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Debt Cancellation for the World’s Poorest Countries

The world’s wealthiest countries agreed today to write off more than $40 billion of African debt. The deal, struck by finance ministers from the Group of Eight industrialized nations, would wipe out the debts owed by 18 of the world’s poorest countries immediately and up to 38 in total, most of which are in Africa. The debt cancellation deal covers debts to international lending agencies such as the World Bank, African Development Bank and International Monetary Fund.

REACTION FROM BONO, U2 LEAD SINGER AND CO-FOUNDER OF DATA, A FOUNDING MEMBER OF ONE: The journey of equality took another step today, and broke free millions of people in some of the poorest countries from the bondage of immoral and unjust debts. The leadership of the jubilee campaigners is bearing fruit once more, we really owe those people, from church basements to national treasuries who have worked so long and so hard for this day. There’s long nights ahead of us all to build up the speed and accelerating for a comprehensive debt-aid-trade deal for the poorest people in the poorest countries at the G8 Gleneagles.

REACTION FROM SETH AMGOTT, SPOKESPERSON FOR ONE: THE CAMPAIGN TO MAKE POVERTY HISTORY: Americans asked for leadership in canceling the poorest countries’ debts, and we got it from the Bush Administration: this agreement cancels the debts of 18 countries today and up to 38 countries in short order, and it frees up more than $1 billion in the first year and rising — for more schools, health clinics and farm-to-market roads. This agreement is a down payment on the historic breakthrough the ONE campaign seeks at the G8 in Gleneagles: more and better development assistance, 100% debt cancellation and trade justice. ONE, with the help of the Live 8 concerts, will keep turning up the volume.