid Plan

Eric LeCompte and Jubilee USA featured in the New York Times on the IMF's backing of $650 billion in global reserve funds to help developing countries. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

I.M.F. Board Backs $650 Billion Aid Plan to Help Poor Countries

By Alan Rappeport 

The International Monetary Fund took a step on Friday toward easing widening global inequality and helping poor nations access vaccines, saying that its executive board approved a plan to issue $650 billion worth of reserve funds, which countries can use to purchase vaccines, finance health care and pay down debt.

Jubilee USA Network, a non-profit organization that advocates for debt relief for poor countries, praised the move by the I.M.F. and called on wealthy countries to do more to help.

“This is the biggest creation of emergency reserve funds that we’ve ever seen and developing countries will immediately receive more than $200 billion,” said Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network. “Wealthy countries who receive emergency reserves they don’t need should transfer those resources to developing countries struggling through the pandemic.”

 

Read more here.

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IMF Executive Board Approves Creation of $650 Billion Global Reserve Funds

Critical COVID Aid Could Reach Developing Countries in August

Washington DC – The International Monetary Fund Executive Board agreed to create $650 billion of emergency currency known as Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to help countries deal with the fallout from the coronavirus health and economic crises. The IMF’s main governing body, the Board of Governors, will take a final vote in coming weeks to move forward the SDRs creation. In a statement, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva indicated she expects the allocation as soon as August. 

“This is the biggest creation of emergency reserve funds that we've ever seen and developing countries will immediately receive more than $200 billion,“ said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network, that worked on the creation of the emergency currency since March of 2020.

In June, G7 leaders called for a global effort to mobilize $100 billion of SDRs for vaccines, protecting the environment and poverty reduction.

“Wealthy countries who receive emergency reserves they don't need should transfer those resources to developing countries struggling through the pandemic,” added LeCompte.

In February, Jubilee USA Network and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Yellen and President Biden expressing support for a new $3 trillion SDR allocation. In March, Jubilee USA Network organized a roundtable with high-ranking religious leaders and Yellen that focused on SDRs. Jubilee USA Network also coordinated organizational letters targeting G20 leaders, the White House and the IMF, that gathered more than 200 signatures in support of SDRs.

Read IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva's statement on SDR allocation here.

Read Jubilee USA's G20 COVID Response letter with over 265 signatories here.

Read Jubilee USA's statement on the G7 Summit and communiqué here.

Read Jubilee USA and US Conference of Catholic Bishops joint letter to the White House here.

View the agenda and read about the Jubilee USA Treasury High-Level Religious Leader Roundtable here.

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G20 Finance Ministers Meet in Venice on Global COVID Response

Nearly 270 groups Call on G20 to Curb Tax Avoidance, Support Debt Relief and COVID Healthcare

Washington DC – G20 finance ministers begin two-day meetings in Italy on Friday on COVID response, economic recovery, vaccines, debt relief and global tax agreements. More than 265 groups signed a letter organized by Jubilee USA urging the G20 to act on debt relief, aid and COVID healthcare for developing countries.

“The G20 must do more to ensure global vaccine distribution,“ said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. “While the G20 is making progress on a number of COVID response issues, we are concerned by the lack of progress on global vaccine distribution. If we don't do more to get vaccines to the developing world we will struggle with prolonged economic crisis and more virus mutations.”

President Biden called for vaccine patents to be temporarily waived in the face of the crisis and the IMF reports that without worldwide vaccine distribution by year-end, the global economy risks losing $9 trillion dollars.

In a report prepared for the G20 meeting, the IMF warns about the risk of rising US interest rates that could increase already high levels of debt in many countries. Up to 73 countries can seek relief under a G20 process to cut debt, known as the “Common Framework.”

“The G20 needs to follow the strong calls from the White House and Treasury for the private sector to provide significant debt relief,” shared LeCompte. “Because developing middle-income countries will see debts skyrocket if US interest rates rise, it's another reason to extend the G20's debt relief process to these countries."

A global corporate tax agreement is being forged during the meetings. In June, the G7 reached a deal on a minimum rate of at least 15% and new methods to tax digital companies. One hundred and thirty countries subscribed to the outline of a plan earlier this month.

“The G20 endorsement of a global tax deal will send a strong message that companies must pay their fair share in taxes to help the world recover from the coronavirus,” noted LeCompte who serves on United Nations finance expert groups. “As Secretary Yellen advocates, we must increase the global minimum corporate tax beyond 15%."

$650 billion of emergency reserves known as Special Drawing Rights are also on the agenda to fight the pandemic.

“As we move forward with a new creation of global reserve funds, the G20 must ensure that developing countries receive enough of these funds to emerge from this crisis with resilience," stated LeCompte.

Read the IMF note warning about US interest rates and global impacts here.

Read Jubilee USA's G20 COVID Response letter with 268 signatories here.

Read Jubilee USA's statement on the G7 Summit and communiqué here.

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Sudan Qualifies for Debt Relief

Washington DC The International Monetary Fund approved a debt relief process for Sudan, according to the country's finance ministry. The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, a debt relief process created in the early 2000s, will wipe out 85% of Sudan's debt, reducing debt from $50 billion to $8 billion.

"Sudan needs debt relief as the country emerges from 17 years of conflict and almost half of Sudan's people live in poverty,” said Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network, which campaigned for the HIPC process more than 20 years ago. “Debt relief for Sudan means reducing child poverty and growing the country's economy."

In March, the United States loaned $1.1 billion to clear Sudan’s debt payment arrears to the World Bank and convened creditors to secure debt relief. A process also moved forward to cut Sudan's IMF debt in arrears.

“As Sudan struggles with the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus, debt relief is a critical resource for recovery," shared LeCompte.           

Sudan is the 38th country to benefit, out of 39 countries eligible for the HIPC initiative. Eritrea is the remaining country.

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