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Wednesday, 27 February, 2002, 11:50 GMT
Ghana gets debt relief
Pamdu village
Ghana remains one of the poorest countries in the world
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank have agreed to support a debt-relief package for Ghana.

The poverty-stricken West African country will get $893m from the two organisations, which will partly cover Ghana's debt-service obligations to international financial institutions.

The World Bank package, totalling $781m, will be delivered over 20 years, and will cover two-thirds of the country's debt-service obligations.

The IMF will provide $112m over the next eight years.

Other creditors are expected to provide the rest of the $3.7bn debt relief package.

Boost for education and health

The funds made available by the debt relief are to be used for financing education and health programmes and improving infrastructure in rural areas.

The government of Ghana is developing a detailed plan for use of the funds under the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy, which is expected to be finalised in the first half of 2002.

The World Bank praised Ghana's efforts to reduce poverty particularly in urban regions, and in the areas where the country's main exports - cocoa, gold and timber - are produced.

But weak fiscal and monetary policy as well as falling prices for cocoa and gold has put the country under severe pressure.

The current debt relief programme is a part of Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, launched by the World Bank and the IMF in 1996.

Anthony Akoto Osei, Ghana finance ministry
"Before the end of the year the impact will be felt"
See also:

22 Feb 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Ghana
21 Feb 02 | Africa
Ghana's $20 million rice scandal
06 Feb 02 | Business
Ghana 'misled' IMF
03 Feb 02 | Entertainment
Bono campaigns at debt relief summit
28 Nov 01 | Business
Tanzania gets $3bn debt relief
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