Haiti and Third World Debt Cancellation

A friend just informed me that the Jubilee Act will be presented to Congress this fall.  Jubilee USA is an organization dedicated to helping get third-world debt cancelled by organizations such as the IMF.  My limited reading has led me to the debt-cancellation topic in an admittedly cursory way so far, but I've read incredibly respected economists (i.e. Jeff Sachs, who has been called in to help overhaul massive countries in economic crises such as Poland, the Soviet Union, and even China) insist that debt cancellation is an integral step in helping countries get a hold of even the bottom rung of the development ladder.  So much third-world debt is imposed by organizations with out-of-touch and unrealistic conditions because they don't make the effort to individualize loan requirements based on heterogenous needs and have the blanket qualifications and conditions, despite the unique issues going on in each country.  

Debt cancellation for Haiti was going on even before the earthquake, and the country was making progress. It was argued that Haiti began its independent history unjustly indebted to France, and had no chance of pulling itself out (not to mention its history of dictators and other natural disasters). The U.S. had forgiven Haiti's debt in 2009. Post-earthquake, debt was forgiven by the International Development Bank, countries like Canada, and the IMF.  It heartens me to hear about this trend, considering much of the aid to Haiti still hasn't been delivered.

Comments