Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf got a huge vote of confidence yesterday when the International Monetary Fund agreed to begin eliminating Liberia's debt, the BBC reports. Donor nations have pledged $842 million to get the West African country back on track after 14 years of civil war. "Liberia has established an encouraging track record of macroeconomic management and reforms," said the IMF's new chairman, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Liberia suffered more than a decade of brutality under Charles Taylor that left 270,000 dead and the country with $4.5 billion in debt. With Taylor now on trial in the Hague, the debt relief reflects confidence that the country has met political and economic requirements to qualify for help. The deal, which will clear the way for other loans and aid, is also a coup for Strauss-Kahn, who took over Nov. 1.