“I am pleased that as of today, Liberia has no outstanding debt to Norway,” said Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim.
Norway has now cancelled a total of NOK 422 million (USD 70 million) of Liberia’s debt. Liberia’s total foreign debt was around NOK 27 billion (USD 4.5 billion) in 2007.
“Liberia’s foreign debt was incurred before the country’s civil war. It has been a significant obstacle to rebuilding the country. The debt has prevented Liberia from having normal relations with the international community,” Mr Solheim commented.
Today’s decision fulfils the commitment Norway undertook at the meeting of the Paris Club creditor countries in September. The Paris Club creditors agreed to cancel Liberia’s debt in accordance with the international initiative for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (the HIPC initiative).
In keeping with the Norwegian debt plan, the debt will be cancelled without taking any funds from other budgets. The cancellation of the debt will therefore not result in a reduction in other development assistance to poor countries, but will come in addition to this.