This paper evaluates whether debt relief and grants can boost social expenditures in lowincome countries. It finds that declines in debt-service help raise social expenditures, but no relationship between grants and social expenditures. Moreover, since the mid-1980s, lowincome countries have managed to fully insulate social expenditures from the effects of budgetary tightening. The magnitude of the impact of these effects on social expenditures, however, is dwarfed by the resources needed to enable these countries to reach the Millennium Development Goals.
This paper examines a number of structural factors affecting the external debt sustainability of HIPC completion point countries. It shows that (i) while comparing favorably with other lowincome countries, the policy and institutional frameworks of completion point countries in general are still relatively weak, and their debt management practices remain inferior to international standards; and (ii) their export base remains narrow and fiscal revenue mobilization lags behind, even compared with many other low-income countries. Achieving and maintaining long-term debt sustainability in completion point countries will require continued structural reforms, timely donor support, and close monitoring of new borrowing in support of sound macroeconomic policies.