The IMF released the World Economic Outlook Report ahead of the annual IMF meetings. The report forecasts improvement for several advanced and emerging economies, including the United States, but notes that the recovery is uneven and vast inequality still continues. One of the principle issues the report reviews is how sustainable the debt loads are for both G20 and developing countries.
"The IMF acknowledges that investors are still concerned with unsustainable debt loads in developing economies," noted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network, a religious coalition focused on the impacts of the financial crisis on poor people. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know what the IMF reports. In a post financial crisis world, the rich have gotten richer and more people have been pushed into extreme poverty."
Over the last year the G20 has vigorously debated how to deal with unsustainable country debts and speculative investments, root causes of the global financial crisis. One year ago in Washington, G20 Financial Ministers discussed the possibility of an international sovereign bankruptcy process in order to provide stability in the international financial system. The IMF staff also released a paper ahead of last year's meetings which explored aspects of the process. Last fall during the St. Petersburg Summit, G20 heads of state discussed the process and invited the IMF to continue to review debt sustainability and debt issues. IMF staff continue to explore the process.
"The G20 and the IMF are asking will we be prepared twelve years from now when the next regional or global financial crisis hits," shared LeCompte. "It's tremendously exciting that global decision makers are reviewing these possibilities. An international bankruptcy process for countries provides international stability and predictability."
Sustainable debts is a theme of this year's annual IMF meetings. Jubilee USA, Jubilee Germany and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung New York Office have organized a high level panel during the meetings to focus on how debt sustainability impacts people living in extreme poverty. Policymakers, Finance Ministers and Sovereign Debt Lawyers will discuss debt sustainability and an international bankruptcy process for countries.
"One out of five people are living in extreme poverty. We can't solve inequality without solving unsustainable country debts," said LeCompte