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World Bank waives Haiti debt payments

world Updated: Jan 22, 2010 00:17 IST

AFP
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The World Bank said today it was waiving Haiti's debt payments for the next five years due to the devastation caused by the earthquake and is studying efforts to cancel the nation's remaining debt.

In a statement, the Washington-based multilateral lender said Haiti's debt to the World Bank, which is interest-free, is about USD 38 million or around four per cent of Haiti's total external debt.

"Due to the crisis caused by the earthquake, we are waiving any payments on this debt for the next five years and at the same time we are working to find a way forward to cancel the remaining debt," the statement said.

Last week the World Bank said it planned to provide an additional USD 100 million in emergency aid to Haiti after the January 12 earthquake ravaged the impoverished nation.

Officials fear up to 200,000 people were killed.

Since 2005 the development lender said it has provided grants -- interest-free aid -- of USD 363 million to the Caribbean nation, the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

That amount does not include the USD 100 million in grants announced on January 13, it said.

The World Bank and its sibling institution the International Monetary Fund classify Haiti among "heavily indebted poor countries" that are eligible for debt forgiveness. Haiti was granted USD 1.2 billion in debt relief last June.

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