G8 promises under threat
10 December 2005There is a serious danger that SIX of the 18 countries promised extra debt cancellation from January 2006 will not get it. On 8 December 2005, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its plan for delivering the debt cancellation promised by world leaders this year. It announced that the 18 countries which qualify for this cancellation must pass another economic test in order to receive debt cancellation from January 2006. These countries have already had to spend years complying with harmful and undeomcratic conditions - such as privatising industries, cutting spending and abolishing support for their own farmers and producers - in order to qualify for previous debt relief. The latest information is that IMF staff are pushing for six countries - Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Rwanda and Senegal - to fail this test, meaning their debt cancellation will be delayed and made dependent on yet more economic policy conditions. Jubilee Debt Campaign is asking all members to take action now, before a crucial meeting on 21 December, and urge IMF directors not to deny or delay promised debt relief. Background
In 2005, world leaders promised immediate and irrevocable debt cancellation for 18 countries. The IMF is now back-tracking on this commitment. Its staff is recommending that six countries are left out of debt cancellation in January because they are "off track" with IMF economic programs. These countries have already complied with years of onerous conditions imposed by foreign creditors as requirements for debt cancellation. Despite the fact that many of these debts were illegitimate in the first place - a result of irresponsible lending or for failed projects - these extremely impoverished nations have been paying the IMF at the expense of desperately needed investment in health, education, and clean water. Further delays to debt cancellation will cost lives. A meeting of the IMF Executive Directors on Wednesday 21 December will decide which countries pass the test and are granted immediate debt relief.