The G8 will forgive 100% of the debt to 18 poor countries
The agreement signed by the finance ministers of the Group of Eight industrialized countries is part of a campaign led by the United Kingdom to rid sub-Saharan Africa of poverty and diseases such as malaria and AIDS, which kill millions of people every year. people.
British Finance Minister Gordon Brown said the agreement would condemn 100% of the debt immediately to 18 countries and that later more states could benefit.
“This is the most complete plea that finance ministers have ever made about debt and poverty,” he told a news conference.
“This is not a time for shyness, but for daring,” he added.
The agreement covered the debts with international loan agencies such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Those who campaign in favor of debt forgiveness welcomed the agreement, but demanded more.
“The debt agreement is very good news for the people of these 18 countries who will benefit immediately,” said Romilly Greenhill of ActionAid.
“However, it will do little to immediately help millions of people in at least 40 other countries that also need the forgiveness of 100% of their debt.”
Among the countries that will benefit immediately are Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
HELP IS STILL A PROBLEM
Britain, which welcomes the G8 this year, was determined to reach an agreement on the debt in the London talks but faces more difficult times to get support to double aid to Africa before a meeting with the leaders of the G8 in Gleneagles, Scotland, next month.
Pop star Bob Geldof and other artists are urging that a million people gather in Scotland next month to demand an agreement on aid to Africa.
The British finance minister had sought support for an International Finance Center that would double aid to the poorest countries to 100,000 million dollars by issuing bonds that use the budgets of rich nations as collateral.
But Washington opposed the plan so Brown would probably launch a pilot plan that would provide funds for vaccination programs in Africa without the support of the United States or Japan.
“The race to Gleneagles is underway but the G8 leaders still have many obstacles to overcome before reaching the goal,” said Oxfam policy advisor Max Lawson, who is pushing for an additional commitment of $ 50 billion a year. in help
Another nine nations will be able to benefit from the debt cancellation in a few months, which are: Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Sao Tome and Sierra Leone.
Humanitarian agencies estimate that there are 62 countries that need 100% debt forgiveness if they want to meet the Millennium Development Goals agreed at the United Nations in 2000, which include halving poverty and disease in 2005 .
/ By Fiona Shaikh and Katie Allen /
- The G8 reaches an agreement on debt forgiveness
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