Haiti’s debt – your voice has made a difference

News article written on the 15 Feb 2010

Just three weeks ago a worldwide coalition of organisations, including Oxfam, launched a campaign to help Haiti’s long-term recovery from the terrible earthquake that has devastated the country.

With your support we wanted persuade the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the international community to cancel Haiti’s debt, which before the earthquake stood at a staggering $890 million dollars.

In the aftermath of the earthquake the IMF pledged more money to help Haiti rebuild their shattered country. However, this money was offered in the form of loans – simply meaning that more debt would be piled on this already beleaguered country. We called on the IMF to make sure that all new money pledged to Haiti came in the form of grants – not a loan that will make the debt bigger.

Thanks to the more than 415,000 people who signed the petition worldwide, it looks increasingly likely that the debt burden will be lifted off Haiti’s shoulders – and stay off.

At a recent meeting of the richest 7 Finance Ministers – the G7 -we handed over your signature to the Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty along with signatures from Avaaz, ONE and Jubilee Debt Campaign.. He clearly stated support for your demands, saying: “The earthquake caused unprecedented damage that requires exceptional measures. We agreed that the debt should not be a burden that will weigh on the recovery of the country.”

The G7 Ministers went on to highlight their commitment to ensuring all money Haiti owes to the IMF is written off.  This is vital to help the country recover from devastation that is on the scale of the 2004 Tsunami.

All G7 countries have the power to make this happen – they have the kind of influence needed in the IMF to make sure these bold words are backed up with swift action.  And thanks to you they are now on the case.  The full cancellation of Haiti’s debt is closer than ever before — and we hope the details will be hammered out quickly.

We’ll continue to keep the pressure up on the IMF and rich countries to make sure that the poorest people in Haiti see the difference soon, and that they are helped back onto their feet.

Thank you to all of you who helped by supporting the campaign.

Find out more about Oxfam’s humanitarian response to the Haiti earthquake.