Reuters Quotes Eric LeCompte on Ukraine

Reuters quoted Eric LeCompte on Ukraine's debt burden. Read the full article here

Ukraine tapped lion's share of IMF reserve allocation, debt pressures building

By Andrea Shalal

The U.S. Treasury Department and the IMF could take several steps to ease Ukraine's debt burden and avert a payments crisis, Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network, told Reuters.

Treasury could seek congressional authorization to freeze the $2 million in service payments Ukraine owes the United States this year on its $790 million bilateral debt, he said.

U.S. President Joe Biden could also issue an executive order deferring debt payments to private creditors located in the United States, he said, citing a similar move made by former President George W. Bush during the Iraq war in 2004-2005.

Doing so, he said, would send a "strong signal of support for Ukraine beyond the really good things that the administration has already been doing".

It would also ensure that private creditors don't "use this moment to try and exploit Ukraine", he said.

 

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Devex Quotes Eric LeCompte on Growing Debt Crisis

Devex Invested quoted Eric LeCompte on the growing debt crisis. Read the full article here.

Devex Invested: IFC’s focus on Africa: Makhtar Diop 1 year on

By Shabtai Gold and Adva Saldinger

Experts are worried about a distinct lack of urgency at the G-20 around the growing debt crisis, with the wealthiest nations likely to escape a major economic contraction.

“We are going to see a wave of defaults,” Eric LeCompte, executive director at the Jubilee USA Network, tells Shabtai.

While IMF and the World Bank are also concerned, the sense emerging from last week’s meeting of G-20 finance ministers is that we won’t see serious movement on an international debt relief framework until at least the leaders’ summit in Indonesia toward the end of the year — if at all.

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Yahoo Finance and South China Morning Post Quote Eric LeCompte on Debt, China and the G20

Why is China being blamed for the stalled G20 debt relief plan for distressed countries?

Yahoo Finance and South China Morning Post quoted Eric LeCompte on China, debt relief and the G20. Read the full article here

Eric LeCompte, Jubilee USA's executive director and a United Nations finance expert, who has monitored G20 and G7 meetings since 2010, said the debt discussion was one of the most difficult conversations at the G20 meeting.

"Developing countries struggled with a lack of resources before the pandemic hit. Now they struggle with low revenues and rising debts. Without debt relief, we will see a wave of defaults and countries will run out of money to pay their creditors," LeCompte said.

He said the promise of the G20's Common Framework was that it could bring together all creditors, including China and the private sector, under one umbrella. Unfortunately, the private sector was refusing to cooperate, and China was slowing the process down, LeCompte said.

"It appears China wants to cut its own debt deals before the Common Framework process is more fully implemented. This means that the G20 is still lacking consensus to move forward their debt reduction process in a robust and quick way," he said.

"It will probably take more defaults and increased crises, when developing countries run out of money to pay debts, for world leaders to move more rapidly."

 

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Eric LeCompte speaks on KPFA News about the G20 and pandemic response

Eric LeCompte spoke on KPFA's evening news show about the role of the G20 in pandemic response. Read an excerpt below and click here to listen to the full show.

The KPFA Evening News (Saturday) – February 19, 2022

Selected Statements from Eric LeCompte

"We were expecting stronger language on pandemic response, on vaccines as well as debt relief."
"Right now, the majority of the world's countries, which are developing countries, are either in or facing financial crisis."

"The finance ministers of the G20, who make most of the decisions for the world, including decisions for the developing countries, fell short at these meetings at delivering strongly on debt relief, ensuring vaccines are getting to developing countries, as well as a more robust response on getting aid to these countries as they are facing crisis."

Listen more here from 25:24 till 22:50.

 

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Reuters Quotes Eric LeCompte on G20 Discussions

Reuters quoted Eric LeCompte on G20 Discussions. Read the full article here

Russia, China water down G20 text on geopolitical tensions

By Gayatri Suroyo and David Lawder

The G20 talks, held virtually and in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, were also marked by disagreements over the group's stalled debt restructuring framework.

The final communique failed to endorse International Monetary Fund and World Bank proposals for an immediate debt service suspension for poor countries that seek restructurings and an expansion to include some middle-income countries.

"The G20 discussions on debt were really disappointing," said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the Jubilee USA Network, a faith-based organization campaigning for debt relief for poor countries. He said China was resisting steps to strengthen the bankruptcy-like G20 debt framework "so that they can cut deals on the side" with debtor countries.
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Jubilee USA Statement on G20 Finance Ministers Meeting and Communiqué

Washington DC – G20 finance ministers and central bank governors concluded their first meetings under the Indonesian Presidency on COVID response, recovery and preparing for future crises. The finance ministers released a communiqué on their two days of deliberations.

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 G20 finance ministers meeting and communiqué:

"Much of the focus of the meetings was on inflation and supply chain shocks.

"While inflation and supply chain shocks are challenges for all countries, G20 countries are focusing on how these issues impact their own economies. For developing countries with debts pegged to the dollar it means their debts are higher. Supply chain shocks for poor countries mean more people are going hungry.

"The IMF estimates by 2024 pandemic losses to the world economy will reach $14 trillion.

"We are disappointed by the current status of getting COVID vaccines, tests and treatments to developing countries.

"It seems less and less likely that we will reach the goal of vaccinating 70% of the world's population this year.

"The finance ministers stated support of distribution of vaccines and therapeutics. We need urgent action to fund the distribution. The $75 billion that is needed for the pandemic preparedness fund should be quickly funded by wealthy countries.

"The discussion on debt was one of the most difficult conversations at these G20 meetings.

"The World Bank and IMF are warning of a wave of defaults and we've failed to implement the G20 debt restructuring commitments for vulnerable countries.

"Many developing countries faced crisis and a lack of resources before the pandemic hit. Now they struggle with low revenues and rising debts. 

"The commitment of the finance ministers to ensure that the G20's debt restructuring process is orderly, timely and coordinated is important as we need to act quickly to prevent greater debt crises in developing countries.

"Unfortunately, it seems the G20 is still lacking consensus to move forward their debt reduction process in a robust and quick way.

"The G20 finance ministers are trying to rapidly implement rules to curb tax evasion and avoidance.

"The challenge with the tax agreements at this point is they do little to raise revenues in developing countries. 

"The Indonesian meetings reviewed progress for wealthy countries to use their IMF emergency pandemic response funds to support developing countries.

"Wealthy countries need to do more to get IMF Special Drawing Rights to developing countries.

"There is good progress on a new vehicle to use Special Drawing Rights to fight the pandemic and the impacts of climate change.

"The Resilience and Sustainability Trust, which could use $50 billion in Special Drawing Rights from wealthy countries, can support developing countries to take action on climate and pandemic preparedness.

"We need options that allow wealthy countries to share Special Drawing Rights through development banks in order to get more support to developing countries.

"IMF loan surcharges continue to deprive countries of critical resources they need at this time and the G20 should find a solution.

"The G20 finance ministers continue to raise the alarm on climate change. The G20 has a big role to play in financing climate commitments and developing rules in the financial system to fight climate change." 

Read the full communiqué here.

Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 US organizations and 750 faith communities working with 50 Jubilee global partners. Jubilee USA builds an economy that serves, protects and promotes the participation of the most vulnerable. Jubilee USA wins critical global financial reforms and won more than $130 billion in debt relief to benefit the world's poorest people. www.jubileeusa.org

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

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Voice of America Quotes Eric LeCompte on Debt Relief

Voice of America quoted Eric LeCompte on the COVID-19 Debt Crisis. Read the full article here

Poorer Nations Face 'Lost Decade' Over COVID-19 Debt Crisis, UN Warns  

Eric LeCompte, executive director of the Jubilee USA Network, which campaigns for debt relief for poorer nations, said creditors must act now.

In response to the pandemic, the IMF issued Special Drawing Rights — an emergency currency, effectively — worth $650 billion. Wealthy nations were the main recipients, however, drawing $400 billion from the fund.

LeCompte of the Jubilee USA Network said the G-20 should rectify the imbalance.

"The G-20 could affirm the direction of a pandemic response vehicle that could accept donations of Special Drawing Rights from wealthy countries. The IMF's Resilience and Sustainability Trust could fund long-term, affordable loans to developing countries," he said.

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Voice of America Quotes Eric LeCompte on G20

Voice of America quoted Eric LeCompte in an article on the G20. Read the full article here

UN warns poor countries at risk of 'losing a decade' due to COVID-19 debt crisis

The finance ministers of the G-20, a group of 20 industrialized countries, will begin a two-day meeting in Jakarta on Thursday (2/17), when many poor countries face a worsening debt crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic has left many developing countries piling up debt, which activists in debt relief campaigns say is undermining their ability to provide basic services such as health and education.

Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network, which campaigns for debt relief for poor countries, said creditors must take action now.

“The G-20 needs to offer rapid and deep debt relief and encourage private creditors to take similar steps. History teaches us that the longer we wait for a debt crisis to be resolved, the harder it is to resolve it," he wrote in an email sent to VOA.

The G-20 also launched a debt reduction program in November 2020, known as the Common Framework. Under the program, participating countries will agree on debt restructuring with bilateral creditors and the IMF, and then seek to obtain similar debt relief on loans in the private sector.

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G20 Finance Ministers Grapple with Third Year of Pandemic Economy

Washington DC – G20 finance ministers and central bank governors begin their first meetings under the Indonesian G20 presidency on Thursday. The two-day meetings address global pandemic response, recovery and preparing for future crises. Developing country access to debt relief, aid and vaccines are high on the agenda.

“The prolonged economic crisis and new virus variants derailed global recovery projections,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. “Developing countries are in dire need of vaccines and support for economic recovery."

Developing country debts as a proportion of their economies rose last year by about five times the usual yearly rise during the preceding decade. The G20 launched a debt reduction process in November 2020. Chad, the first country to apply to the G20 debt reduction initiative, has yet to receive any relief. Zambia and Ethiopia, the other countries that applied, are further behind in the process.

“The G20 needs to offer speedy and deep debt relief and compel private creditors to match it,” added LeCompte, a United Nations finance expert. "History teaches us that the longer we wait to address a debt crisis, the more difficult it becomes to solve the crisis."

Finance ministers will review progress on aid commitments to developing countries. The World Bank projects that average incomes in 40% of developing countries will be lower next year than they were in 2019. Developing countries received about $230 billion and wealthy countries received more than $400 billion of $650 billion in emergency currency or Special Drawing Rights that the IMF created in August.

The G20 could affirm the direction of a pandemic response vehicle that could accept donations of Special Drawing Rights from wealthy countries. The IMF's Resilience and Sustainability Trust could fund long-term, affordable loans to developing countries.

“While G20 leaders are making progress, we are worried we aren't moving quickly enough to solve this crisis or prevent the next crisis from happening,” remarked LeCompte.

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

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Federal Agencies Assist Puerto Rico Deploy Aid for Climate Resilient Energy

Washington DC –Federal agencies and Puerto Rico signed an agreement to speed up $12 billion in disaster recovery funds to strengthen Puerto Rico energy infrastructure. The Departments of Energy, Homeland Security and Housing and Urban Development signed a memorandum with Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi. The island suffered more than $100 billion in estimated damages when Hurricanes Maria and Irma struck in 2017.

“The agreement supports rebuilding a Puerto Rico that can withstand future storms and other natural disasters,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network, a religious development organization that works with the island’s religious leaders to secure disaster and debt relief. “A modern power grid that meets renewable energy targets and can reduce future risks to the island's economy is critical."

In January, a judge confirmed a settlement that brought Puerto Rico's $72 billion debt to $34 billion. The judge oversees a special bankruptcy process mandated by debt crisis legislation passed by Congress in 2016.

“Puerto Rico's debt deal is based on assumptions that substantial federal aid and disaster relief will continue to reach the island,” noted LeCompte.

Read the full DHS MoU here.

Read Jubilee's press release on Puerto Rico's Debt Deal 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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Our Sunday Visitor publishes commentary from Amb. Sam Brownback and executive director Eric LeCompte

Our Sunday Visitor publishes commentary from Amb. Sam Brownback and executive director Eric LeCompte on aid, medicine, vaccines and Special Drawing Rights for developing countries. Read the full article here

The Christian case for a global pandemic response

by Eric LeCompte, Sam Brownback

Jesus tells us in the Gospels that the greatest commandment is to love God; the second is “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” In the midst of a still-raging global pandemic, what does it look like to love our neighbor as ourselves? Certainly, it means we should do what we can to make sure our neighbors have access to basic medicine, food and shelter.

In the United States, we have ample access to vaccines critical to addressing the COVID-19 crisis. Not all corners of the world have this opportunity. In Africa, only 11 percent of the population is fully vaccinated against COVD-19 due to a limited vaccine supply and inadequate infrastructure for distribution. For example, when Ghana received a shipment of 50,000 doses last year, they lacked the trained staff to administer them.

The impact of the pandemic on African nations has been devastating. Beyond the tragedy of hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 fatalities, hospitals have been so overwhelmed that it severely impacted patients’ access to other life-saving medical treatments, resulting in worrying trends like an increased number of tuberculosis deaths across the continent. Over the last year, 46 million more people fell into hunger there. Ending hunger requires ending the pandemic.

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Religious Groups Urge Treasury to Implement Strong Transparency Rules for Shell Companies

Washington DC – Last year, Congress passed the Corporate Transparency Act to reveal the real owners of so-called anonymous shell companies to authorities. Treasury is responsible for implementing the law to curb corruption, tax evasion and criminal activity. Jubilee USA Network, a religious development coalition that worked for 10 years to pass the law, answered Treasury's call to send feedback on the draft enforcement rule.

“The Corporate Transparency Act is a historic, bipartisan effort to stop public officials from stealing money and prevent crimes like human trafficking,” said Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network. “We responded to Treasury's call for feedback because we want the strongest law possible to stop aid theft in developing countries.”

Jubilee USA organized a letter signed by more than 100 religious organizations, congregations and faith-based communities urging Congress to pass the act. For more than a decade, the religious development group generated tens of thousands of phone calls, e-mails and letters to Congress calling for the transparency legislation.

"We've seen how these shell companies helped dictators take and hide debt relief and other vital forms of aid in poor countries," noted Aldo Caliari who serves as Jubilee USA's Senior Director of Policy and Strategy. Caliari submitted the feedback to Treasury. "The law is progress and there is more we need to do to bring some of these bad actors into the light."

Last May, Jubilee USA offered initial feedback on the same enforcement rule to Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

"The White House supports financial transparency as a national security priority and the enforcement of this law is critical to that priority,” added LeCompte. “We reiterated support for points that we hope stay in the final rule, but there are also some loopholes that we want to close.”

Read Jubilee USA's Comments on Corporate Transparency Act Proposed Rulemaking here.

Read Jubilee USA's Corporate Transparency Act letter supported by over a hundred groups here.

Read Jubilee USA's Comments on Corporate Transparency Act Advanced Proposed Rulemaking here.

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