Abstract

There is a tendency in today’s world of robust, albeit at times skittish, capital flows to developing countries to say that the developing country debt crisis is over, and that, consequently, the challenge of external debt management is not as urgent as it was just a few years back. There are at least three reasons why this is not quite right. First, debt distress remains a central economic reality for the majority of low-income countries. Second, there are new countries, arising out of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, that are embarking on borrowing programs without the necessary infrastructure or regulatory and legal frameworks that permit adequate management of the borrowing process. And, third, there is recidivism; that is, the possibility either that the lessons learned from past practices were inadequately retained, or that the lessons had changed.