Ottawa, March 31, 2010

Archived - Canada Helps Haiti Eliminate All Debt Owed to World Bank

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The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today hailed the cancellation of nearly US$40 million in debt owed by Haiti to the World Bank, made possible by financial commitments by Canada and other donor nations.

"At our recent meeting in Iqaluit, G7 Finance Ministers pledged to work with the World Bank and other international financial institutions to forgive lingering debts that would divert valuable resources from Haiti's long-term development needs," said Minister Flaherty. "Canada is pleased to provide the largest financial commitment to today's effort, and will now work with remaining multilateral organizations to direct past financial obligations towards a much more meaningful purpose—the future of Haiti's citizens."

As part of today's announcement by the World Bank, Canada will provide close to US$8 million to cover the cost of Haiti's debt to the Bank's International Development Association, using Canadian resources currently held in the World Bank's Debt Relief Trust Fund.

The debt relief is part of the $400 million which Canada is providing for humanitarian and reconstruction programs in Haiti that was announced today by the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, at the International Donors' Conference at the United Nations in New York. Canada is proud to work with its partners to support the Haiti Action Plan and the priorities of the Haitian Government.

In keeping with the G7 call for Haitian assistance to be provided in grant form, the World Bank will also use the financial resources being made available today to provide Haiti with an additional grant of US$38.8 million to further boost reconstruction efforts. The World Bank had previously committed a US$100 million grant towards Haiti's post-earthquake renewal.

The World Bank announcement builds on the significant progress towards cancelling Haiti's US$479 million debt to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). On March 22 in Cancun, Mexico, Canada worked with other countries to help forge a consensus among Governors allowing for an agreement in principle that will relieve Haiti's debt to the Bank and provide over US$2 billion in grants to help in its rebuilding efforts.

The Government of Canada cancelled all debt owed by Haiti to Canada through the Canadian Debt Initiative last year.

For further information, media may contact:

Annette Robertson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance

Jack Aubry
Media Relations
Department of Finance

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