According to the latest figures from the World Bank, Benin's stock of external debt fell to just US$824m at the end of 2006, from US$1.86bn at the end of 2005. The dramatic fall is the result of debt relief received under the multilateral debt relief initiative (MDRI) in 2006 (October 2006, Foreign trade and payments). The country received a total of US$1.03bn in write-offs from the IMF, the World Bank and the African Development Bank. The remaining outstanding stock is owed to multilateral and bilateral institutions and consists of borrowing that took place after the MDRI cut-off date of end-2005 (loans agreed after that date were not eligible for cancellation). As a result, Benin's total debt to GNP ratio fell from 43.6% at end-2005 to 17.5% at end-2006. Of the US$369m of bilateral debt, the majority is thought to be owed to the former Soviet Union and is also likely be written off at some stage.
|Benin: external debt|
|(US$ m unless otherwise indicated; end-period)|
|Use of IMF credit||73||65||53||3|
|Interest arrears on long-term debt||0||0||0||1|
|Source: World Bank.|
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