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The history of debt relief goes back several decades. It reveals that a country’s accumulation of unsustainable debt stems from such factors as deficiencies in macroeconomic management; adverse terms-of-trade shocks; and poor governance. Debt-relief initiatives have provided debt-burdened countries with the opportunity for a fresh start; but whether the benefits of debt relief can be preserved depends on transformations in a country’s policies and institutions.In 1996; the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative was launched as the first comprehensive; multilateral; debt-relief framework for low-income countries. In 2005; the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative was established; which increased the level of debt relief provided to HIPCs. As of early 2009; assistance through these two initiatives had been committed to 35 countries and amounted to US$117 billion in nominal terms; or half of the 2007 GDP of these countries.Debt Relief and Beyond assesses the implications of debt relief for low-income countries and how its benefits can be preserved and used to fight poverty. The chapter authors bring unique operational experience to their examination of debt relief; debt sustainability; and debt management. Several key questions are addressed; including:What consequences does debt relief have for poverty-reducing expenditures; growth; and access to finance?Can debt relief guarantee debt sustainability?How can debt management at all levels of government be improved?What lessons can be learned from countries that have experienced debt restructuring?Finally; this book provides sound empirical evidence using current econometric techniques.

Publisher: World Bank

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