The Democratic Republic of the Congo received the gift of it’s largest debt write-off on Wednesday,the same day as the 50th anniversary of independence from Belgium. A joint statement from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund said: “The decisions by the Board of Directors of both institutions will generate total debt service savings of US $12.3 billion, which includes US $11.1 billion under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative and US $1.2 billion under the Multi-lateral Debt Relief Initiative.”
Canada wanted to have the decision about the debt write-off postponed due to disputes over the management of the Congo’s mineral resources. Canada miners, First Quarter, had a US $750 million copper project annulled by the Congo government and it was awarded to a British Virgin Islands company instead.
The debt write-off comes after a seven year long negotiation for the debt write-off relief. The decision was mostly a symbolic announcement of something that the Banks had already written off their books for the last 20 years. It was an official decision the country desired and desperately needed. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world. The area has been racked with horrific human rights abuse since the 1990′s.