- Representatives of Niger's major creditor countries have agreed to cancel all of Niger's debts, worth more than US$ 150 million. The club of creditor nations commended the new economic policies of Niger; in particular efforts to reduce poverty in the world's second poorest country.
Representatives of the so-called Paris Club - a grouping of the world's leading creditor countries - met yesterday and agreed to recommend to their governments a total cancellation of Niger's stock of debt.
The representatives of the creditor countries took note that, "given its strong commitment to economic and structural reforms as well as the burden of its external indebtedness," Niger on 8 April had reached its completion point under the enhanced Debt Initiative for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (Enhanced HIPC Initiative).
The initiative is monitored by the IMF and includes heavy economic liberalisation. When completed, it should lead to major debt reduction by the IMF and creditor countries - something confirmed by the Paris Club of creditors in a statement today.
The group said it "welcomed Niger's determination to implement a broad-based and rigorous economic program which should provide the basis for sustainable economic growth and a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy."
They thus had decided to cancel US$ 104 million in net present value terms, which represents the Paris Club agreed share of the effort, decided by the IMF, in the framework of the Enhanced HIPC Initiative.
- The debt of Niger towards Paris Club creditors will be further reduced of US$ 48 million in net present value terms as a result of additional debt relief granted by creditors on a bilateral basis, the Paris Club statement released today said. "After additional bilateral cancellation, the entire debt of Niger towards Paris Club Creditors will be cancelled."
Niger's public debt is estimated to total US$ 1758 million in face value as at end 2002, according to IMF documents. The debt owed to Paris Club creditors as of end 2002 was estimated to be US$ 197 million in face value. According to the UN, Niger is the second least developed country in the world, with pervasive poverty and extremely poor education and health services.
According to the creditors, Niger was "committed to devote the resources freed by the present treatment of the debt to priority areas identified in the country's poverty reduction strategy and to seek comparable treatment from all its other external creditors - including other creditor countries as well as commercial creditors."
The group of the world's main creditors - composed of most major industrialised countries - urged the Niger's remaining creditors to follow their example. The Paris Club statement emphasised "the importance they attach to non-Paris Club creditors providing a treatment at least as favourable to Niger."
Representatives of the creditor nations yesterday met with a Nigerien delegation in Paris to negotiation the reorganisation of Niger's debt. The creditors were represented by France, Japan, Spain, Britain and the US. The delegation of Niger was headed by Minister of Economy and Finance, Ali Lamine Zeine.
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