Africa

United Nations Commission: Cancel Debt for Ebola Countries Report: West Africa Needs Debt Relief to Address Economic Challenges

 

 

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) released a report calling for debt cancellation for Ebola-impacted countries. The new report, "A Case for External Debt Cancellation for Ebola-Affected Countries," calls on multilateral institutions and governments to cancel Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea's debts. The report argues debt relief would provide necessary "breathing space" to address the region's economic challenges. All three countries are ranked in the bottom 15 in the United Nations' Human Development Index.

 "West Africa needs debt relief," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the debt relief organization Jubilee USA. "Debt relief will not only fight Ebola, it will also provide a long-term investment in healthcare for the countries."

UNECA first called for debt relief in December. In November, the United States government called for $100 million in debt relief and took its plan to the G20. At the request of the G20, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is currently considering a $300 million financing package that could include debt relief. In January, Guinea President Alpha Conde called for IMF debt relief. Guinea, where the outbreak began, spent more money on debt than on public health in the year before the epidemic began. All three countries have poverty rates above 50%.

"There is growing consensus for action," noted LeCompte, who serves on UN expert groups on debt. "Debt relief can provide additional financing the countries need."

Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 US organizations and 400 faith communities working with 50 Jubilee global partners. Jubilee's mission is to build an economy that serves, protects and promotes the participation of the most vulnerable. Jubilee USA has won critical global financial reforms and more than $130 billion in debt relief to benefit the world's poorest people. www.jubileeusa.org

 

Interview with Raj Patel on Nutrition Gender and Food Security in Africa

Raj Patel, the author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and The Value of Nothing, will speak on “Nutrition, Gender and Food Security in Africa." Patel is a Research Professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, a Visiting Professor at the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University in South Africa, and a Fellow at The Institute for Food and Development Policy. His current writing and film project is “Generation Food.” The event is sponsored by UT’s Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. Produced / Edited by Jeffry Zavala. Videography by Grace Alfar, Jeff Zavala, & Ellie Main. An Austin Indymedia Production. http://Austin.Indymedia.org

Raj Patel on Nutrition, Gender and Food Security in Africa

Raj Patel, the author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and The Value of Nothing, will speak on “Nutrition, Gender and Food Security in Africa." Patel is a Research Professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, a Visiting Professor at the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University in South Africa, and a Fellow at The Institute for Food and Development Policy. His current writing and film project is “Generation Food.” The event is sponsored by UT’s Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. Produced / Edited by Jeffry Zavala. Videography by Grace Alfar, Jeff Zavala, & Ellie Main. An Austin Indymedia Production. http://Austin.Indymedia.org

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