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African Development Bank Announces Debt Cancellation For African Countries

The African Development Bank has approved 8.54 billion dollars worth of debt cancellation for 13 African countries. The ADB, a development finance agency, took the step under what’s called the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative. The beneficiaries of the debt cancellation are Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. They qualified after completing the enhanced Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. A fourteenth country, Mauritania, will soon qualify.

Janvier Letsie is the ADB’s director of planning and budget. He told English to Africa reporter Ashenafi Abedje the debt cancellation translates into additional resources for the beneficiary countries. He said these countries can now use “debt services, which ought to have been paid back to the African Development Fund, for their own development projects.”

The ADB official says for immediate benefits, eligible countries had to reach “the HIPC completion point and satisfy a number of criteria.” He says these include “satisfactory macroeconomic performance and satisfactory implementation of poverty reduction facilitators and a sound public expenditure management system.” Letsie says, “Nineteen more countries will begin to receive debt relief as soon as they reach the HIPC completion point.”