World Bank and IMF pardon 91 pct of Sao Tome and Principe’s debt

16 March 2007

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 16 March – The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have decided to pardon 91 percent of Sao Tome and Principe’s external debts, or US$327 million, the Sao Tome Minister for Planning and Finance, Maria Tebus said Thursday in Sao Tome.

Tebus, who is also deputy prime minister, made the announcement at the country’s parliament, just after the approval of the 2007 State Budget.

Citing a World Bank and IMF document, Tebus said that the decision was due to the “coordinated reforms” applied by the archipelago’s financial authorities over the last few years.

The pardon is the result of the macroeconomic program set up six years ago with the World Bank and the IMF as part of a project to combat poverty, via the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPCI).

Tebus told journalists that the remaining 9 percent of the debt, or US$33 million, would be negotiated with bilateral partners, for its annulment or payment.

Constant social and political changes, the devaluation of the dobra (Sao Tome currency) and delays in the approval of the oil law were some of the reasons for the delay in pardoning the debt, which had initially been scheduled for 2003. (macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH