Debt relief for countries most affected by Ebola

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.N. 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, where the outbreak began, spends more money on debt service than on public health.

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," said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious antipoverty coalition, Jubilee USA.

In November, the U.S. government called for $100 million in debt relief for affected poor countries. It brought a debt-relief plan developed by Jubilee USA to the annual G20 meetings.

The G20 at its meeting in Brisbane, Australia, announced a $300 million package of debt relief, loans and grants. The plan is being developed by the International Monetary Fund.

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

Editor's note: Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 U.S. 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.

For more information, read the following:

United Methodist Resolution

“Global Debt Crisis: A Call for Jubilee” (#4053 in the 2012 Book of Resolutions) emphasizes that a debt crisis continues to cripple poor countries. “The burden of repaying the debt continues to prevent them from providing adequate health care, education and food for their people,” the resolution states. You can read the resolution at Global Debt Crisis.”

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