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Last Updated: Friday, 30 June 2006, 07:35 GMT 08:35 UK
$37bn debt cut for poor nations
African woman collecting water
Most of the world's poorest countries are in Africa
The World Bank is preparing to cancel billions of dollars of debt owed to it by many of the world's poorest nations.

Some $37bn (20bn) in debt relief will be provided to 19 countries on 1 July, following agreements reached at last year's historic G8 summit in Scotland.

Leaders at the gathering in Gleneagles pledged to cancel the debts of many of world's most poorest countries, most of which are in Africa.

The move will provide debt relief to the countries over the next 40 years.

Deserve better

Additional debt relief will help these countries channel resources into programmes that directly help the people who need it most
Paul Wolfowitz, World Bank President

In order to receive relief, countries were required to meet strict criteria under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.

Some $17bn of debt relief has already been committed by the International Development Association arm of the World Bank.

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said commitments from leading donor nations meant wider debt relief could now be implemented.

"Additional debt relief will help these countries channel resources into programmes that directly help the people who need it most," he said.

The money would help millions of people "who need and deserve a better education, better health services, greater access to clean water, and greater opportunities to escape poverty".

The 19 countries which will receive full cancellation of their eligible debt are Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.




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