Open letter to G8 Finance Ministers calling for immediate debt cancellation for Haiti
11 June 2008
Hon. Minister Christine Lagarde
Hon. Minister Giulio Tremonti
Hon. Alistair Darling, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Hon. Minister Peer Steinbroeck
Hon. Minister Jim Flaherty
Hon. Henry Paulson Jr., Secretary of the Treasury
Hon. Minister Fukushiro Nukaga
Hon. Minister Alexei Kudrin
Re: Open letter to G8 Finance Ministers calling for immediate debt cancellation for Haiti
The undersigned civil society organisations from the Group of 8 nations and other European organisations urge all G8 Governments to support immediate multilateral and bilateral debt cancellation for Haiti or a moratorium on all debt service payments until such a time as the debt is cancelled.
With food prices on the rise in Haiti and social unrest in the impoverished nation increasing, Haiti can ill afford to make debt service payments of US$58.2 million in 2008.
This amounts to over US$1 million per week and represents scarce funds which could be better spent addressing the current food crisis and helping Haiti recover from years of economic, political and environmental turmoil.
In 2009, Haiti is projected to pay-out US$50.9 million in debt service payments to its creditors. If it does not reach completion point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC)
Initiative, this sum will rise to US$59.6 million. Given current political and social turmoil in the country it is highly likely that completion point under the international debt relief scheme will be delayed. This means that debt cancellation will happen too late for a country that currently cannot afford to feed its own people.
Moreover, much of Haiti’s debt was incurred during the dictatorships of the Duvaliers and Haitian citizens benefited little, if at all, from these loans.
In 2006 Haiti owed a total of US$ 1.3 billion to external creditors. US$ 1 billion of this is owed to multilateral lenders such as the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. In addition Haiti owes bilateral creditors important sums.
In 2006, Haiti owed Italy approximately US$ 70mn; France US$ 65 million; the United States US$ 15 million and Canada US$ 2.6 million. These sums represent relatively little to some of the world’s wealthiest nations but could mean critical investments in the development of Haiti’s agricultural, health and education systems could take place.
The G8 are extremely influential within the Board’s of the major multilateral financial institutions and should use this influence to call for immediate debt cancellation for Haiti.
In the context of current discussions over the global food crisis, we request your urgent support for immediate debt cancellation for Haiti or a moratorium on all debt service payments until such a time as the debt is cancelled at the forthcoming G8 Finance Ministers meeting on 13-14 June.
1. Gail Hurley, Policy Officer, European Network on Debt and Development (EURODAD)
2. Alessandra Spalletta, Coordination Europe-Hati (CoE-H)
3. Fraser Reilly-King, Halifax Initiative, Canada
4. Neil Watkins, Coordinator, Jubilee USA Network, USA
5. Sarah Williams, Policy Officer, Jubilee Debt Campaign, UK
6. Annie Girard, Reseau Foi & Justice Afrique-Europe, France
7. Charles Arthur, Director, Haiti Support Group, UK
8. Anne McConnell, Haiti Advocacy Platform Ireland-UK (HAPI-UK)
9. Jeremy Hobbs, Oxfam International
10. Daleep Mukarji, Director Christian Aid, UK
.Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director, Oxfam International
12. Chris Bain, Director, Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD)
13. Raphael Yves-Pierre, Director Action Aid Haiti
14. Paul Chitnis, Chief Executive, Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF)
15. Joseph Maxime RONY, Secretaire Executif du Programme pour une Alternative de Justice, PAJ, Haiti
16. Xavier Jadoul, charge de projets Haiti - Entraide et Fraternite, Belgique
17. Gudule Boland, desk officer for Haiti at Solidaridad, Nederland
18. Colette Lespinasse, directrice du Groupe d’Appui aux Refugies et Rapatries (GARR), Haiti 10. Suzanne Loiselle, directrice de L'Entraide missionnaire, Montreal, Quebec
20. Janine Bardonnet, Solidarite Laique, France
21. Jerge Petit, Solidarite Laique, France
22. Mathilde Bossard, chargee de projets aupres de Les Anneaux de la Memoire, France
23. Franck BARRAU, Secretaire General de l’org Droits de l'homme et gouvernements locaux, France
24. Delanoue Muriel, chargee de projets Haiti aupres de l’org Developper Former Informer (DEFI), France
25. Bernard Leray, Tresorier, Collectif Haiti de France
26. Stephane Compere, Charge de mission Amerique latine au CNCD-