Santiago, Chile, July 2, 2009

Archived - Canada Cancels All Debt Owed by Haiti

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The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today announced that the Government of Canada will forgive $2.3 million in debt owed by the Republic of Haiti through the Canadian Debt Initiative. With this relief, Canada has now cancelled $965 million worth of debt owed by the world's poorest and most heavily indebted countries, including all of the eligible debt owed by Latin American and Caribbean nations.

"Today's announcement frees up valuable financial resources that can be better spent on Haiti's priorities, not its liabilities," said Minister Flaherty. "At a time of unprecedented hardship in the global economy, Canada continues to eliminate financial burdens faced by Haiti and other nations as they take the steps needed to strengthen their economies."

Haiti is the 13th country to meet all of the debt relief requirements of the Canadian Debt Initiative, which will forgive $1.3 billion once all eligible countries have completed the process. While the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative requires countries around the world to cancel up to 90 per cent of bilateral debts owed, through the Canadian Debt Initiative, Canada provides 100 per cent debt cancellation.

Haiti is also eligible for US$841 million in debt relief under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI), which would erase the remaining eligible debts owed to the International Development Association and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Canada was instrumental in the creation of the MDRI, which will erase a total of US$50 billion in debts owed by the world's poorest countries.

Minister Flaherty made the announcement while attending meetings in Chile of IDB governors and finance ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean. Haitian debt relief is just one of a number of recent announcements of Canadian support to nations coping with the global economic and financial crisis. Others include:

  • An additional US$10 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to provide emergency access to capital for emerging markets and developing countries.
  • A temporary increase of US$4 billion in the callable capital of the IDB, increasing the lending capacity of the main source of multilateral funding in Latin America and the Caribbean by 70 per cent.
  • US$200 million to the global Advance Market Commitment, designed to get life-saving breakthrough vaccines into some of the world's poorest countries.
  • US$200 million to the World Bank's Global Trade Liquidity Program to provide a further financing boost to world markets.
  • $5 million in support for the IMF's Technical Assistance Center for Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, which was launched in Guatemala City on June 24 to promote regional economic growth and development.

For further information, media may contact:

Chisholm Pothier
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance

Jack Aubry
Media Relations
Department of Finance

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