I am delighted to announce that the IMF will grant 100% debt relief to 19 countries under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) amounting to about $3.3 billion, Rodrigo De Rato, the managing director of the fund said in a statement.
This is an historic moment, which will allow these countries to increase spending in priority areas to reduce poverty, promote growth, and to make progress towards achieving the millennium development goals, he said.
The 19 countries that qualify as a result of the first phase of the assessment include Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
They would receive the debt relief in early 2006, he said. Bringing the MDRI to this stage since it was proposed in June 2005 has taken an intensive effort, he added.
He maintained that the list of countries announced represented only the first phase and that there are other nations as well that are eligible and at various stages on the road to qualification under the MDRI.