Under the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG1), the international community aims to halve the global rate of extreme income poverty—as measured by the share of the population living on less than $1 per day—between 1990 and 2015. Current trends and growth forecasts indicate that this goal will be achieved, although not in Sub-Saharan Africa. High growth in China and India explains much of the reduction in the global poverty rate, although progress toward MDG1 has also quickened in many other developing countries. High growth has continued in most of the developing world in the past year as a result of better policies in developing countries and a favorable global environment. The outlook for growth and poverty reduction remains favorable, although some risks remain. In particular, low-income country per capita growth is expected to remain above 5 percent in 2007.1
This paper reviews recent developments in private market financing for developing countries. Bank creditors themselves have been more amenable to restructuring in an environment where secondary market discounts on bank claims were falling significantly below the level of bank provisioning. This has allowed banks to realize substantial book profits by participating in debt operations. Debt conversions have also played a substantial role in reducing commercial bank debt. The pace of such conversions, however, has slowed over the past year in response to lower secondary market discounts on external debt and to a drop in privatization-related conversions. The re-entry to international capital markets by certain middle-income countries that had experienced debt-servicing difficulties gathered momentum over the past year. Total bond issues in international markets by the main re-entrants accounted for over half of issues by developing countries in this period. In contrast to the experience in securities markets, new bank lending to market re-entrants has remained limited and is confined mainly to short-term trade lines or project financing.
This paper provides information on private market financing for developing countries, covering developments since August 1992. Progress in dealing with bank debt problems has been based in large part on persistence in the pursuit of stabilization and reform programs. Such programs have resulted in strengthened external positions that have allowed debtor countries to accumulate reserves for use in debt-reduction operations. All of the countries where negotiations are now continuing had at some point suspended payments on medium- and long-term debt. Banks have recognized that resumption of regular (albeit partial) payments can be politically difficult in the absence of a quid pro quo. The group of middle-and lower-middle income countries with debt problems still to come to terms with bank creditors on debt-reduction packages is now limited. Many of these remaining countries (including Bulgaria, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Poland) have already begun negotiations with creditor banks.
This paper focuses mainly on official bilateral and multilateral financing for countries that have rescheduled their debts to official bilateral creditors. In contrast to the approaches taken by private lenders, official creditors have continued to provide new financing on a large scale to countries with debt-servicing difficulties that implement adjustment and reform programs. Financial support bas been provided through a wide variety of instruments and channels. For the low-income rescheduling countries as a group, total financial assistance has been about as large as these countries' own export earnings in every year since 1986. The recent trends in official financing have important ramifications for developing countries. Access to external financing from official sources is likely to remain high for those countries whose adjustment and reform efforts provide assurances that resources will be used efficiently. Conversely, countries with uneven records of policy implementation (particularly as regards payments arrears) are likely to find difficulty in attracting financial support.
Since 2000, over 34 million additional children in the developing world have gained the chance to attend, and complete, primary school—one of the most massive expansions of schooling access in history. Over 550 million children have been vaccinated against measles—doubling the coverage rates in some countries, and driving down measles deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa by 75 percent. The number of developing-country AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) patients with access to antiretroviral treatment increased from 240,000 in 2001 to over 1.6 million at mid-2006. Despite migration and resource constraints, health workers and clinic visits across the developing world are increasing significantly, as are the share of pregnant women with access to health care when they deliver, and the share of young children with regular health and nutrition screening. There is now little question that the “stretch” goals adopted by the global community in 2000 to promote human development have helped stimulate and support more rapid expansion of basic health and education services across the developing world.
The 2006 World Development Report acknowledges the importance of ensuring equal opportunities across population groups as an intrinsic aspect of development and as an instrument for achieving poverty reduction and growth (World Bank 2005). Noting that men and women have starkly different access to assets and opportunities in many countries around the world, the report refers to gender inequality as the archetypal “inequality trap,” reproducing further inequalities with negative consequences for women’s well-being, their families, and their communities. MDG3 reflects the strong belief by the development community that redressing gender disparities and empowering women is an important development objective on grounds of both fairness and efficiency.1
Developed countries can help developing countries’ progress toward the MDGs by delivering on commitments of more (and more effective) assistance and by improving market access for these countries. The chapter assesses donors’ performance by monitoring recent trends in the overall volume, allocation, and delivery of aid; implementation of debt relief; and progress on global trade reform.
The environment in which the international financial institutions (IFIs)—the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the regional development banks—operate today is different from that of just a few years ago. Globalization, a growing differentiation among developing countries, the availability of alternative financial resources, and the multiplication of actors on the development landscape—all these have forced IFIs to adapt their strategies for supporting developing countries’ efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Through closer collaboration with one another and with development partners, and through reform of their own governance, these institutions are seeking greater legitimacy and relevance in a world of overlapping and increasingly complex development mandates. This chapter examines the responsibilities of the IFIs within the Monterrey compact and their recent performance in carrying out those responsibilities.