Brown pledges international debt relief, UK
Feb 6 2005

Brown pledges international debt relief
Sun Feb 6, 2005 1:42 PM GMT

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will provide immediate debt relief for 19
of the world’s poorest countries in a move that will cost 26.5
million this year.

Chancellor Gordon Brown’s pledge came after the Group of Seven rich
nations agreed at the weekend that they are willing to provide up to
100 percent debt relief owed by impoverished countries to the
international institutions.

“The 100 per cent debt summit this year has started with one major
breakthrough: a victory in the fight to make today’s poverty
history,” Brown wrote in a letter to the organisers of the Make
Poverty History campaign, released by the Treasury on Sunday.

Currently, about 80 percent of the debt faced by the poorest
countries is owed to organisations like the International Monetary
Fund and World Bank.

While proposals on how to write off IMF debt will be brought forward
in April, Brown wants the richest donor countries to take over a
proportionate share of the debt and has taken the lead on this by
agreeing to underwrite 10 percent of the total.

On his recent visit to Africa, Brown signed agreements with Tanzania
and Mozambique to take over 10 percent of their debt to the World
Bank and African Development Bank, and said that the same offer was
potentially available to the world’s 70 poorest countries provided
they met the conditions for relief.

Similar agreements have now been reached with 17 more poor countries:
Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Madagascar, Mauritania,
Niger, Senegal, Uganda, Bolivia, Guyana, Nicaragua, Armenia,
Mongolia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.