Russia to pardon US$500 million African debt

30 May 2007

Moscow, China, 30 May – Russia plans to pardon US$500 million of bilateral debt owed by the poorest African nations, the Russian Foreign Minister said in Moscow during a ceremony to celebrate Africa Day.

Sergei Lavrov said that Russia had already cancelled African debt to the value of US$11.3 million, including US$2.2 million through the Initiative for Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), a programme launched in 1996 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Last year, the deputy Finance Minister, Sergei Storchak, said that Russia would totally pardon the debt of seven African nations: Benin, Zambia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Ghana.

Africa Day commemorates the creation of the Organization for African Unity, on May 25, 1963, which changed its name to the African Union in 2001. (macauhub)