Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Debt 2000 – The Mauritius Mandate [September 1997]

The press release issued by HM Treasury on 16 September 1997.

A five point plan to resolve the debt problems of poor countries and set them on a path to sustainable growth was unveiled by the British Chancellor Gordon Brown in Mauritius today.

Speaking at the Commonwealth Finance Ministers meeting, the Chancellor set out proposals to help reduce the debt burden of the world’s poorest countries.

Speaking at the meeting, the Chancellor said:

“My proposal is that we make a commitment that every eligible poor country    should, at least, have embarked on the process of securing a sustainable exit from their debt
problems by the year 2000.

“But that is not enough. We should also aim by the millennium to have firm  decisions on the amounts and terms of debt relief for at least three quarters of these countries.

“That should be our Mauritius Mandate. In human terms this means around   300 million people in some of the world’s poorest countries should gain from this initiative.”

The five point plan is:

  • a UK contribution of 10.5 million dollars towards reducing Uganda’s debt to the African Development Bank;
  • the UK to cancel the remaining debt due to the UK from lower income Commonwealth countries;
  • financing, through the UK’s aid programme, of technical assistance to assist in debt management for poor countries, particularly in the Commonwealth;
  • the UK’s pledge to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be implemented without condition; and
  • the UK will ensure that export credits for poor, highly-indebted countries will only support productive expenditure. The UK will seek a firm international agreement that all officially supported credits for poor countries are focused in this way.

As well as calling on creditor’s (other Governments and international financial institutions) to follow the UK’s lead, the Chancellor also called for concrete action from debtor countries. He said:

“The Mandate will only work if debt relief by creditors is matched by concrete   action by the debtors. This means that the debtor countries must adopt and stick to the sound
economic policies needed to make sustainable economic  development possible.”