G7 cancels Haiti debt

|(BBC) The world’s leading
industrialised nations have pledged to write off the debts that Haiti
owes them, following a devastating earthquake last month.

Canada’s finance minister announced at a summit in Iqaluit, northern Canada, that Group of Seven countries planned to
cancel Haiti’s
bilateral debts.

Jim Flaherty said he would
encourage international lenders to do the same.

Some $1.2bn (£800m) of Haiti’s debts
to countries and international lending bodies has already been cancelled.

“We are committed in the G7 to
the forgiveness of debt, in fact all bilateral debt has been forgiven by G7
countries vis-a-vis Haiti,”
Mr Flaherty said at the end of the two day gathering of finance ministers.

“The debt to multilateral institutions
should be forgiven, and we will work with these institutions and other partners
to make this happen as soon as possible,” he added.

At least one million people are in
need of aid in Haiti
after the magnitude 7.0 earthquake which struck in mid-January, killing more
than 200,000 people.

The G7 group – which includes
Canada, the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – has been under pressure
to help Haiti recover since the 12 January quake by cancelling the money owed
by Haiti.

Haiti was
rated as the poorest nation in the western hemisphere even before the earthquake
struck.

Though exact figures are difficult
to obtain, the exact amount owed bilaterally to G7 countries is believed to be
quite small. Venezuela and Taiwan are Haiti’s other biggest bilateral
creditors.

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