World Bank grants Haiti debt relief

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The World Bank said Thursday it fully supports debt relief for Haiti for the next five years due to the devastation caused by the earthquake.

"Due to the crisis caused by the earthquake, we are waiving any payments on this debt for the next five years and at the same time we are working to find a way forward to cancel the remaining debt," the World Bank said in a statement.

Currently, Haiti's debt to the World Bank, which is interest- free, is about 38 million U.S. dollars, about 4 percent of Haiti's total external debt.

Last week the World Bank said it planned to provide an additional 100 million dollars in emergency aid to Haiti after the January 12 earthquake ravaged the impoverished nation. Officials estimated that up to 200,000 people died of the disaster.

The World Bank, along with its sibling institution the International Monetary Fund (IMF) classify Haiti among "heavily indebted poor countries" that are eligible for debt forgiveness. Haiti was granted 1.2 billion dollars in debt relief last June.

Since 2005, the World Bank's financial support for Haiti, which was 363 million dollars, has been carried out through grants. This does not include the 100 million dollars in grants announced on January 13, 2010, in response to the earthquake.

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