Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Tag: debt

 

Publication

Two out of five low-income countries were in the grips of, or moving rapidly toward, unsustainable debt levels before the global pandemic. But the economic, financial, and fiscal effects of the pandemic have brought the day of reckoning for many countries much closer. The global financial community is likely entering another period of messy, prolonged, costly, and contentious debt defaults and restructurings. It does so with no more—and in some ways less—consensus on the principles that should govern collective action by public and private creditors, debtor governments, and the IFIs.

Projected IDA allocations under scenario 4, with grants rising to 59%

More World Bank Borrowers Will Need Grants, Not Loans. As a Result, More World Bank Donors Will Need to Pony Up

Rather than providing relief on repayments from existing loans, IDA’s debt sustainability framework adjusts future financing from loans to grants for countries at high risk of debt distress. But what happens to IDA’s loans-to-grants model when a large number of IDA countries trigger the risk thresholds? Can IDA afford its commitment to debt sustainability?

Publication

Around the turn of the century, there was a broad recognition that the debt burden of many developing countries was impeding their growth. Much of the debt had accumulated in the context of the Cold War and had not resulted in productive investment.

A worker at a power station in Kabul. Photo by Graham Crouch, World Bank

5 Principles on the Uses and Misuses of Debt Relief to Address the Coronavirus Pandemic

Debt relief for low-income countries is on the table of measures to consider for coronavirus response. The imperative right now is to get cash to LICs as quickly as possible. Suspending some debt service payments may be a good first step in freeing up some budget space for new spending. Beyond that, protracted debt-relief negotiations with multilateral and commercial creditors right now could be a distraction at best but could also actively undermine the ability of institutions like the World Bank to offer new financing for crisis response.

Adobe Stock image of a pile of coins with a rising bar graph overlaid

HIPC with Chinese Characteristics: Why Yesterday’s Debt Relief Is the Wrong Point of Reference for Today’s Crises

Concerns about rising debt risks in developing economies were front and center at the annual meetings. HIPC is a useful reference point as we talk about a new round of debt crises. But thanks to the rise of China as a lender, the creditor community today looks much different from the HIPC creditor community—with implications for any resolution to a debt crisis.

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