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6639: Re: 6625 Arthur replies to Schieber (fwd)

Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2001 18:55:07 -0000

Keywords: debt, structural adjustment, IMF, World Bank, PAPDA

Jack Schieber notes that recntly the World Bank and the International 
Monetary Fund forgave the debt of a number of third world countries in 
Africa and Central America. But Haiti was not one of them.

The reason is that when the IMF and the WB came up with their Heavily 
Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative they drew a list of 40 or so 
countries that could qualify for debt relief (if they swallowed structural 
adjustment programmes without choking to death)- most of them in Africa. 
Haiti was not on this list, despite the fact that it is undeniably poor and 
undeniably heavily indebted.

In this context, listers will be interested perhaps to read my translation 
of a recent SICRAD despatch, below.

BTW, for details on the campaign to get Haiti's debt cancelled see the Haiti 
Support Group web site: 

Charles Arthur

The IMF insists on structural adjustment in Haiti

SICRAD - 8 January 2001

The IMF on 5 January expressed its concerns about Haiti's economic situation 
and the effects of the prolonged political deadlock on the external 
assistance, investment and economic reform. The IMF recommends a reinforced 
structural adjustment policy and indicates that a good performance is an 
essential condition for new negotiations with the Haitian authorities and 
the reduction of Haiti's debt.

The picture drawn by the IMF highlights an increase in the budget deficit 
which has passed 2,2% of the GDP, a deficit financed by the central bank, an 
increase in the fiscal deficit and a decline in government revenue of 7,8% 
of the PIB, a strong depreciation of the Gourde accompanied by a rise in the 
rate of inflation and a reduction in the foreign-exchange reserves down to 
US$170 million, that is to say, a decrease of 40 million.

The IMF insists on the programme of privatization of the public companies, 
the ports, airports, electricity, telecommunications, water, etc... A pilot 
programme called the decentralization of electricity has  just been launched 
by the government with the handing-over to the mayors from Jacmel, Cayes, 
Gonaives and Cap-Haitien, of the local sectors of the EDH.

The Haitian Platform to Advocate for an Alternative Development (PAPDA), 
which calls for the cancellation of Haiti's debt, observes a change in the 
discourse of the IMF concerning Haiti's external debt. The IMF at last seems 
to accept that Haiti is one of the most heavily indebted poor countries, 
notes the PAPDA.

However, the PAPDA regards it as absurd to bind the cancellation of Haiti's 
debt to the conditionalities of reinforced structural adjustment. The debt, 
the PAPDA points out, is a by-product of global economic injustice and the 
policies applied in Third World countries that are dictated by the 
international financial institutions.
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