Call for total cancellation of Haiti's debt
After Tuesday’s earthquake, which has left an estimated 200,000 dead, Jubilee Debt Campaign is calling for an urgent cancellation of debt payments as Haiti attempts to recover from the disaster.
In June 2009 thanks to the efforts of Jubilee supporters, two thirds ($1.2 billion) of Haiti's debt was cancelled. However as the deal only included debts accrued up to 2004, loans drawn since that time have been adding to national debt. Today Haiti still has $891m debt on its books.
Of this, more than half is owed to the International Monetary Fund and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and half to other countries including Venezuela and Taiwan. In 2010 Haiti is projected to pay around $10 million to the IMF and IDB. As the western hemisphere’s poorest country, with 76% of its population living in poverty, Haiti cannot be expected to repay such large sums, particularly in the light of the recent devastation.
We believe that all available funding should be given as grants - not loans. Currently the World Bank is putting together a deal to raise its current grants package to the country by $100 million, the IDB is making similar arrangements though this money may come in the form of loans, and the IMF has agreed to loan $100 million to Haiti, albeit at very low interest rates.
For one of the world's poorest countries to be offered a mere extension of loans in the wake of such a disaster is inappropriate. Nick Dearden, Director of Jubilee Debt Campaign said:
“Haiti’s poverty has been built on years of injustice perpetrated against the country by the rich world. It is inappropriate for institutions such as the IMF, which bare some responsibility for Haiti’s poverty, to be creating new loans with new, damaging conditions."