Debt relief for Haiti (sort of)

Haiti is finally getting some relief from its debilitating international debt. Unfortunately, it’s also getting some more debt.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed Wednesday to drop Haiti’s USD $268 million obligation to the agency, to help speed up reconstruction efforts in the earthquake-stricken country. But on the same day, the IMF also announced its plan to loan Haiti another USD $60 million.

The three-year loan is meant to help stabilize the value of Haiti’s currency, which ideally will prevent spikes in the cost of food and other basic necessities.

Oxfam welcomes the IMF’s decision to cancel Haiti’s existing debt, but believes this new aid package should be a grant, not a loan.

“Anyone who owns a credit card will understand that this is not a route to solvency,” says Oxfam International’s policy advisor, Pamela Gomez. “Haiti is an extremely poor country and the massive calamity that it suffered in January makes it a special case.” Gomez says the IMF should change its rules to allow grants in exceptional circumstances, “as is so obviously the case here.”

Find out more about Oxfam’s work in Haiti.

Read more about the IMF’s Haiti strategy.