Switzerland cancels remainder of Togo's debt

3rd June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Switzerland on Friday cancelled the remainder of Togo's debt, or 51.8 million euros ($78 million), state radio said Friday, citing the Swiss ambassador to the small west African nation.

"We are very pleased to have signed and to contribute to a little easier management of Togo's finances," ambassador Andrea Semadeni said after signing the agreement with Togo's Finance Minister Adji Ayassor.

Switzerland already cancelled more than 106.7 million euros of Togo's debt last year.

The Paris Club, an informal group of 19 creditor countries, which includes Switzerland, decided in December to cancel $203 million of Togo's debt.

The countries also pledged to provide debt relief on a bilateral basis to Togo amounting to $404 million.

The moves come after the poor nation of some 6.6 million people took significant steps toward poverty reduction and economic reforms, the Paris Club has said.

Former colonial power France last month cancelled all of Togo's debt, amounting to 101.1 million euros ($146.4 million), in a bid to encourage Lome to pursue economic reforms.

The country relies heavily on agriculture, while declines in cotton production and a stagnant phosphate industry in recent years have contributed to its economic struggles.

© 2011 AFP

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