France to lobby for Malawi’s debt relief
BY PETER GWAZAYANI
08:56:27 - 13 December 2005
France has reaffirmed its commitment to make sure Malawi gets to the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (Hipc) initiative completion point so that it can have its debt cancelled.
The world’s eight richest countries (G8) meeting of finance ministers in June left out Malawi on debt cancellation because of the country’s poor fiscal discipline.
However, new French Ambassador to Malawi Francis Saudubray said Thursday in Lilongwe his country would help Malawi get its debt cancelled by ensuring that it meets the set parameters under Hipc programme.
The Hipc programme, initiated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), demands that poor countries such as Malawi spend specified amounts of money in pro–poor activities, a feat the previous government failed to achieve.
“I assured the head of state of the strongest support of France to get to the completion point as soon as possible. We know that it is a key point for Malawi to get a total 100 percent debt cancellation,” he said soon after presenting his credentials to President Bingu wa Mutharika.
Malawi’s external debt by June this year hovered around US$2.9 billion and the country spends on serving the external debt an equivalent of the sum allocated to the key ministries of Education, Health and Agriculture.