Jubilee USA Network Statement on G20 Finance Ministers Meeting

Washington DC – The G20 finance ministers concluded their meetings in Bali, Indonesia. The ministers focused on the global economy impacted by the pandemic, Ukraine war, high country debt levels and rising inflation. 

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations finance expert who tracked or participated in G20 meetings since 2010, releases the following statement on the G20 finance ministers meeting:

“The lack of a G20 finance ministers communiqué means it will be more difficult for the G20 to forge a consensus on vital issues in the fall.

"Tensions over Russia's war in Ukraine translated to the G20 failing to take more action on inflation, food shortages and pandemic response.

“Internal divisions hinder the G20’s ability to act decisively and leaves the world in uncharted waters.

“Countries lack the resources to deal with food shortages and we are concerned that the food shortages can lead to unrest.

“As more countries risk defaulting on their loans, we face more threats for stability of the global economy.

“We are waiting for the G20's debt reduction framework to be running so developing countries can receive relief to address food shortages and respond to the pandemic.

“A critical part of the G20 meetings was reviewing proposals that can increase development bank lending by hundreds of billions.

“Getting more resources to development banks would be a significant step to prevent future pandemics and food crises."

Read Jubilee USA's press release about the meetings here.  
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G20 Finance Ministers Meeting Focuses on Response to Global Economic Crises

Washington DC  On Friday, G20 finance ministers descend on Bali, Indonesia, to discuss a global economy impacted by the pandemic, Ukraine war, high country debt levels and rising inflation. Food shortages, climate and tax issues will also be on the agenda at the two-day talks.

“Developing countries lack the resources to confront economic crises and food shortages,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. “The G20 must act quickly to prevent a recession and address food and debt crises."

The World Bank warns that due to the impacts of the pandemic and the Ukraine war, average incomes in 40% of developing countries will remain below 2019 levels.

"Rising interest rates mean developing countries have higher debt payments just when they need to invest more to protect their people,” added LeCompte. “Countries need debt relief, not more debt."

Three countries applied to a G20 debt reduction process created in 2020 and have yet to see any debt relief.

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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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G7 Summit Focuses on Global Crisis Response, Ukraine War, Food Security and Climate

Leaders Urge Debt Relief for Developing Countries

African Religious Groups Call on G7 to Address Poverty

Washington DC  In a concluding statement of the G7 Summit in the Bavarian Alps, the group addressed the global economy, the COVID crisis, the Ukraine war, climate, debt and vaccines. Presidents and prime ministers of the G7 highlighted the urgency to improve debt relief frameworks and address debt vulnerabilities. 

"Debt relief is critical as developing countries struggle with the pandemic and food shortages due to the Ukraine war," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network. “The G7 noted the importance for China and the private sector to participate in debt relief processes so developing countries can withstand current crises."

Up to 73 of the world’s poorest countries can seek debt relief through a G20 process. To date, Chad, Ethiopia and Zambia applied for the debt relief framework. 

"The G20 debt relief process needs to be implemented more quickly," stated LeCompte. "We need the process expanded to cover other countries in need like Sri Lanka."

In May, the New York State Assembly began consideration of a bill that requires private creditors, which hold the majority of developing country debt, to join in relief deals. The legislation would apply to the more than 50% of the world's private debt contracts because they are issued under New York law.

“Legislation adopted by G7 countries can ensure the private sector and commercial banks participate in debt relief,” added LeCompte.

In a statement addressed to G7 leaders, the Justice, Peace and Development Commission of the Catholic Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) warned about the deteriorating debt situation on the continent.

“Worsening global conditions and rising interest rates will push more African countries to make impossible choices between saving lives and jobs or paying creditors,” stated Bishop Sithembele Siphuka, First Vice-President of SECAM and Commission Chair.

The G7 launched an infrastructure plan that plans to tackle developing countries taking on too much debt. Pledging $600 billion in developing country infrastructure by 2027, the terms and quality of projects under the Global Partnership for Infrastructure and Investment seek to keep debt levels in check.

"The G7 plan to invest in countries from Angola to the Ivory Coast means less debt and positive economic returns for developed and developing countries,” shared LeCompte. "The G7's investment in sustainable infrastructure is good news for developing countries."

Leaders focused on the global food crisis pledging an additional $4.5 billion to protect the vulnerable from hunger and malnutrition. The war in Ukraine worsened food shortages and more than 193 million people face hunger.

On climate, the G7 announced the creation of a “Climate Club." The club or group of countries would focus on actions to meet climate goals. The G7 renewed pledges to deliver $100 billion in annual funds to address climate change through 2025.

"The Ukraine war, pandemic and climate crisis are a triple threat that developing countries don't have the resources to combat,” expressed LeCompte.

Read the full G7 communiqué here

Read the African Catholic Bishops' statement to G7 leaders here.

Read Jubilee USA's press release on the New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act here.

Read Jubilee USA's press release on the G7 finance ministers meeting here.

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G7 Summit Focuses on Ukraine War, Pandemic, Climate, Vaccines and Debt

Gathering in Bavarian Alps, President Biden and G7 Prime Ministers Confront Global Inflation, Food Security and Economic Crises

Washington DC  On Sunday, G7 presidents and prime ministers begin their three-day summit under the German Presidency. Meeting at the Schloss Elmau resort, the leaders deliberate on the pandemic, Ukraine war, food shortages, vaccines and climate issues.

“We are dealing with crisis on top of global crisis,” shared Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network and a United Nations finance expert. “Most countries were struggling to get through the pandemic and couldn't confront the challenges of climate change. Now the Ukraine war is creating a growing food crisis for many of those same countries.”

In a petition to G7 leaders, more than 50 African religious leaders asked for relief measures for the continent struggling with food, climate and health crises. Jubilee USA worked with religious leaders in Africa on the statement. Signers of the statement include Bishops and representatives from the Catholic Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, Caritas Africa, the Church of Pentecost in Ghana and the All Africa Conference of ChurchesIn addition to other measures, the religious leaders requested “debt relief initiatives for African countries, and . . . measures, including domestic legislation, to compel full public and private creditor participation and transparency.”

Legislation currently before New York State lawmakers requires private creditors to provide debt relief at the same level that governments and public institutions provide to struggling countries. More than 60% of developing country debt is in private sector hands.

“Inflation, economic shocks and food shortages are all tied to the debt crises developing countries are facing,” stated LeCompte. “The single most meaningful commitment the G7 could make is to support legislation in G7 countries that ensures private and commercial lenders contribute to debt relief."

While debt and inflation will be key focuses of the upcoming meetings, leaders are set to endorse a global initiative for food security and a plan to address climate change.

“G7 countries hold about $400 billion in emergency pandemic currency that could be given to development banks and used to tackle climate and food challenges,” noted LeCompte.

The International Monetary Fund created $650 billion in emergency currency known as Special Drawing Rights for coronavirus relief last year. The majority of these funds were received by developed countries who can donate the funds to developing countries. Several of these wealthy countries pledged $60 billion of their Special Drawing Rights to fund IMF cheap loans to developing countries.

Read the African religious leaders' petition to G7 leaders here

Read Jubilee USA's press release on the New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act here

Read Jubilee USA's press release on the G7 finance ministers meeting 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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World Trade Organization Vaccine Decision Won't Do Enough to Address the Pandemic in Developing Countries, Says Development Group

Washington DC – Ministers of World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries agreed on a limited waiver of COVID-19 vaccine patents to help developing countries acquire coronavirus vaccines.

For countries struggling to protect their people against continued COVID outbreaks, this decision won't do enough," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. “After more than two years of a pandemic that cost millions of lives, developing countries need a suspension of multiple WTO rules in order to boost access to vaccines, tests and treatments."

Meeting for the first time since 2017, the WTO Ministerial lasted an additional day due to difficulties in achieving a consensus. In certain circumstances, the new decision allows developing countries to make vaccines without having to seek the vaccine patent owner’s approval. Development groups argue that similar vaccine approvals already largely exist, in WTO rules before this deal. 

The International Monetary Fund estimates that more than 100 countries will fail to reach vaccination targets to contain the pandemic globally. WTO members agreed to negotiate possible extensions of the waiver for tests and treatments within six months.

“Tests and treatments should have been part of the same package," added LeCompte. "Access to tests, treatments and vaccines is essential to limit the threat of new and deadlier mutations that can affect all of us.” 

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

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New York Legislation Resolves Developing Country Debt Crises and Protects US Taxpayers

Bill Can Ease Global Supply Shocks and Help Vulnerable People Weather Pandemic and Ukraine Economic Shocks

Washington DC  A New York State Assembly bill requires private creditors to join debt relief initiatives for developing nations struggling with debt crises, the pandemic and Ukraine war-related economic shocks. The New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act, was introduced in May by Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, Chair of the Banks Committee. 

“This legislation will help resolve debt in developing countries more easily, many of whom are reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and Ukraine invasion,” said Fahy. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation and require that private creditors join in debt relief funding deals for developing countries to resolve financial and debt crises. While you might not know it, most of the world’s private debt is arbitrated here in New York, and this legislation will provide much needed debt relief across the board.”

Over 50% of the world's debt held by private creditors is contracted under New York State law. Fahy's bill ensures private creditors participate in debt relief initiatives at the same level as the US government, other governments and other creditors.

In the first year of the pandemic, developing country debt rose by five times the average increase of previous years. Under the leadership of the Trump and Biden Administrations, G20 countries established a process that allows up to 73 of the world’s poorest countries to obtain debt relief from all creditors. Although the G20 and US government were clear that private creditors should provide debt relief, private creditors have not announced any debt relief agreements to date.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and the IMF consider pandemic-related economic disruptions are partly responsible for record-high inflation in the US. Supporters of the legislation assert that US and New York residents benefit from the bill.

“People living in New York and across the United States face supply shocks and health risks because of crises in developing countries,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development coalition Jubilee USA Network. LeCompte's bipartisan organization won numerous global debt relief agreements over the group's 25 year history. “Other countries whose courts settle debt disputes should follow Assemblymember Fahy’s leadership and implement similar critical initiatives.”

While the majority of the world's private sector and bank debt is contracted under New York law, more than 40% is contracted under United Kingdom laws. The remaining portion is mostly held by Germany, France, Japan, Singapore, Belgium and Australia.

"This New York State bill is modeled after highly successful legislation in the UK, to ensure that taxpayer money sent to feed the hungry is not diverted to pay creditors," said Georgetown Law professor Anna Gelpern, who participated in discussions on this legislation. "The new law would be an important addition to the crisis management toolkit at a time when debts in countries are at critical levels, and governments are struggling to meet their citizens' basic human needs. A transparent, coordinated, equitable debt resolution process is essential to get us through this period." 

View the NY Taxpayer and International Debt Crisis Protection Act and Bill Memo here.

Read Jubilee USA's press release on the introduction of the bill 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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G7 Presses China and Private Creditors on Debt Relief

Ukraine War, Debt and Inflation were Focuses of the G7 Meeting

Washington DC – G7 finance ministers issued their strongest statement to date pressing China and the private sector to engage in debt relief efforts for developing countries. Germany, holding the G7 presidency this year, hosted the meetings in Bonn and Königswinter.

“The G7 put the spotlight on the need for China and the private sector to participate in debt relief initiatives,” noted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network. LeCompte has monitored the G7 meetings for more than a decade.

G7 countries stressed the need for private creditors to participate in debt relief. On Thursday, New York State Assemblymember Patricia Fahy introduced the New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act. The bill compels private creditors operating under New York State law to participate in debt relief initiatives at the same level as the US government, other governments and other creditors.

“New York legislative action ensures private creditors will participate in the debt relief that the G7 is calling for,” added LeCompte.

The G7 pledged to support Sri Lanka debt restructuring efforts as the developing country became the latest one to default.

“The fact that Sri Lanka is not covered by current debt relief agreements shows the urgency of expanding relief initiatives to more countries facing crises,” stated LeCompte.

The Ukraine war, inflation, food and climate action were key aspects of the three-day meetings. G7 presidents and heads of state meet in Schloss Elmau, Germany in June.

Read our press release on the newly-introduced New York Private creditor bill here.

Read the full G7 Finance Ministers Communiqué here.

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New York Legislation Focuses on Pandemic Aid for Developing Countries and Requires Private Creditors Join in Debt Relief Deals for Poor Nations

US Taxpayers, Consumers and Economy Poised to Benefit from Action

Washington DC  A newly introduced bill in New York State aims to help resolve debt and economic crises that developing countries face in the wake of the pandemic.

"Most of the world's private debt is contracted and arbitrated under New York State law," noted Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development coalition, Jubilee USA Network. LeCompte serves on United Nations debt working groups. "As most countries face terrible economic and debt crises due to the pandemic and the Ukraine war, decisions made in New York will impact how developing countries can resolve their debt crises."

Under the New York Taxpayer and International Debt Crises Protection Act, private creditors would participate in debt relief initiatives at the same level as the US government, other governments and other creditors. State Assemblymember Patricia Fahy sponsors the legislation introduced on Thursday.

The supporters of the legislation point out that the bill will benefit New York residents too.

“The bill addresses debt crises in developing countries, protects US taxpayers and helps limit economic and supply shocks,” said LeCompte whose organization has won more than $130 billion in debt relief initiatives for poor countries.

The pandemic accelerated economic crises in developing countries, which saw debt rise in 2020 by five times the average increase of previous years. The US led the G20 to create a process that allows up to 73 of the world’s poorest countries to obtain debt relief from all creditors. Currently, Chad, Ethiopia and Zambia have requested relief from the G20 Common framework process. The newly-introduced bill requires that all private creditors who fall under New York State law participate in the G20 and other international relief processes.

“Debt relief is longstanding US policy with bipartisan support,” added LeCompte. “Facing the pandemic in developing countries and ensuring long-term financial stability requires that all creditors support debt relief."

Private creditors hold more than 60% of debt of developing countries. Research shows that when debt restructurings take place, private creditors receive on average 20% more than their public taxpayer-funded peers.

“Resolving debt crises is about protecting people in developing countries and protecting against inflation and the other impacts these crises have on our own economy,” shared LeCompte.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and the IMF consider pandemic-related economic disruptions, later worsened with the Ukraine war, are behind rapid price rises hitting consumers in the US and other wealthy economies. US inflation reached a four-decade high in March. 

View the NY Taxpayer and International Debt Crisis Protection Act and Bill Memo 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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Biden, G7, G20 Host Second COVID Summit

Leaders Pledge Vaccines, Treatments and Health Investment

Washington, DC – President Biden hosted heads of state and philanthropy and private sector leaders for a second summit on COVID-19 response. At the virtual gathering, leaders of over 35 countries pledged actions to vaccinate 70% of the world population, expand access to tests and treatments and invest in global health security.

“Too many developing countries lack access to vaccines, treatments and medical equipment to fight the coronavirus,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. “The White House is playing a vital coordinating role for a global response to the health crises spurred by the pandemic.”

President Biden co-hosted the summit with chairs of the G7, G20, the African Union and CARICOM. In September, the Biden Administration organized the first COVID summit, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

The World Health Organization estimates 15 million people have died due to the coronavirus. In Africa, only 12% of the population is fully vaccinated. 

Continued spread of the virus keeps alive the threat of new mutations that could be more lethal or elude vaccines," added LeCompte. "Now developing countries are also dealing with food and fuel challenges because of the war in Ukraine. Without more aid and debt relief, many countries won't have the resources to confront the pandemic or prepare for future health threats."

The US pledged additional funds for a proposed global pandemic fund at the World Bank that the G20 supports, bringing the US total pledges to $450 million. At the meeting World Bank chief David Malpass announced he expects to launch the fund, which collected almost $1 billion in commitments, in June.

Biden reaffirmed the US commitment to deliver one billion vaccines to developing countries, half of which the US already sent.

“While vaccine distribution played into the conference, much of the focus was on preparing for future health crises,” stated 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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