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14.06.2005 General News

Ghana: 'Reward for democracy'


Accra - Ghana, one of the 18 countries that would benefit from a huge debt relief announced by G8 countries, hailed the decision on Monday as recognition of democratic practices and good governance.

"The debt relief is a direct response to the democratic practices in Ghana over the years," Finance Minister Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu said.

"There is dividend in democracy, practicing good governance.

We all have to be transparent, practice tolerance of each other," he added.

Ghana would see $4.1bn of $5.1bn debt, owed to multilateral donors, written off.

Baah-Wiredu said the decision announced by Britain's Chancellor Gordon Brown on Saturday meant that 80% of the debts would be written off.

Ghana also owes other money to other multilateral institutions including Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), Nordic Development Bank, International Bank for Agriculture and European Development Bank.

Baah-Wiredu said the decision by the G8 meant that government would have funds for development projects and it would go a long way to alleviating poverty.

"This is a challenge to us and we have to meet it squarely," he said.

"It is important to increase revenue mobilisation to support development projects."

Since 1983, Ghana has been implementing IMF restructuring programmes and has become a star pupil of the Bretton Woods Institutions.

The country has held multiparty elections since 1992 and has had a successful handover of power from a ruling party to an opposition party in an election.