Este folleto describe la iniciativa que emprendieron el FMI y el Banco Mundial en 1996 para abordar de manera integral la carga global de la deuda de determinados países pobres muy endeudados (PPME) que estaban aplicando programas de ajuste y reforma con el respaldo de ambas instituciones. El objetivo de esta Iniciativa es reducir la deuda de estos países a niveles sostenibles de modo que puedan cumplir con sus obligaciones corrientes y futuras de servicio de la deuda sin comprometer indebidamente su crecimiento económico. Este folleto describe los fundamentos y las principales características de la Iniciativa, según fue concebida originalmente en 1996, y su implementación hasta el cuarto trimestre de 1999, que culminó en la aprobación a finales de ese año de la Iniciativa Reforzada para los PPME, cuya finalidad es suministrar un alivio de la deuda más profundo y más rápido a un mayor número de países. La Iniciativa Reforzada para los PPME también busca asegurar que el alivio de la deuda esté integrado en una estrategia de reducción de la deuda de alcance más general, formulada con una participación de amplia base y adaptada a las circunstancias de cada país.
At their meetings in September 1996, the IMF’s Interim Committee and the IMF and World Bank’s Development Committee endorsed specific proposals put forward jointly by the IMF and the World Bank to address the problems of a limited number of HIPCs that follow sound policies, but for which traditional debt-relief mechanisms are inadequate to secure a sustainable external debt position over the medium term. The Committees requested the two institutions to proceed quickly with the implementation of the Initiative.
The HIPC Initiative is not a panacea for all of the economic problems of the HIPCs. Even if, hypothetically, all of the external debts of the HIPCs were forgiven, most would still continue to need large-scale concessional external assistance; as noted earlier, currently their receipts of such assistance are much larger than their debt-service payments. Given their high levels of poverty and limited domestic resources available to meet the costs of social programs that address the needs of the poor, most HIPCs are likely to continue to be dependent on aid. The HIPC Initiative does not imply a cessation of aid to HIPCs: if it leads to withdrawal of aid, it will fail. However, given the pressures on aid budgets in major donor countries, which are likely to prevail in the foreseeable future, continuing aid will be most effective if it catalyzes private financial flows, particularly investment. There is a limit to the extent to which these flows can be debt creating, if future overindebtedness is to be avoided. This suggests a need for institution building that is essential for attracting private investment as well as for providing support for putting in place necessary infrastructure.
This paper describes the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and suggests that it should enable HIPCs to exit from the debt-rescheduling process. It argues that implementation of the Initiative should eliminate debt as an impediment to economic development and growth and enable HIPC governments to focus on the difficult policies and reforms required to remove the remaining impediments to achieving sustainable development. The paper describes the implementation of the Initiative through the end of September 1998.
This paper analyzes the IMF’s Enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries, which provides debt relief for low-income countries. The paper highlights that countries affected by the debt crisis of the 1980s received concerted support from the international financial community in the form of Paris Club flow reschedulings, stock-of-debt operations under the Brady plan, and adjustment programs supported by the multilateral financial institutions. These measures proved effective in significantly improving the debt situation of many middle-income countries.
This pamphlet describes the IMF-World Bank initiative begun in 1996 to address in a comprehensive manner the overall debt burden of eligible heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs) pursuing programs of adjustment and reform supported by the two organizations. The aim of the Initiative is to reduce these countries debt to sustainable levels so that they can meet current and future debt service obligations without unduly compromising growth. This pamphlet describes the rationale for and the main features of the Initiative as it was originally conceived in 1996 and its implementation through the fall of 1999, which culminated in the approval of an enhanced HIPC Initiative in late 1999 that is aimed at providing deeper and more rapid debt relief to a larger number of countries. The enhanced HIPC Initiative also seeks to ensure that debt relief is integrated into a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy that is developed with broad-based participation and tailored to the country's circumstances.
This pamphlet reports on how the enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) is meeting its aim of delivering faster, broader, and deeper debt relief to more HIPCs once these countries have shown a commitment to put the freed-up funds to work for the poor. The pamphlet also includes introductory sections that explain the rationale for the HIPC Initiative and describe how it works. A concluding section discusses the Initiative’s top challenge in the year ahead: to bring the remaining eligible countries to their decision points under the Initiative as fast and realistically as possible.
Many factors contribute to poverty. War, corruption, and destructive economic management are among the most pervasive. Others worsen poverty’s impact. Unsustainable debt is one such factor. Half of the 600 million people living in the 40 poorest, most debt-burdened countries struggle to survive on less than one dollar a day. They die earlier, have access to fewer schools and teachers, and are hungrier and sicker than their counterparts in other developing countries.
Countries affected by the debt crisis of the 1980s received concerted support from the international financial community in the form of Paris Club flow reschedulings (rescheduling of debt service falling due), stock-of-debt operations (reduction in the stock of outstanding debt) under the Brady plan, and adjustment programs supported by the multilateral financial institutions. These measures proved effective in significantly improving the debt situation of many middle-income countries. A number of poor countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa, however, continued to face difficulties in meeting their external debt-servicing obligations because of a confluence of factors. These included the accumulation—through, among other things, provision by creditors of official export credits and poor external debt-management strategies in the debtor countries—of significant nonconcessional debt, a deterioration in debtors’ terms of trade, vagaries of weather, protracted civil wars, weak economic policies, and weaknesses in governance.1
This paper examines the role of the IMF’s first and longest-lasting borrowing arrangements, the General Arrangements to Borrow (GAB), from their inception in 1961–62 to their fundamental reform and enlargement in 1983. The General Arrangements were a product of the times. They were designed to help the IMF deal with growing strains in the par value system caused by the underlying balance-of-payments problems of the two major reserve centers, the United States and the United Kingdom. The General Arrangements were strengthened by the association of Switzerland, a nonmember of the IMF, in 1964.