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Congresswoman Waters Commends World Bank for Cancelling Haiti's Debts

July 21, 2009
Press Release

Congresswoman. Maxine Waters (CA-35) applauded the decision by the World Bank to provide complete debt cancellation to Haiti under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.

"The cancellation of Haiti's debts will enable the democratically-elected government of Haiti to improve health care, education and other essential government services; invest in critical infrastructure; and improve the lives of the Haitian people," said Congresswoman Waters. 

The World Bank announced yesterday that Haiti has reached the "completion point" for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, the program which governs debt relief from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and other multilateral financial institutions to the world's poorest countries.  This means that Haiti's debts to these institutions – which have been estimated to total $1.2 billion – will be completely cancelled. 

"Haiti is a country with tremendous development needs," said Congresswoman Waters.  "Debt cancellation will allow Haiti to begin to use more of its resources to meet these needs."

Congresswoman Waters has long been an advocate of debt cancellation for Haiti.  On February 26, 2009, she sent a letter to World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick, urging him to grant complete debt cancellation to Haiti and to immediately suspend all further debt service payments from Haiti.  This letter was signed by 72 members of the House of Representatives, including Barney Frank (D-MA), Chairman of the Financial Services Committee; Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee; Howard Berman (D CA), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. 

In the 110th Congress, Congresswoman Waters introduced H.Res. 241, a resolution to urge the IMF and the World Bank to cancel Haiti's multilateral debts immediately and completely.  This resolution received the support of 68 cosponsors before the 110th Congress adjourned last year.