O'Donnell Calls for Total Debt Relief for Mozambique

News and Press Release
Originally published
Ms. Liz O'Donnell, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, has called for urgent action on Mozambique debt. Together with her Danish colleague, Jan Trøjberg, the Minister has made a formal request to the President of the World Bank, Mr. Jim Wolfensohn, to convene a donor conference to mobilise the resources needed to re-build Mozambique's shattered infrastructure.

"I fully support the call by the Mozambique Government for early additional debt relief. Relief must be granted now and the process needs to be accelerated in Washington by the World Bank and the IMF", Minister O'Donnell said. "The case for granting Mozambique total debt relief is compelling".

Since the flooding there, the Government has allocated IR=A31.4 million for emergency and long-term recovery projects. This includes funds to Irish NGOs working in the region. "The World Food Programme and the South African Defence Forces have already received support from Ireland Aid," the Minister said.

On Friday next, the Governor of Inhambane Provine will hold a planning session with Ireland Aid on re-allocating funds to prevent the spread of disease and re-build schools, health centres and roads.

Mozambique is one of 6 priority countries for Ireland Aid, the Government's official aid programme. Last year the Government spent over IR=A36 million on development projects in Mozambique and this year over IR=A37 million has been budgeted for projects there. But Minister O'Donnell announced today that Ireland Aid is ready to provide further funding in response to emerging needs.

Note for Editors

Under a 1996 initiative Mozambique received some debt relief from the World Bank, the IMF and bilateral donors, including Ireland. However, it still has debt service obligations running at a crippling $1.5 million per week - a serious obstacle to its efforts to deal with homelessness and re-build its infrastructure after the flooding.