On September 29 President Clinton announced that the administration would erase 100 percent of the debt owed to the United States by 30 heavily indebted poor countries. Much of the credit for this move goes to the grassroots efforts of the Jubilee 2000 movement for debt cancellation. Jubilee welcomed the pledge saying, "If the U.S. announcement has the intended effect and results in other major creditors matching this challenge, the impact in terms of new resources for poverty reduction could be significant."
Marie Dennis, chair of the Religious Task Force on the World Bank and IMF, echoed this sentiment, stating, "This is a welcome step, as it goes beyond any commitment the United States has made thus far."
While celebrating the victory, activists will continue to press for a just implementation of debt relief. "The real value of any debt cancellation is determined by how well it serves the needs of the poorest people," said Dennis, "and it will never be tested unless Congress sees fit to appropriate the necessary money."