The World Bank said on Friday it has written off $36 million of Haiti’s remaining debts to the lender with the help of contributions from 13 countries.
With the decision, Haiti has nothing further to pay to the World Bank, the institution said. The debt was owed to the World Bank’s fund for its poorest borrowers, the International Development Association, or IDA.
Canceling the debt will free up funds — which would have been spent on servicing the IDA debt — for rebuilding after Haiti’s devastating Jan. 12 earthquake.
The Bank said funding to write off the debt was received from Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
“Relieving Haiti’s remaining debt is part of our effort to pursue every avenue to help Haiti’s reconstruction efforts,” World Bank President Robert Zoellick said.
Since the earthquake, the World Bank has committed $479 million in grants for Haiti’s recovery through June 2011. It is also supervising an international donor fund for Haiti through which contributions will be funneled.
Global institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund last year wrote off $1.2 billion of Haiti’s debts. (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; editing by James Dalgleish and Jeffrey Benkoe)