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Vol 37 No 21

Published 18th October 1996

The details left out of the deal

For the first time the World Bank and the IMF have found a way to reschedule some of Africa's debts

World Bank President James Wolfensohn called it a 'lovefest'. True, the rich country finance ministers did reach a rare consensus in Washington on 1-3 October on the outline of what must be done to cut poor country, mainly African, debt. Yet huge questions remain about how quickly poor debtor countries will benefit and how generous the terms will be. The plan - reckoned to cost between US$5,500 and $7,700 million – aims to help the most indebted countries to reduce their obligations to sustainable levels and end the tortuous cycle of rescheduling deals. Rich countries are still squabbling about who should pay for it.

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