Friday, January 22, 2010

Real Help for Haiti (ONE Campaign)

Debt Relief for Haiti -- ONE Campaign
For a country like Haiti —- the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere —- a natural disaster can reverse years of development gains. Before the earthquake hit, the country faced tremendous challenges. But it had also found great reason to hope. Recent years had brought a more stable government and tenuous gains in the fight against poverty. The country had also reached a significant milestone in the debt cancellation process: $1.2 billion owed to bilateral and multilateral institutions had been completely dropped, erasing most -— but not all -— of Haiti's debt. With aid now pouring in, it's time to make sure that our support helps the Haitian people realize their dream for a stronger, more secure nation. While the Haitian and other governments work together on the initial rescue and relief efforts, we can help lay the foundation for a smooth recovery and rebuilding effort. First, the international community should cancel Haiti's $1 billion in remaining debt. This will help ensure that future dollars go towards rebuilding a stronger Haiti, not to servicing old debts. Our global community must also ensure that any emergency earthquake assistance is provided in the forms of grants, not debt-incurring loans. By providing grants, Haiti will be able to invest all their resources into education, health, the economy—rather than repaying new IOUs. Thankfully, the United States has already forgiven Haiti's past debts and now only gives assistance in the form of grants. We need Haiti's other creditors -— the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and countries like Taiwan and Venezuela —- to follow this lead and do the same.

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