HC Deb 10 January 2001 vol 360 c578W
13. Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which countries will be working with the UK on meeting the target for debt reduction. [143208]

Clare Short

The UK worked closely with many others in the international community last year, to achieve—and exceed—our target on implementing the HIPC Initiative. By the end of 2000, 22 countries had qualified for debt relief. We will continue to work with others to secure the full implementation of the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. However, many of the remaining countries are affected by conflict. These countries need to establish peace in order to make a commitment to poverty reduction, and to qualify for HIPC relief.

Ensuring that debt relief benefits the poor is central to the HIPC Initiative. We are working closely with a number of HIPC countries on their national poverty reduction strategies, which will provide a framework for all development resources, including debt relief savings. Like the IMF and World bank, we have agreed to focus our international development programmes on supporting these strategies, and encourage other donors to do the same.

Mrs. Dean

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans she has to take forward her Department's policy on releasing countries from debt. [143205]

Clare Short

I am pleased to report that 22 countries have qualified for exceptional debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, exceeding our target of 20 countries qualifying by end of 2000. This has resulted in over $50 billion in debt relief being agreed for these countries, which will reduce their debts by almost two-thirds on average. We hope that a number of other countries will qualify for relief this year, but for many of the remaining HIPC countries conflict is a major barrier to making substantial further progress.

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