UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
AFRICA: Oxfam hails Clinton debt plan but urges further action
NAIROBI, 18 March (IRIN) - International organisations have been reacting to a proposal by US President Bill Clinton to hive off US $70 billion in poor countries' global debt, most of it owed by African nations.
The plan was put forward at a US-Africa ministerial meeting which opened in Washington on Tuesday.
In a report received by IRIN on Thursday, Oxfam welcomed the move, but expressed concern that the "lion's share" of benefits was reserved for countries considered to be "exceptional economic performers".
"Very few, if any, countries are likely to meet these as yet undefined criteria," Oxfam pointed out.
It said the Clinton plan preserved one of the "fundamental flaws" of the World Bank's "Heavily-Indebted Poor Countries" (HIPC) initiative: the requirement that countries complete two consecutive IMF Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) programmes before receiving relief.
The proposal would have the effect of excluding countries that are considered to have unsustainable debt burdens at present, but which are expected to "grow" out of their debt problems and thus not require relief three years later at the completion point.
Oxfam called on the US to "go further" and urged Clinton to "exert the leadership necessary to deliver meaningful relief".
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 15:02:46 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <email@example.com> Subject: AFRICA: Oxfam hails Clinton debt plan but urges further action
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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