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Debt Relief and Beyond

Edited by Carlos A. Primo Braga and Doerte Doemeland


Heavily indebted low-income countries benefited from significant debt relief -- mainly via the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) -- over the past decade, getting the opportunity for a fresh start.  But now, the global economic crisis is putting increasing pressure on their debt-burden indicators.  Declines in commodity prices, plummeting capital inflows, and the economic downturn, are fostering liquidity problems and raising the risk of debt distress in many countries.  What can be done to ensure the benefits of debt relief are preserved and used towards the Millennium Development Goals?  This and other questions are addressed in the new book, Debt Relief and Beyond: Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead.

The book also examines the impact of debt relief on education, health and economic growth in heavily indebted low-income countries as well as the opportunities and risks related to access to finance, debt sustainability and debt management.  This book, as well as the related conference, benefited from the generous support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The book is available for purchase from the World Bank ecommerce site.

What's Being Said:

For years, debt relief has been extended to poor countries in the belief that they would then be enabled to grow more rapidly and use the resources thus freed for the poor. In this important volume, the contributors undertake systematic analyses of the effects of debt relief. The book is a major contribution to our understanding of how effective debt relief is as a means of combating poverty, and should be required reading for all those in the development community.

ANNE O. KRUEGER, Professor of International Economics,
Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University;
Herald L. and Caroline L. Ritch Professor Emeritus, Economics Department, Stanford University

It is hard to find issues of similar worldwide importance to those discussed in this book. Debt Relief and Beyond addresses questions that are key to the pursuit of global peace and justice in a globalized world. The tools described will undergo a harsh test of their practicability due to the global financial crisis. Accordingly, this book is an important, but certainly not the ultimate, step in the evolving debate about debt and development.

CHRISTOPH G. PAULUS, Professor, Humboldt University of Berlin

This book takes up many of the critical issues concerning future policies in the HIPC countries. At their heart is the concern, how can low-income countries avoid repeating the cycle of borrowing themselves into unsustainability? Countries that can see light at the end of the tunnel (and who would have thought three decades ago that the likes of Bangladesh and India would now be emerging?) will find much good advice here. Our worries need to focus on the countries that are not yet in this position and for which additional grant aid is the only option.

JOHN WILLIAMSON, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics



Last updated: 2009-12-15

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