March 9, 2006

Britain cancels debts

Britain has cancelled Zambia's debt of US$245 million following the country's attainment of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative completion point. Finance and National Planning Minister, Ng'andu Magande and British High Commissioner to Zambia, Alistair Harrison, announced the debt write-off in Lusaka. Zambia's foreign debt stood at $4.5 billion at December 31, 2005. Britain's debt write-off is in addition to that of $182 million during the period between the decision point and the completion point, bringing the total to $427 million.

Magande expressed appreciation for the debt cancellation and pledged to use the resources prudently. The freed-up resources would be used for the creation of a sustainable base for Zambia's economic growth and reduction of poverty levels currently at 67 per cent of the population. The debt relief further offered an opportunity for Zambia to implement programmes towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set for 2015.
Mr Magande thanked Britain for the relentless efforts made in campaigning for deeper and broader debt relief that resulted in the reaching of the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) by Zambia's cooperating partners. (The Times of Zambia, Ndola)

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