As finance ministers from the world's richest nations gathered in London on Friday, Gordon Brown said he believed they could make progress towards "the biggest debt settlement the world has ever seen" in a plan to erase billions of dollars owed by the world's poorest countries to international lenders.

In Washington, the White House officially announced the the agreement, however, other nations have hinted that some nations may still need to be won over before endorsing the landmark formula for debt relief agreed on by Britain and the United States.

"Much is still to be done, but I think there is a will to do this," Brown said. The plan aims to free 18 nations, most in Africa, from obligations to repay an estimated $16.7 billion in debt to foreign lenders.