Ottawa, January 17, 2005
2005-005

Archived - Canada Cancels All Debt Owed by Madagascar

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Minister of Finance Ralph Goodale today announced the cancellation under the Canadian Debt Initiative (CDI) of $21 million in debt owed to Canada by Madagascar.

"Today's announcement is a continuing example of the leadership role Canada has taken in easing the debt burden facing poor countries-and eliminating this burden altogether," said Minister Goodale. "African nations that have shown real progress in improving government accountability and strengthening their economies must be allowed the opportunity to invest in their citizens, rather than be compelled to divert their financial resources to interest payments."

"Regardless of the unforeseen tragedies that may occur around the globe-and the need for Canada and other nations to respond-Canada must continue to work with African nations to help them work towards a better life for their people."

Madagascar is the fourth African nation whose Canadian debts have been forgiven in the past four months through the CDI, joining Senegal, Ghana and Ethiopia. In all, 13 countries have had their debt payments to Canada frozen, and since December 2000 the Canadian debt held by 8 of these nations has been cancelled. More than $1.1 billion in debt will be forgiven through the CDI.

The CDI complements the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, a comprehensive multilateral debt reduction strategy allowing all debt owing to Canada and other countries to be officially written off as countries complete the HIPC process. Canada was the first creditor country to call for forgiveness of all bilateral debt owed by countries eligible for the HIPC program.

More details on Canada's efforts can be found at www.fin.gc.ca/toce/2005/cdre0105_e.html

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For further information:

David Gamble
Public Affairs and Operations Division
(613) 996-8080

Pat Breton
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance
(613) 996-7861

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