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Vol 39 No 21

Published 23rd October 1998

Devastating debts

Arguments among rich countries are slowing progress on cutting Africa's debts

Africa’s hopes for more debt relief are caught between rich countries squabbling over who is to pay for the debt cuts and an increasingly militant international campaign to write off the debts of Africa’s poorest states to celebrate the new millennium. In the middle are the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, which launched their Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative two years ago. Feted as a groundbreaking move - it allowed in effect for World Bank and IMF loans to be rescheduled or written off - HIPC has become mired in arguments about cost and structure.

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