G-8 Countries Take More Measures to Clear Liberia's Multilateral Debt

Tuesday, 18th September 2007
Monrovia, Liberia - The world’s leading industrialized countries under the banner of the G-8 have taken another measure to relieve Liberia of its multilateral debt burden.

G-8 countries have announced a contribution of 324.5 million dollars in Special Drawing Rights (SDR). The amount will go towards financing the cost of clearing Liberia’s arrears at the International Monetary Fund. The G-8 countries’ contribution represents 60-percent of the cost for financing Liberia’s arrears at the IMF.

A communication from the German Minister for Development Cooperation, Madam Heidemarie Wieczoreck-Zeul, addressed to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, disclosed that Germany and some G-8 countries are also currently holding discussions with other countries to achieve a rapid solution to the Liberian debt issue and to ensure that the rest of the costs are covered.

An Executive Mansion release quotes the German Development Cooperation Minister as saying, she regards the comprehensive cancellation of Liberia’s debts as a key contribution to the reconstruction and development of the country. She said Germany has been advocating the rapid and comprehensive clearing of Liberia’s arrears to International financial institutions and assured the Liberian leader that Germany will also make a financial contribution to the process wherever this may be necessary.

The Germany Development Cooperation Minister also assured President Johnson Sirleaf that under her country’s current role as President of the G-8, the group will continue to press for a solution that will allow Liberia to gain entry as soon as possible to the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPIC) debt relief initiative. Preparations, she said, are currently underway at the IMF to meet the objective.

Meanwhile, Madam Wieczorek-Zeul has expressed confidence that an agreement can be reached soon between the African Development Bank (ADB), the donor countries and Liberia, regarding the debt the country owes the ADB. The German chancellor said her government has informed the Bank that it would provide 7-million euros as its contribution to help offset the ADB debt, and urged the Bank to take the necessary steps that will allow a decision to be reached very soon.

Regarding bilateral cooperation and a recent commitment of more than 14-million United States dollars for infrastructure reconstruction in Liberia, the German Development Cooperation Minister said, planned measures are becoming more concrete, noting that the first appraisal mission took place in Monrovia in June.  She disclosed that a close dialogue has also been launched with the World Bank on the shape of the planned Multi-Donor Trust Fund for infrastructure.

The latest effort by Germany to tackle Liberia’s debt burden come less than three weeks away from an official visit to Liberia in October by that country’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.  President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf held talks with the German Chancellor in May during a visit to Berlin. During talks at the Bundeskanzleramt Dr. Merkel promised to support international efforts to address Liberia’s debt issue, now estimated at more than 4-billion U.S. dollars.