Last Friday, Jubilee USA Network organized an international conference call about the urgent economic crisis. The call included representatives from Latin America, labor unions, and the Vatican.
“The global economy will enter a deflationary spiral and crash if the IMF and G20 don’t take action now.”
– Damon Silvers, Director of Policy and Special Counsel, AFL-CIO
“The IMF still doesn’t understand this crisis. They don’t get it. We all need to push the IMF to act now.” – Father Augusto Zampini Davies, Special Holy See Task Force on COVID-19, Director of Development and Faith, Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, Holy See (Vatican), Italy
The coronavirus impacts all of us. But the reality for millions of people living in impoverished countries – countries already burdened with impossible debts to multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – is the possibility of death not from the coronavirus alone but from job loss, destitution, and starvation.
The IMF has cancelled debt during natural disasters before. Ten years ago, when earthquakes decimated Haiti, the IMF created a process to relieve Haiti’s debt and strengthen Haiti’s health and education systems. In 2015, as the Ebola epidemic devastated West Africa, the IMF established the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust to provide grants for debt relief for the poorest and most vulnerable countries hit by catastrophic natural disasters or public health disasters.
The IMF needs to cancel debt and expand aid on a global scale like never before.
“This is the time to revisit the purpose and role of the IMF,” Father Zampini said. “If they don’t cancel debt, the alternative is collapse.”