December 21, 2014

UN Body Calls To Cancel Ebola Debt

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) called for debt cancellation for the three West Africa countries hardest hit by the Ebola epidemic. UNECA's call for debt relief comes in a report on Ebola's economic impact that notes the disease's broad impact on West African economies. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone owe nearly $3 billion in foreign debt. Guinea, where the outbreak began, spends more money on debt service than on public health.

Debt relief is needed to address the immediate Ebola concern and to address the reality that too many people die of preventable diseases in these countries," stated Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious antipoverty coalition, Jubilee USA.

In November, the US government called for $100 million in debt relief for affected poor countries and brought a debt relief plan developed by Jubilee USA to the annual G20 meetings. In Brisbane, Australia, the G20 announced a $300 million package of debt relief, loans and grants. The plan is currently being developed by the International Monetary Fund.

"Too much of this debt comes from dictatorships, corruption, one-party rule and civil war," said LeCompte.

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