WASHINGTON - The World Bank said Friday it had canceled Haiti's remaining debt to help the impoverished country recover from a devastating earthquake four months ago.
Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, will not have to repay 36 million dollars owed to the International Development Association (IDA), the bank's fund for the poorest countries, the Washington-based institution said in a statement.
"Haiti now has no further amounts payable to the World Bank," it said.
The IDA debt cancellation was made possible by contributions from 13 member nations: Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Shortly after the massive earthquake in January flattened the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, the 186-nation World Bank announced it had suspended repayment of the IDA debt and would seek to cancel it.
"Relieving Haiti's remaining debt is part of our effort to pursue every avenue to help Haiti's reconstruction efforts," Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, said in the statement.
"We will continue to work in close cooperation with the Haitian government and our international partners to support the country's recovery and longer-term development."
The World Bank noted it has made available 479 million dollars in grants to support Haiti's post-quake recovery and development through June 2011 and is also the trustee of the multi-donor Haiti Reconstruction Fund.