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World Bank relieves Haiti of debt
Bank cancels $36m in remaining debt to help Haiti recover from devastating earthquake.
Last Modified: 28 May 2010 17:10 GMT
An estimated 1.2 million people were  made homeless in the January 12 quake [GALLO/GETTY]

The World Bank has cancelled Haiti's $36m debt in an effort to help the impoverished country recover from a devastating earthquake that struck the nation more than four months ago.

The move, announced on Friday, means Haiti will not have to repay its remaining debt owed to the International Development Association (IDA), the bank's fund for the world's poorest countries.

"Haiti now has no further amounts payable to the World Bank," the US-based institution said in a statement.

The debt nullification was made possible by financial contributions from 13 of the bank's member nations: Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

"Relieving Haiti's remaining debt is part of our effort to pursue every avenue to help Haiti's reconstruction efforts," Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, said in the statement.

"We will continue to work in close co-operation with the Haitian government and our international partners to support the country's recovery and longer-term development."

Devastating quake

The magnitude-7 earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, destroying the government and commercial centre of the capital Port-au-Prince and killing between 217,000 and 300,000 people, according to government estimates.

in depth

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The damage to the capital is estimated to be up to 120 per cent of the impoverished Caribbean country's gross domestic product.

An estimated 1.2 million people were also made homeless, many of whom continue to live in tents and under makeshift shelter.

Shortly after the quake, the 186-member nation World Bank announced that it had suspended repayment of the debt owed by Haiti and would seek to cancel it.

Months later, international donors pledged $9.9bn to rebuild Haiti during a donor conference at the UN in April.

The EU, promising $1.6bn, and the US with $1.15bn, led 50 countries in pledging $5.3bn for the first two years of reconstruction.

Haiti's government has detailed its plans for the money in a 55-page rebuilding plan, at the core of which is the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, which is co-chaired by Bill Clinton, the former US president, and Jean-Max Bellerive, Haiti's prime minister.

Source:
Agencies
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