KAMPALA (Kyodo) Japan will write off the entire $57.2 million debt owed by Uganda to Tokyo under an agreement signed here Monday by Japanese Ambassador Nobuaki Ito.

The debt-cancellation accord means Uganda will now save some $3 million every year for about 20 years, Japanese and Ugandan officials said.

Ito said Japan has decided to cancel the debt as part of an early solution to Uganda’s lingering debt problems, seeking to reduce the transaction costs for Uganda’s management of foreign aid.

During the same signing ceremony at the Ugandan Foreign Ministry, Ito and Ugandan Finance Minister Gerald Ssendawula also signed a $456,000 Japanese cultural grant agreement to procure printing equipment for Makerere University.

Ito said he will try to expand Japanese economic cooperation to cover human resource needs, economic programs and agricultural and infrastructure development assistance.

Ssendawula said Uganda will use the debt relief to provide social services. He added that Uganda needs more support from Japan.

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