Washington DC - President Trump signed a year-end spending bill which authorizes the first phase of debt relief for Somalia. Earlier in the week Congress passed the spending package which included $35 million to begin paying the principle of $1.1 billion in US held Somalia debt.
"Relieving Somalia's debt could mean building new roads, women's empowerment, kids going back to school and moving forward measures to end extreme poverty," stated Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA. Jubilee USA worked on debt relief for Somalia for the last two years.
On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund announced it is organizing the cancellation of its share of Somalia debt which stands at around $140 million.
"We are seeing good progress from the United States Government and the IMF on Somalia debt relief," noted LeCompte who serves on United Nations debt expert groups. "Almost three-quarters of the Somalia population lives in extreme poverty and debt relief is desperately needed."
Somalia owes about $4.6 billion in debt. The United States is the largest creditor holding $1.1 billion in Somalia debt. The majority of the remainder of the debt is held by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, France and Italy.