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WASHINGTON DC - The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank said Tuesday they had approved the cancellation of $4 billion in debts owed by Ivory Coast, after it met goals under a poverty reduction program.
The two global financiers said the debts, held by both multilateral institutions and private lenders, would be erased in order to give the country more room to fight poverty.
Ivory Coast met targets under a poverty reduction program, holding to a "sound macroeconomic policy framework," increasing the transparency of public finances, and moving to reform the crucial cocoa industry, the IMF and World Bank said in a statement.
The achievement "represents a milestone for Ivory Coast and its population," said Doris Ross, the IMF's mission chief for the impoverished west African country.
"It reflects the significant progress achieved in economic management since the Ouagadougou peace accord of 2007 and the end of the post-election crisis in April 2011," Ross said.
The country was plunged into disarray for years after a civil war erupted in 2002.
The fighting halted with the 2007 peace pact, only to start up again for several months after 2010 elections.
That delayed progress on the country's targets under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC), a joint IMF-World Bank reform program which offers the poorest countries debt relief.
Completing HIPC goals will now help Ivory Coast normalize relations with its lenders, Ross said.
"Although this will increase debt service payable in the medium term, it will also help catalyze further support from donors and potential investors.
"Judicious macroeconomic management will remain critical to make the country's enormous growth potential a reality and bring prosperity to its people, while maintaining debt sustainability," she said.