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Last Updated: Monday, 2 June, 2003, 09:44 GMT 10:44 UK
African debt relief 'not enough'
Andrew Walker
BBC Economics Correspondent in Evian

The presidents of the World Bank (left), South Africa (centre) and Nigeria (right)
Smiles despite the criticism
A group of African leaders who were guests at the summit of the G8 major powers have criticised their hosts' performance on debt relief for poor countries, most of them in Africa.

After a working dinner in the French alpine resort of Evian, one African leader said the debt relief initiative run by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank had delivered too little too late and had little impact.

The debt relief scheme for the poorest countries has been running for more than six years.

It is often criticised for delivering insufficient debt relief too slowly to too few countries.


After a discussion with the G8 leaders of their plans to help Africa, one of the continent's leaders - the Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo - spelled out his criticism of what is called the Highly Indebted Poor Countries' Initiative or HIPIC.

"There has been little giving too late. HIPIC came in little bits and pieces and the effect is that it really hasn't made a tremendous impact," President Obasanjo said.

The scheme has already been enhanced once in response to similar complaints but much of the benefit has been negated by the recent decline in the prices of commodities that many African countries' economies depend upon.

As a result, many are receiving less foreign income so they don't get the full benefit of any reduction in debt payments.

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