World Bank member nations meeting in Washington have approved a debt relief plan for 17 African and Latin American countries that could total $37 billion over 40 years.
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said two-thirds of the bank members have now approved the plan, meaning the bank could start forgiving debts in July.
The move follows July's pledge from the wealthy G-8 countries to cancel the debt of the world's poorest countries, many of which are located in Africa.
The 17 countries now eligible for World Bank debt relief are Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Some information for this report was provided by AP.