The Jubilee Act (HR 2634/ S. 2166): Cancels impoverished country debt in 67 countries, prohibits harmful economic and policy conditions on debt cancellation, mandates transparency and responsibility in lending from governments and international financial institutions, calls for a new legal framework to restrict the activities of predatory “vulture funds,” and calls for a U.S. audit of debts resulting from odious and illegitimate lending.
There are only 55 working days on Congress’ calendar this year. Most of them are scheduled early in the year before the presidential campaign enters its final stage this summer. In short, the time to act is now!
This bill would expand eligibility for debt cancellation to 67 impoverished countries. Without debt cancellation these 67 countries will not be able to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The year 2008 leaves only seven more years to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), global commitments that would cut extreme poverty in half by 2015. Yet, as we draw closer to 2015, we remain very far from meeting these goals.
The Jubilee Act (HR 2634) is one of the most important pieces of legislation addressing global poverty in the past seven years.
Already countries benefiting from 100 percent debt cancellation have put these funds towards poverty alleviation:
+ In Burundi, elimination of school fees in 2005 allowed an additional 300,000 children to enroll.
+ In Zambia, 4,500 new teachers have been hired and fees for rural healthcare have been abolished.
+ In Tanzania, more than 31,000 new classrooms were built and net enrollment rose by almost 30 percent in 2003.
+ In Burkina Faso, debt relief savings have been targeted to fight AIDS, improve education, and provide access to safe drinking water.
While we commend the United States and other G-8 leaders for taking action in 2005 to cancel the debts of 22 impoverished countries, still far too many nations in Asia and Africa have been left out of the 2005 agreement and harmful IMF and World Bank policy conditions continue to be required in order for countries to qualify for debt cancellation.
Please co-sponsor the Jubilee Act (H.R. 2634/ S. 2166) — important legislation that addresses the unfinished agenda on debt.