12 Jul 2005

Forgive our debt, Vanuatu finance official urges global banks

3:12 pm on 12 July 2005

Vanuatu's government is asking international financial institutions to forgive its mounting debts.

The director general of the finance ministry is backing a call by the trade minister for a regional push for debt cancellation.

Simeon Athy says debt cancellation might work well for Pacific Island countries because it will have a bigger impact on their economies than it would in larger countries in Africa.

"Other countries are seeking forgiveness of their external debt... why not the Pacific Island countries, I mean for a small island nation this will make a very large difference for ourselves."

Vanuatu owes more than US$110 million in external debt, mostly to the Asian Development Bank, but also to France, China, the European Investment Bank and the World Bank.