The United Kingdom announced today it is donating approximately $50 million to the new International Monetary Fund (IMF) debt relief fund. The IMF created the fund - the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCR) - last week as part of its $330 million Ebola financing package. As part of that package, the IMF announced $100 million in Ebola debt relief and called on governments to contribute $70 million more. The UK is the first government to donate.
The CCR is an important tool in the fight against poverty - it provides a pool of debt relief money for poor countries impacted by natural disasters or health crises. The fund is the successor to the Post Catastrophe Debt Relief Trust (PCDR) that Jubilee USA moved the IMF to create after Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake. The IMF used the PCDR to cancel Haiti's debt.
Jubilee USA urged the White House in successive meetings last Fall to use the PCDR for Ebola-impacted countries. Those three countries - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - pay tens of millions of dollars in debt each year and are three of the poorest countries on earth. In November, the White House took Jubilee's proposal to the G20, calling on the IMF to cancel $100 million in Ebola debt. At the G20, the IMF announced a $300 million package, which it then unveiled last week.