Jubilee USA

For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Sophia Har, Communications Director sophia@jubileeusa.org / (o) (202) 783-3566 x101 (m) (651) 815-1818

Countries Affected by Ebola Lose $1.4 Billion Annually to Debt, Corruption and Tax Evasion

Outflows Dwarf Money in Health Care and Prevention Budgets

WASHINGTON - New reports show that the Ebola-affected countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone lose an average of $1.4 billion each year to corruption, debt payments and tax evasion. Global Financial Integrity (GFI) calculates the three countries lost about $1.3 billion per year to corruption and tax evasion in the decade leading up to the Ebola outbreak. New World Bank data indicates the countries spent over $80 million on debt payments in 2013, the year the outbreak began. According to the World Bank, the countries spent a total of $270 million on public health in 2012.

"Debt, corruption and tax evasion are part of why people die in West Africa," stated Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, a religious development coalition. "The money was there to contain Ebola and save more people from preventable diseases."

Guinea, where the outbreak began, spent more on debt payments in 2012 than it spent on public health. Guinea spent $207 million on debt payments in 2013 and 2012. According to the Financial Times, the three countries owe the International Monetary Fund (IMF) nearly $480 million. Sierra Leone spent $2.3 million paying off debts since the IMF announced a debt relief plan in November and will spend nearly $2 million more before the end of the year. The three countries accrued much of their current debt burden during civil wars, dictatorships and one-party rule. US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew brought Jubilee USA's plan for debt relief to the November G20 meetings held in Brisbane, Australia. The G20 made a financing commitment to the three Ebola affected countries of 300 million dollars in debt relief, grants and new loans. The IMF could announce the financing plan as early as January. 

"Winning debt relief and stopping tax evasion provide long term monies for healthcare and development," said LeCompte, who serves on United Nations Expert Groups that address debt and illicit finance. "More people die from preventable diseases annually in these countries than from Ebola."

According to GFI, developing countries lose nearly $1 trillion each year to illicit flows. From 2003 - 2012, Liberia lost more than $900 million annually on average, while Guinea lost more than $300 million. In 2013, the G8 signed a joint declaration calling on the international community to curb corruption and corporate tax avoidance. This past August, during the White House Africa Summit, the Obama Administration announced a committee to make recommendations to address these outflows.

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

The media landscape is changing fast

Our news team is changing too as we work hard to bring you the news that matters most.

Change is coming. And we've got it covered.

"There's broad consensus that we need to keep money from flowing out of developing economies," added LeCompte. "There's so much the international community can do."

Read more about Ebola debt relief.

Read GFI's report on illicit financial flows.

Read the World Bank's new debt statistics.

###

We want a more open and sharing world.

That's why our content is free. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported.

All of our original content is published under Creative Commons—allowing (and encouraging) our articles to be republished freely anywhere. In addition to the traffic and reach our content generates on our site, the multiplying impact of our work is huge and growing as our articles flourish across the Internet and are republished by other large and small online and print outlets around the world.

Several times a year we run brief campaigns to ask our readers to pitch in—and thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Our 2019 Mid-Year Campaign is underway. Can you help? We can't do it without you.

Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 US organizations and 650 faith communities working with 50 Jubilee global partners. Jubilee USA builds an economy that serves, protects and promotes the participation of the most vulnerable. Jubilee USA wins critical global financial reforms and won more than $130 billion in debt relief to benefit the world's poorest people. www.jubileeusa.org

Share This Article