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UNICEF and OXFAM call for debt relief

Wealthy nations must honour the Cologne Initiative (CI) and speed up debt relief to countries that make a commitment to reduce povery, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and OXFAM, a UK based non-governmental organisation, said on Thursday, according to the UN Department of Public Information (DPI).

"No country has ever reached its development goals when the majority of its people were suffering the deep povery facing hundreds of millions in today's world," UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said.

The central objective of the CI, which expanded the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative by some US $28 billion to be applied at the rate of US $2 to US $3 billion a year, was to provide greater focus on poverty reduction by releasing resources for investment in health, education and social needs, the DPI said.

UNICEF and OXFAM, which released a joint paper at the opening of a conference of finance ministers at the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, said that it was important to identify the new resources that will be used for debt relief and to speed up the release of HIPCs from the debt crisis.

US economist calls for stronger debt relief

Meanwhile, renowned US economist Jeffrey Sachs has called for stronger debt relief for African countries, the US Information Service (USIS) said on Thursday.

Sachs, who is director of Harvard's Institute for International Development, said a bolder approach by international lenders towards cancelling bad debts held by African nations would help spur economic development on the continent, according to USIS.

Sach told the Senate Subcommittee on African Affairs that uncollectable loans to poor African countries which agree to meaningful economic and political reforms should be written off, thereby ending the cycle of indebtedness that is undercutting the globalisation of sub-Saharan Africa, USIS reported.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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