Economic Crisis Could Get Much Worse Says IMF

Washington DC - The International Monetary and Financial Committee, the leadership of the IMF, released their Spring Meetings communiqué calling coronavirus economic impacts, "unprecedented" and that "the global economic outlook is subject to high uncertainty."

"The IMF is saying that our economic prospects are terrible, our economy could even face further disaster and they don't know how much worse it can actually get," noted Eric LeCompte, who leads the religious development group Jubilee USA. "World leaders are taking some strong actions, but even stronger actions are needed if we hope to minimize the loss of life and protect jobs."

Jubilee USA advocated for several IMF crisis solutions since mid-March including dept payment suspensions and expanding an IMF process which delivered health-care aid through debt relief and grants during the 2015 Ebola epidemic. On Monday, the Fund announced the expansion of this Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust to cancel 6 months of debt for the world's poorest 25 countries. These funds will bolster health systems and support crisis prevention measures in the countries.

On Wednesday the G20 announced a suspension of debt payments and interest for the world's 76 poorest countries and Angola in order to confront the coronavirus.

"We welcome steps taken so far to increase aid, financing and debt relief," stated LeCompte a United Nations finance expert who monitors IMF reports and meetings. "A critical action that the world must take is to access financial reserves so all countries can survive this crisis. The leaders of the IMF and G20 must approve access to these reserves, or what's also known as the special drawing rights or SDRs."

The G20 continues to struggle to reach a consensus on allowing the use of the special drawing rights.

On April 1st, Jubilee USA Network wrote the leader of the IMF urging the selling of gold reserves to provide greater aid to developing countries, after analyzing Fund balance sheets and the current market price of gold.

"The IMF holds $140 billion in gold reserves. Portions of this money can be used to get more aid and relief to the world's most vulnerable countries," shared LeCompte.

In a March 23rd letter to the IMF, Jubilee USA called for a “well-designed, globally-coordinated response from the international community" to the health and economic impacts of the crisis. The development group detailed a plan to expand debt relief, aid, financing, improve debt restructuring and move forward financial crisis protections and transparency initiatives.

"We're only in the bottom of the first inning in dealing with this health and economic crisis," said LeCompte. "We need everyone's help through the last inning. The stakes of playing ball have never been higher and this game's outcome determines how many of us will survive."

Read Jubilee USA's April 1st letter to the IMF on reserve gold funds here

Read Jubilee USA's March 23rd letter to IMF on a health and economic COVID-19 plan here

Read about the IMF World Economic Report here

Read about the Major Religious Institutions Letter to the President, IMF and G20 to Cancel Debts and Use Reserves to Protect Poor here

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Jubilee USA Statement on Communiqué of the International Monetary and Financial Committee and Spring IMF Meetings

Washington DC -The leadership of the IMF, the International Monetary and Financial Committee, releases their Communiqué.

Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of Jubilee USA, a religious development organization, releases the following statement on the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings and the Communiqué of the International Monetary and Financial Committee:

"We are dealing with the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.

"The IMF is saying that our economic prospects are terrible, our economy could even face further disaster and they don't know how much worse it can actually get.

"World leaders are taking some strong actions, but even stronger actions are needed if we hope to minimize the loss of life and protect jobs.

"We welcome steps taken so far to increase aid, debt relief, debt payment suspensions and increased financing.

"While we've seen progress, we must move forward more aid, financing and debt relief for developed and developing countries so people can survive the devastating health and economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis.

"A critical action that the world must take is to access financial reserves so all countries can survive this crisis. The leaders of the IMF and G20 must approve access to these reserves, or what's also known as the special drawing rights or SDRs.

"The IMF holds $140 billion in gold reserves. Portions of this money can be used to get more aid and relief to the world's poorest countries."

Read the IMFC Statement here

Read about the IMF World Economic Report here

Read Remarks by IMF's Kristalina Georgieva During the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting here

Read World Bank President David Malpass's Remarks to G20 Finance Ministers here

Read about the Major Religious Institutions Letter to the President, IMF and G20 to Cancel Debts and Use Reserves to Protect Poor here

Read Jubilee USA's March 23rd letter to IMF on a health and economic COVID-19 plan  here

Read Jubilee USA's gold sales letter to the IMF here

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G20 Suspends Debt Payments for Poor Countries As the Coronavirus Spreads

IMF Head Urges World Leaders to Save Lives and Livelihoods.

Washington DC - The G20 announced a suspension of debt payments and interest for the world's 76 poorest countries in order to bolster health services to confront the coronavirus. IMF head, Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank President, David Malpass spoke to the G20 Finance Ministers and Governors urging all types of debt holders, including banks, to offer debt relief for poor countries.

"The most innovative piece of the G20 commitment to suspend debt payments for the poorest countries, is to create a process that involves private creditors, banks and other commercial creditors to also offer debt relief," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. "While we see progress, we still need to answer a lot of questions. What about other developing countries and emerging markets who need relief? How will a process move forward to cut debt when debt is unsustainable for countries?"

Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF's Managing Director at a press conference, urged that every resource possible be deployed to protect lives and livelihoods as the world struggles with the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

"Georgieva's speech hits the right notes. All of us need to do everything we can and deploy every resource to save lives and protect jobs in the face of the coronavirus," noted LeCompte who monitors IMF reports and serves on United Nations debt expert groups. "A critical action that the world must take is to access financial reserves so all countries can survive this crisis. The leaders of the IMF must approve access to these reserves, or what's also known as the special drawing rights or SDRs."

Read about the IMF World Economic Report here

Read Remarks by IMF's Kristalina Georgieva During the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting here

Read World Bank President David Malpass's Remarks to G20 Finance Ministers here

Read about the Major Religious Institutions Letter to the President, IMF and G20 to Cancel Debts and Use Reserves to Protect Poor 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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Thomson Reuters Covers G20 Debt Freeze, Eric's Analysis

The news wire service Thomson Reuters included Eric's analysis of the G20 announcement halting debt payments and interest for poor countries affected by the coronavirus. The story was shared by news outlets around the world. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story. 

G20 countries agree debt freeze for world's poorest countries

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MarketWatch Cites Eric LeCompte on G-20 Debt Standstill

Marketwatch cited Eric LeCompte's comments on the G-20 announcement to halt debt payments for 76 poor countries affected by the coronavirus. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full story.

G-20 has agreed to debt standstill for world’s poorest countries, IMF and World Bank heads say

Eric LeCompte, the executive director of Jubilee USA network, said he was encouraged that the two organizations were urging “all types of creditors to come together to relive the debts of the poorest countries,” but noted the devil was in the details.

 

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G20 Announces Debt Suspension Process

IMF Head Calls on World to Protect the Vulnerable During Coronavirus Crisis

Washington DC - The G20 announces a suspension of debt payments for the world's 76 poorest countries. Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund calls for every resource to be deployed to protect lives and livelihoods throughout the world.

Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations Finance Expert, releases the following statement on G20 announcement and Managing Director speech:

"Georgieva's speech hits the right notes. All of us need to do everything we can and deploy every resource to save lives and protect jobs in the face of the coronavirus.

"The most innovative piece of the G20 commitment to suspend debt payments for the poorest countries, is to create a process that involves private creditors, banks and other commercial creditors to also offer debt relief.

"A process that brings together a collective mechanism to deal with suspending all debt payments for the poorest countries is historic.

"We still have a lot of questions and we still need to hammer out a lot of details. What is happening with the interest on the debt? What about other developing countries and emerging markets who need relief? How will a process move forward to cut debt when debt is unsustainable for countries?"

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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Heads of IMF and World Bank Support G20 Debt Suspension

Washington DC - IMF head, Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank President, David Malpass spoke to the G20 Finance Ministers and Governors this morning on debt relief and using multi-stakeholder processes to relieve debt.

Eric LeCompte the Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations Finance Expert, releases the following statement on the announcement:

"What's new and exciting about the the comments from Georgieva and Malpass is that they are urging all types of creditors to come together to relieve the debts of the poorest countries.

"Malpass is strongly encouraging commercial creditors to also offer debt relief.

"It's exciting that both the Fund and the World Bank are alluding to a process that will bring together multiple stakeholders.

"Civil society and monitoring mechanisms need to be a part of any coordinating creditor mechanism.

"The devil is still in the details. How will we deal with further debt vulnerabilities and sustainability issues?"

Read Remarks by IMF's Kristalina Georgieva During the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting here

Read World Bank President David Malpass's Remarks to G20 Finance Ministers here

Read about Major Religious Institutions Letter to President, IMF and G20 to Cancel Debts and Use Reserves to Protect Poor 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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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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