HIPC Debt Relief: Myths and Reality


This book presents a thorough analysis of the successes and failures of the HIPC Initiative and provides a wide range of suggestions of what needs to be done.
Issues addressed include the bailing-out of IMF loans by donor countries, the (mis)use of aid funds for debt relief and repayment of export credits, the need for including domestic debt in assessments of debt sustainability, and the question of whether debt relief should be de-linked from IMF conditionality.

With a view to the future of low-income countries, the book relates the HIPC Initiative to the Millennium Development Goals and warns that debt relief can only provide a fraction of the funds required for reducing poverty and avoiding a new build-up of unsustainable debt.
The book spells out how genuine debt relief could contribute to poverty reduction and economic growth in poor developing countries.

Will the HIPC debt relief initiative finally solve the debt burden that the Highly Indebted Poor Countries are facing since the 1980s? Is there any guarantee that a country’s external debt remains sustainable after the completion of the HIPC programme?

Towards the end of the 1980s, concern about the rising debt problems of poor African countries prompted a few international experts to advocate effective debt relief to low-income countries. Early FONDAD publications contributed to putting pressure on western policymakers to consider substantial debt relief for poor countries.

In 1996, the international community introduced the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative to provide a permanent exit from the repeated debt reschedulings of HIPCs in the Paris Club and bring their external debts to sustainable levels. However, in 2004 the HIPC debt problem has still not been solved.

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February 2004
ISBN-10: 90-74208-23-1

145 pages

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