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World Bank hails progress on debt relief in highly indebted poor countries

12-08-2011 09:49 BJT

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Significant progress in reducing the debt burdens for some of the world's poorest countries has been made, but challenges still remain, revealed a joint World Bank-International Monetary Fund (IMF) report released on Wednesday.

The report, entitled Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI)-- Status of Implementation and Proposals for the Future of the HIPC Initiative, shows that 36 out of 40 HIPCs have reached the debt relief decision point, the stage in which they qualify for debt relief, and 32 of them have reached the completion point, where debt is irrevocably cancelled, the Washington-based World Bank said in a statement.

"These initiatives have been successful--there's been a lot of progress on debt relief for very poor countries. Debt burdens have been lowered and more resources made available to fight poverty," said Jeffrey Lewis, World Bank's Director for Economic Policy and Debt.

However, some challenges still remain, as progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been uneven, and only a quarter of completion point HIPC countries are on track to meeting the MDG1 to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, noted the statement.

The HIPC Initiative was launched by the World Bank and IMF in 1996 as a comprehensive effort to help the world's poorest, most heavily-indebted countries. It was enhanced in the fall of 1999 to provide for faster, deeper, and broader debt relief. The MDRI followed in 2005 to further reduce the debts of qualifying low- income countries and provide them with additional resources to help meet the MDGs.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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