Welcome. Join Us.
Published: 26 Jan. 2010
Tom Hart hands IMF Spokeswoman Caroline Atkinson a CD with the petition's 150,000 signatures
Anti-poverty group delivers petition to IMF asking global creditors to drop Haiti's $1 billion debt
Washington, D.C.- ONE today delivered more than 150,000 signatures to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), calling on global creditors to immediately cancel Haiti's $1 billion debt and give the earthquake-stricken country a clean slate by ensuring that new aid comes in the form of grants, not debt-incurring loans. The petition was delivered in advance of IMF's Board meeting tomorrow, Jan. 27.
Of Haiti's $1 billion debt, the IMF holds a relatively small amount, $165 million, but swift action by the IMF would increase momentum and pressure on all creditors. The IMF intends to move quickly to provide immediate financial assistance on the most favorable terms that it has at its disposal, zero-interest loans.
The email petition was initially launched in the wake of the earthquake and, in addition to the IMF, is directed to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, international finance ministers, the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and bilateral creditors.
The IMF is the first to receive the petition, but in the weeks ahead, ONE is continuing a major global push to grow the number of signers and build support for Haitian debt relief around the world. The final petition will be delivered in February to the U.S. Treasury Department and to G7 finance ministers at the meeting of the G7 Finance Ministers in Canada.
"As the people of Haiti recover and rebuild, it's important we give them a fresh start by ensuring that Haiti's old debt is erased and new aid comes in the form of grants," said ONE's Government Relations Director Tom Hart, who delivered the petitions to the IMF. "ONE members from all over the world have joined this call to erase Haiti's debt, and support continues to grow every day."
"The debts we are seeking to cancel were from loans that were based on assumptions about Haiti's future growth and exports," Hart said. "Sadly, these assumptions are no longer appropriate in the aftermath of the earthquake. Continuing to hold Haiti to these debts would mean a portion of its reconstruction assistance would eventually be paid back to creditors. This revolving door - we provide Haiti with assistance, and Haiti then must pay back old loans - makes no sense.
"In the long run, by providing grants, Haiti will be able to invest all its resources into education, health, infrastructure and the economy-rather than repaying new IOUs."
The United States has already forgiven Haiti's past debts and now only gives assistance in the form of grants. But Haiti's other creditors, including the Inter-American Development Bank and World Bank-both of which the United States has major influence with-have yet to forgive all of Haiti's debt.
The debt relief effort, which has been joined by partners of ONE like Jubilee USA, is picking up traction. The head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has announced that no interest will be due on its emergency $100 million loan made after the earthquake.
"The most important thing is that the IMF is now working with all donors to try to delete all the Haitian debt, including our new loan," IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said. "If we succeed-and I'm sure we will succeed-even this loan will turn out to be finally a grant, because all the debt will have been deleted, and that's the very important thing for Haiti now." (Strauss-Kahn statement online at: www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2010/NEW012010A.htm)
The World Bank also recently announced an interest-free moratorium, which it intends to use to "find a way forward to cancel the remaining debt." Efforts in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to tackle this issue are promising, and Taiwan last week stated it is "studying how to offer debt relief" to Haiti.
Today, news outlets also report Venezuela intends to erase its portion of Haiti's debt. (http://www.etaiwannews.com/etn/news_content.php?id=1165490&lang=eng_news)
Much of Haiti's debt, $1.2 billion, was cancelled in June 2009 with the support of the international community when Haiti reached "completion point" in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program. However, the country still has $1 billion in debt on its books. This is because debt relief agreements from the IMF and other creditors only covered debts acquired up until 2004. New loans Haiti has received since then have been adding to its debt.
To view the petition, visit http://www.one.org/us/actnow/drophaitiandebt/
ONE is a global advocacy and campaigning organization backed by more than 2 million people from around the world dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. For more information please visit www.ONE.org
Contact: Kimberly Hunter, Kimberly.firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (202) 495-2792
is directed to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, international finance ministers, the IMF, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and bilateral creditors.
the IMF holds a relatively small amount, $165 million, but swift action by the IMF would increase momentum and pressure on all creditors.
Haiti's past debts, but Haiti's other creditors, including the Inter-American Development Bank, IMF and World Bank-all of which the United States has major influence with-have yet to forgive
in February to the U.S. Treasury Department and to G7 finance ministers at the meeting of the G7 Finance Ministers in Canada.
to provide immediate financial assistance on the most favorable terms that it has at its disposal, zero-interest loans.