The World Bank has announced that a project to build 21,500 permanent houses and 24,500 temporary shelters for victims of the Java earthquake and tsunami was launched this week. The USD 66 million housing project was launched by the Java Reconstruction Fund, which brings together the EU, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands, said the World Bank, which administers the fund.

Eleven African countries signed an agreement last week calling for USD 2 billion over five years to build roads and restore basic services as a way to help central Africa emerge from a cycle of war and dictatorship. The Great Lakes Region agreement involves mandatory contributions toward a reconstruction and development fund that the African Development Bank will manage. The agreement was signed at [last] week’s International Conference on the Great Lakes Region by Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, the DRC Congo, Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Sierra Leone this week qualified for a USD 1.6 billion debt write-off from its main creditors under global schemes to cancel the debts of the world’s poorest countries, the World Bank and IMF said. The write-off covers debts owed by the West African country to the World Bank, the IMF, African Development Bank, commercial creditors, and other governments.

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