Washington, DC - The leadership of a religious development group wrote the head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, to help stop negative economic consequences of the Covid-19 virus.
"Economic forecasts warn that a possible financial crisis or depression, spurred by the coronavirus, could be worse than the 2008 financial crisis," warned the letter sent on Monday to the IMF from Jubilee USA's executive officers, Celeste Drake, Reverend Steve Herder, Rabbi Matthew Cutler, Reverend Aniedi Okure and Eric LeCompte. "Nearly 100 million people, mostly women and children, were pushed into extreme poverty and 22 million jobs were lost worldwide in the 2008 crisis."
The letter urges expanded debt relief and aid to bolster health-care for developing countries impacted by the coronavirus. Additional letter recommendations include debt payment moratoriums, improved debt restructuring, encouraging public budget approval processes for countries and raising revenue by curbing corruption, tax evasion and tax avoidance.
One of the specific solutions advocated in the letter was expanding an IMF process which delivered health-care aid through debt relief and a grant-like process during the 2014 Ebola epidemic that devastated Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Jubilee USA worked with the IMF, G20, US Treasury and the White House to establish this process, the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust.
"We have processes that can be tailored to offer immediate aid for poor countries impacted by the pandemic," said Jubilee USA Executive Director, Eric LeCompte who signed the IMF Covid-19 letter and worked on the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust. "The IMF needs to make it easier for countries to qualify for the aid as the virus spreads."
The global Covid-19 death toll surpassed 15,000, the stock market lost one-third of its value and some unemployment projections balloon to 20-30%.
"A well-designed, globally-coordinated response from the international community can go a long way to prevent and mitigate the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis and move us towards a recovery path," the letter continued. "The IMF should encourage countries and global institutions to enact agreements on responsible lending, financial transparency and limiting risky market behavior."