Studienbanner_klein Studien von Zeitfragen
36. Jahrgang InternetAusgabe 2002
SvZ Net 2002
Suche / Archiv
IMF & Chapter 9 I
IMF & Chapter 9 II
IMF & Chapter 9 III
Reform des IWF?
Test Case Argentina
Briefe vom IWF
Specter 11



Solving Sovereign Debt Overhang

by Internationalising Chapter 9

Procedures *

Kunibert Raffer


A. Introduction

B. Debts and Structural Disequilibria

C. Debt Management after 1982 – A Never-ending Hapless Story

 1. Delaying the Necessary Solution

 2. From HIPC I to HIPC II - Delaying Further

 3. Creditor Caused Damage

D.   A Free and Transparent Arbitration Process aka International Chapter 9 Insolvency

 1. Early Calls for International Insolvency

 2. The Essence of Insolvency

 3. Chapter 9 Insolvency within the US

 4 The Framework of an International Chapter 9 or FTAP

E. The Need for an International Chapter 9 - Lessons from History

F. Renewed Interest in International Insolvency Procedures

G. Conclusion



A.    Introduction

 "Present debt management has been characterised by unhampered creditor power with dire consequences for debtor countries, in particular for so-called vulnerable groups. Granting too small reductions too slowly has prolonged rather than solved the problem. It is clear that debtors will be unable to repay more than a fraction of their nominal debts. Quick initiative was shown occasionally to bail out money centre banks or in the cases of Mexico 1994-5 and Asia 1997 speculators at large"[1].

 This statement might have sounded radical when it was published in 1998. Meanwhile, however, it is shared by the International Financial Institution Advisory Commission established by the US Congress as part of the legislation authorising approximately $18 billion of additional funding by the US for the IMF, colloquially referred to as the Meltzer Commission. Stating that neither "the IMF, nor others, has [sic!] produced much evidence that its policies and actions have this beneficial effect" of cushioning declines in income and living standards, the Commission concludes: "One reason may be that IMF loans permit some private lenders to be repaid on more favorable terms, so the benefits have gone mainly to those lenders."[2] The Meltzer Commission also found:

  It soon became apparent that the growing debt burdens of Latin American debtor countries were not sustainable, regardless of whether countries followed or ignored IMF advice. IMF assistance postponed debt reduction. The postponement of the inevitable debt write-down and restructuring was costly. It delayed renegotiation of the debt and the resumption of capital inflows, investment and economic growth. As a result the decline in living standards was deeper and more prolonged. During the 1980s, as the unpaid principal and accumulated interest rose, Latin America remained stagnant. Many critics of the IMF policy of lending to countries that could not service their debts viewed this policy as contributing to the delay of the necessary restructuring process and subsequent recovery.[3]

  The Meltzer Commission stated expressly that "default should not always be prevented in these countries or elsewhere"[4], but stopped short of demanding a proper, fair, and economically sound procedural framework for such defaults. It stated: "Proposals for bankruptcy courts, collective action clauses and other contractual changes, or other attempts to share losses between private and public lenders and institutions, raise many unresolved problems. None of them is problem free."[5] Nevertheless it "believes that the development of new ways of resolving sovereign borrower and lender conflicts in default situations should be encouraged but left to the participants until there is a better understanding by debtors, creditors, and outside observers of how, if at all, public sector intervention can improve negotiations."[6]

  This invitation  to advocate a viable model of international insolvency is gladly taken up by this publication, although the idea of government insolvency a such is not really that new. One of the Commission’s members, Jeffrey D. Sachs, was an outspoken advocate of an internationalisation of US insolvency procedures of private firms during the 1980s. The first to make this proposal, though, was a Glaswegian professor of moral theology, held in esteem by most economists as well as by quite a few politicians. Unfortunately, though, his lucid advice is still not accepted:

  When it becomes necessary for a state to declare itself bankrupt, in the same manner as when it becomes necessary for an individual to do so, a fair, open, and avowed bankruptcy is always the measure which is both least dishonourable to the debtor, and least hurtful to the creditor.[7]

  Unfortunately, official creditors are still determined to deny an economically indicated and sensible solution to Southern Countries (SCs), upholding the equivalent of debt prisons for Southern debtors, to whom they keenly preach on human rights and decent legal frameworks, accepting high social costs – to which inter alia the Meltzer Commission drew attention – to the world’s poorest.

  After too many years of economically inefficient "debt management" that put creditor interests in the narrowest possible sense above the Rule of Law and basic principles of human rights but could not even avoid continuous and substantial growth of debts in the South there have been encouraging signs recently. Many NGOs have taken up the proposal of an international insolvency modelled after the basic ideas of  the US Chapter 9, a special procedure for debtors with governmental powers. Quite often the formulation Fair and Transparent Process of Arbitration (FTAP) has been used recently to avoid the word insolvency, particularly by NGOs from the South. The Declaration of Tegucigalpa, though, the platform of Latin American Jubilee movements, explicitly calls for an international Chapter 9 insolvency on 27 January 1999. So do ErlaĂźjahr 2000 in Germany and the Austrian Jubilee campaign, ErlaĂźjahr 2000 Ă–sterreich.

  Another more recent and very positive evolution is the emphasis put on this proposal within the UN, during the UN processFinancing for Development, and most notably the call for a "debt arbitration process to balance the interests of creditors and sovereign debtors and introduce greater discipline into their relations"[8] in his Millenium Report by the Secretary General himself.

  Very recently, the ministers of finance of the US, the UK, and Canada have supported the idea of international insolvency. Finally, even the IMF's new First Deputy Managing Director, Anne Krueger demanded a framework "mimicking the features of the formal process that happens frequently in domestic bankruptcy regimes".[9]

  Encouraged by what has to be seen a greater openness towards the solution advocated already by Adam Smith this publication is going to present the idea of an international insolvency once again in greater detail. It will start by pointing out that the problem of Southern overindebtedness has to be seen in a broader context. Also, it is important to show that the debt problem existed long before August 1982, when Mexico declared itself unable to honour debt obligations as contractually due, and the date conventionally called the beginning of the debt crisis, although Poland's default in 1981 was already a major shock. Dating the beginning of the debt crisis in the 1980s veils the fact that the underlying structural causes of the debt problem had existed long before. The date also disguises the long and dismal record of debt management and the ineffectiveness of the policies enforced by the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs) in restoring the sustainable economic viability of debtor countries. 1982 is an important date with respect to BWI-influence on debtor economies, though, which increased dramatically since then. Any financial support to debtors has been made contingent on the "seal of approval" by the BWIs, even though they have not delivered any sustainable successes. Apparently, fundamental structural disequilibria in economic North-South relations seem to be the root of the problem. The debt crisis was foreseeable and was foreseen well before that year. This is important for the evaluation of the effectiveness of present debt management by the BWIs.

  The publication will then produce a rather brief sketch of the history of "debt management" since 1982, to be followed by a description of domestic Chapter 9 procedures in the US. Then, the basic features of an international Chapter 9 – or FTAP – are described. Doing so this publication will also discuss counterarguments that have come up since internationalising Chapter 9 for sovereign debtors was first proposed in 1987.[10] Referring to historical de facto precedents it will argue that this solution can be implemented. Finally, it will list authors and institutions that have supported this idea or at the very least mentioned it favourably. The final conclusion is, of course, that Adam Smith’s advice should finally be heeded to avoid further unnecessary damages to debtor economies and further unnecessary suffering by vulnerable groups.


B. Debts and Structural Disequilibria in the Global Economy

 Prepared on request of the president of the IBRD the Pearson Report[11] already identified structural origins of the debt problem in 1969, strongly recommending debt relief. It warned of "many serious difficulties" that could result from "very large scale lending", emphasising that "The accumulation of excessive debts is usually the combined result of errors of borrower governments and their foreign creditors. Failures on the part of the debtors will be obvious. The responsibility of foreign creditors is rarely mentioned."[12] This sounds as modern as its finding that debt management had emphasised spending cuts and credit restrictions while neglecting the need to sustain sound development outlays.

  The Pearson Report considered the debt problem already so urgent that it suggested the application of a unique feature of the $3.75 billion US-UK loan in 1945 (at 2 per cent interest), the so-called Bisque clause, to provide "a timely policy alternative to moratoria or debt rescheduling when a country is in temporary balance of payments difficulty"[13]. This clause allowed the debtor (the UK) to waive or cancel interest payments unilaterally contingent on certain conditions. It was agreed to change it in 1957: the UK was then entitled to postpone up to seven instalments of principal and interest. Four of these seven deferrals had been used when the Pearson Report was written. Deferred payments were to be paid after 2001, carrying an interest of 2 per cent.

  Recently the OECD[14] started a thirty-year retrospective on aid with the "pathbreaking" Pearson Report, recalling some of its findings as "still relevant today". However, the Report's recommendations regarding overindebtedness are not mentioned, even though they are highly topical at present

 The Pearson Report proves that the problem was there before the lending spree of the 1970s and thus well before 1982. The debt problem results from structural inequalities and disequilibria in the global economy, putting SCs at a disadvantage - the structural resource gaps to which the Prebisch-Singer-Thesis (PST) had drawn attention when showing evidence for secularly falling terms of trade. The PST rocked the boat of professional complacency exposing an apparent contradiction between theoretical expectations and practical outcome. Economists had initially expected Southern Net Barter Terms of Trade to improve because of industrial economies of scale, faster technical progress in the North, and the law of diminishing returns applying to the raw material exporting South. Regarding price relations, economies of scale and technical progress have the same effect: both reduce costs, which must lead to lower prices in a functioning market. The dominant view on Net Barter Terms of Trade necessarily results from the neoclassical model, which had ruled unchallenged before. One conveniently assumed that actual trade was in fact as beneficial as its academic model. Prof. Jevons was indeed so worried about price hikes for raw materials so steep that a modest full professor's pension would be insufficient to heat his home that he stored as much coal in his house to provide for his bleak future as he possibly could. If Professor Jevons had been right the market would have worked and might actually have solved the problem of development as assumed.

  Really existing markets however do not live up to theoretical models. The PST rocked the boat of professional complacency exposing an apparent contradiction between theoretical expectations and practical outcome. Secularly deteriorating Southern Net Barter Terms of Trade destroy the whole established logic based on a beneficial world market. While this point is elaborated in greater detail elsewhere,[15] only the one point essential for the topic discussed here is summarised: export earnings are lower than they should be according to neoclassical theory, and resources needed to finance development are lost. Or, world markets push SCs into structural disequilibria. The existence of structural disequilibria was to some extent also recognised by orthodoxy and its dual gap approach. Naturally, this theorem was less controversial, stating that there was a domestic gap due to insufficient savings to finance necessary investments, and a scarcity of foreign exchange. The external gap generated from the necessity to import most investment goods. One could explain the foreign exchange gap by domestic shortcomings as well as by failures of international markets. The foreign exchange gap has to be overcome by external finance.

  The problem recognised by the Pearson Report was covered up by the "easy money" of the 1970s - more precisely the increasing exposure of commercial banks in the South, starting as early as the end of the 1960s. One should note that this was well before the so-called first oil crisis of 1973-4, which is usually but wrongly blamed as the one and practically only reason of the present crisis[16]. Commercial banks lent eagerly. The importance of official and multilateral sources for the South declined. Commercial loans covered the structural problems identified in the 1960s. Political intervention to help commercial banks through comparatively small crises during the 1970s contributed to the growth of debts. The end of high international liquidity in the 1980s brought the problems identified by the Pearson report again to everyone's attention.

  Abbott[17] saw the roots of the debt crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa in the 1960s, when foreign debts first began to accumulate faster than economies or foreign exchange earnings were growing. Seeing insolvency rather than illiquidity as the problem, he already proposed debt cancellation.

  Accepting the need for debt alleviation the major creditors adopted the so-called Retroactive Terms Adjustment (RTA) in 1978, measures to provide debt relief and improve the net flow of bilateral official aid to Low Income Countries. Debts of these countries were mostly caused by official flows, including aid. One should mention the co-responsibility of official creditors deciding and monitoring where and how their money is spent. The programme's long-winded, clumsy name documents the creditors' desire to avoid the words debt relief or debt cancellation, not to mention insolvency. This steadfast refusal to recognise realities officially has remained the most important hindrance to proper debt management and to a viable solution of the crisis until the most recent declarations at the end of 2001. The word insolvency remained ostracised until the first shock after the Mexican disaster in 1995, and creditor governments were still not willing to accept insolvency procedures as the proper and necessary solution to the debt problem until very recently.

  Warnings against overindebtedness were heard in Latin America as early as the late 1960s. Citing dramatic proportions of foreign public debts Wionczek[18] thought a debt crisis comparable to the 1930s possible. Many crises in the South after 1982 have dwarfed the experience of the 1930s. A conference in Mexico City in October 1977 discussed solutions to the debt problem. G.K. Helleiner[19] demanded rules for debt relief, including the reduction of present values of repayments. The IBRD's C.S. Hardy[20] warned of debt problems, classifying refinancing as "not really a credible alternative". The co-ordinator of this conference, M.S. Wionczek[21], explained the post-1977 wave of optimism in the face of a deteriorating situation: "in terms of institutional interests and social psychology rather than economic and financial analysis".

  The BWIs themselves started Structural Adjustment well before 1982. According to Finance & Development, their official quarterly, the IMF started in Sub-Saharan Africa already after 1973.[22] During this early phase, when the Fund was apparently glad to find clients, conditionality was considered lenient "in relation to the required adjustment effort"[23]. Adjustment programmes were initially planned for one year. This time horizon was preferred, apparently because of convenient accounting.[24] In 1979 conditionality became stricter. 88 arrangements were approved by the IMF between January 1979 and December 1981, to support adjustment policies, particularly measures to reach a sustainable balance of payments position.[25] All countries asking for rescheduling in 1981 "had adopted an adjustment program" with the Fund when negotiating with their creditors.[26]

  Officially the IBRD started its involvement in programme lending in 1980, but it exerted influence in connection with projects before. The Bank always used its leverage to support the IMF and its policy against resistance by SCs. After some turf fighting Structural Adjustment has been administered jointly by both institutions – a duplication of bureaucratic procedures that hardly recalls efficient management.

  The BWIs, particularly the IMF, did not arrive on the scene after August 1982 to solve a problem created by others, but they had been part of the process leading to it .[27] Their type of adjustment did not prevent the debt crisis. A critic might say that the first unsuccessful adjustment programmes existed before the official start of the debt crisis. The IMF might counter by pointing out that it did not have sufficient leverage before 1982 to force countries into necessary reforms. Naturally, this would be at odds with the claim that debtors themselves "own" programmes only "supported" by BWIs. The issue of "ownership" is another peculiar feature of the BWIs. Depending on occasions and audiences these institutions either claim to be only supporting a country's own programme or to make a country adopt "sensible" policies - one but not the only clear logical inconsistency. The claim of country-"ownership" is heard more often recently than in the past, when more pride was expressed on how tightly SCs were controlled. Both official sources and publications by leading BWI-staff show that countries do not "own" programmes.[28] Finally, one would have to ask why programmes were financed if and when the IMF was aware that necessary reforms were not undertaken and the money could thus not be put to good use.


C. Debt Management after 1982 – A Never-ending Hapless Story

 After 1982, when commercial banks withdrew from the South, multilateral funds poured in, allowing commercial banks to receive higher (re)payments than otherwise possible. A remarkable shift in the structure of debts occurred. It deserves mentioning that the BWIs did not even criticise the practice of some private banks to force debtor governments to guarantee retroactively already insolvent private debts. They chose to ignore it. Although this ex post socialisation made debt management more difficult the BWIs insisted on punctual service of these debts as well.

  Debt management by Bank and Fund has received unconditional support by their major shareholders, in spite of apparent and protracted lack of success. Gravest officially documented failures, e.g. by the internal Operations Evaluation Department or the Wapenhans Report, have not even made creditor countries dominating the BWIs by their voting majority question the effectiveness of the BWIs seriously, let alone demand appropriate reforms.[29]

  The substantial bail-out of private banks by multilaterals was aptly called an "implicit taxpayers' subsidy" by Jeffrey Sachs.[30] In a major process of risk-shifting risk was reallocated to public multilaterals, increasing their share of debts substantially. This hardened conditions for debtors since multilaterals - in marked contrast to private banks - have always refused to reschedule or reduce their claims until HIPC I. A financial merry-go-round started to keep up the pretence that multilaterals do not reschedule. Funds from, say, the Bank were used to repay the IMF, allowing it in turn to lend again to the SC, so that the IBRD's loan could be serviced "in time". Not seldom OECD governments participated as intermediary financiers. The whole bill had to be picked up by debtors. It must also be pointed out that official debts are not necessarily cheaper than private loans.[31]

  In the 1990s another shift took place. New flows from new sources, namely bonds (as in the 1930s) and foreign direct investment poured into some SCs, allowing voluntary repayments to commercial banks and easy servicing of multilateral debts. Commercial banks themselves knew better than putting substantial sums of their own money into these countries again, a fact that should have cautioned those positing that the debt crisis had been overcome. Regulatory changes, relaxed quality guidelines and lowered minimum credit ratings, induced institutional investors to place money in the South. Official optimism as well as interest rate differences helped to attract money until the Mexican crash. Risk was shifted again, this time away from mulitlaterals onto institutional investors and the public at large. Induced by regulatory changes and official optimism they had replaced banks and international financial institutions to an extent that these "tens of millions of little-guy investors"[32] were one, if not the, main argument for the new $50 billion bail-out in Mexico.

  Many SCs, particularly the poorest, remain burdened by a high amount of multilateral debts they have to service with priority. Other creditors must wait and multilaterals receive the lion's share of debt service payments poor SCs actually make. After an embarrassingly long time of multilateral involvement in Africa - and before the euphoria about Latin America - it was attempted to declare that Structural Adjustment had worked. However, the famous statement "Recovery has begun"[33] by a leading IBRD official had to be withdrawn quickly, quite rightly so, as present experience shows.

  The specific characteristic of multilateral debts is that creditors do not only lend, but have always influenced the way their resources are used on a massive scale and down to details, to an extent that clients do not see these operations as in their interest any longer - they do not "own" them. As SCs have to pay for BWI-errors this is hardly surprising. This victim-pays-principle is a unique arrangement, which cannot be justified by economic or legal reasoning[34]. Under market conditions international firms can and do sue their consultants successfully in cases of wrong or negligent advice if they fail to observe certain standards of professionalism. Orange County sued Merill Lynch for $2 billion. Bank Austria sued Price Waterhouse for ÂŁ147 million, arguing they had not checked Sovereign Leasing, a firm Bank Austria invested in, with sufficient care. Damage compensation is also awarded to private individuals in the Anglo-Saxon legal system if a bank goes beyond mere lending. A British couple borrowing money from Lloyds sued the bank successfully, because its manager had advised and encouraged them to renovate and sell a house at a profit. The High Court ruled that the manager should have pointed out the risks clearly and should have advised them to abandon the project. Because of its advice Lloyds had to pay damages when prices in the property market fell and the couple suffered a loss.[35] If comparable standards were applied to the South there would be no problem of multilateral debts. Failures caused by the staff of multilateral institutions have to be paid for by borrowers, who might get burdened with a further loan enabling them to repair the damage financed by the first. At a time when letting the market work by connecting decisions and risks is gaining popularity in the former Soviet Union there is no reason why it should not become popular with multilateral creditors. Bringing the market to multilaterals would increase the quality of their programmes and projects considerably. The total and unjustified protection of the BWIs from legal and market consequences is one important factor explaining the present disaster. It defies both the very basic principle of the Rule of Law that anyone has to compensate damage done by him/her and the most basic principle of economics that those deciding must carry financial risks connected with this decision. It is therefore mandatory that multilaterals too are finally subjected to these principles, having to pay for damages done by them and their staffs.[36]

 1. Delaying the Necessary Solution

 Assessing the evolution of debts and the severity of the crisis after 1982 one must remember that the BWIs strongly encouraged SCs to borrow in international markets. Giving this advice the BWIs are part of the problem. In spite of RTA, the Pearson Report and other explicit warnings quoted above, the fact that new loans were mostly used to service old ones on time during the last years before 1982, or their own macroeconomic interventions and adjustment programmes the BWIs did not realise how serious the situation was. It took them an embarrassingly long time to acknowledge the nature and the dimension of the debt problem, as can be proved by a host of evidence from their own publications. As late as 1982 a paper in their official quarterly allayed fears that private banks might not cover SC-deficits. These wide spread concerns of "two years ago" had become unfounded "nowadays",[37] although it could not be excluded that some groups of non-oil-exporting SCs might not be able to borrow all the funds they might need in the future. Nowzad echoes the findings of an IMF working group on international capital markets published in Finance & Development of March 1981 in an unsigned article and as an Occasional Paper.

  Even after August 1982 the BWIs thought the money market functioned well, seeing no signs of liquidity bottlenecks, nor of restrictions regarding the capital base of private banks limiting lending to SCs, which was supposed to continue on a large scale.[38] The Task Force on Non-Concessional Flows established by the BWIs in 1979 presented their findings in May 1982.[39] Pointing out that the conclusions had been presented before the crisis and there was presently even less reason for optimism the author insisted that they did still hold.[40]

  In spite of this embarrassing (now largely forgotten) record the BWIs are now allowed to lecture on prudent borrowing. TheWorld Debt Tables 1992/93, e.g., explain that "the principal policy lesson of the debt crisis is that domestic resources and policy, not external finance per se are the key to economic development".[41] The IBRD goes on drawing conclusions such as

  heavy reliance on external finance is a risky strategy because it increases vulnerability to ad­verse external development and their attendant long-term development impact ...

 Prudent lending and borrowing policies should take into account the vulnerability to adverse external shocks. Current interest rates are a poor guide for external finance decisions. Seemingly cheap va­riable-rate loans may turn out to be expensive if interest rates increase. Negative terms of trade shocks may be permanent rather than transitory and merit adjustment rather than external finance.

 In a solvency crisis, early recognition of solvency as the root cause and the need for a final settle­ment are important for minimizing the damage. ...protracted renegotiations and uncertainty dama­ged economic activity in debtor countries for seve­ral years ... It took too long to recognize that liquidity was the visible tip of the problem, but not its root.[42]

  Ahmed and Summers[43] quantify the costs of delaying the recognition of the "now" generally acknowledged solvency crisis as "one decade" lost in development. This delay was caused by defenders of the so-called illiquidity theory in the 1980s, notably the IMF and the IBRD, positing that the debt crisis was a liquidity, not a solvency crisis. As most explicit advocates they supported this theory by overly optimistic forecasts "showing" that debtors would "grow out of" debts. In line with US policy they defended the view that debt reductions were unnecessary until the "Brady Plan" discarded it in 1989. The needed solution was delayed.

  After defending the illiquidity theory for quite some time the BWIs simply chose to forget their own arguments and analyses. They also fail to remember that the policies advised to (or forced on) debtor countries by them were based on this error. In other words: their "advice" or - paraphrasing a sterner source - their "firmer understanding"[44] of monitoring has created economic and social damages in SCs for which the countries, not the BWIs had to pay, thus increasing debt burdens, not least by new multilateral loans necessary to finance rehabilitation measures. Bank and Fund gained financially from their own errors. Naturally, official creditors do not see their delaying tactics as a reason for compensating at least part of the damage caused by them.

  Until September 1995 the BWIs denied officially that multilateral debts were a problem. Then a leaked discussion document of the IBRD's acknowledged for the first time that something had to be done about multilateral debt, since it was a heavy burden on many poor countries. A Multilateral Debt Facility was suggested and backed by the new president of the IBRD, James Wolfensohn, against strong internal opposition. The idea is simple: a fund financed by contributions from individual countries and from multilaterals themselves would pay off multilateral debts of eligible countries, thus maintaining the fiction that multilaterals do neither reschedule nor reduce debts. As creditor countries had to bail out multilaterals repeatedly in the past to keep this fiction "intact", the first part is not entirely new. The suggestion that multilaterals themselves should finance reductions of their own debts may be called new, although the IDA Debt Reduction Facility was already funded from the Bank's net income to reduce commercial debts. Making debt service of the IBRD's own loans easier, this implies an element of fungibility. The precise contribution by multilaterals to the new Facility remained unclear for some time, although the IBRD expected a $850 million windfall surplus in that year, which was seen as one source to finance the fund. According to The Economist of 6 September 1995 many people within the BWIs still clung to the old idea that new money and growing out of debts were the best solutions. Considering that this had been practised unsuccessfully for quite some time this view is hard to understand. It has delayed the early recognition of solvency and final settle­ment important for minimising damages, to which the IBRD itself rightly drew attention.

 2. From HIPC I to HIPC II - Delaying Further

 The first HIPC-Initiative was a step into the right direction and James Wolfensohn's efforts are highly commendable. By recognizing the need of multilateral debt reductions another important step forward was made. Some features of HIPC I already - though remotely - recall customary features of insolvency procedures. The officially declared objective of the first HIPC Initiative was to reach overall debt sustainability by co-ordinated action, allowing the country to exit from continuous reschedulings[45].

  So-called vulnerability factors introduced by HIPC I as well as the ranges of indicator ratios allow a more specific and tailor-made approach, as usual in insolvency cases. Finally, accepting actual data of the recent past as the basis, rather than notoriously "optimistic" BWI-projections introduced more realism. Nevertheless, optimism underlies HIPC II as well. In an assessment of the enhanced HIPC initiative pursuant to a congressional request the US General Accounting Office (GAO)[46] points out that maintaining debt sustainability will depend on assumptions of annual growth rates above 6 per cent (in US dollar terms) - in four cases including Nicaragua and Uganda even above 9.1 per cent - over 20 years. The GAO doubts whether such growth rates can actually be maintained for that long, warning also about the volatility of commodity prices. It points out that additional money ("increased donor assistance") will be necessary. HIPC II is apparently again built on fragile, optimistic assumptions.

  To qualify the country has to have a good track record with the BWIs. The indicators used for HIPC I were a ratio of debt stock (in Present Value terms) to exports of 200-250 per cent and a Debt Service Ratio (DSR: defined as debt service divided by export earnings) of 20-25, which were considered sustainable for extremely poor countries. As will be shown below this is a multiple of what creditors had considered sustainable in the case of Germany's debt reduction in 1953. Nevertheless creditors felt they were "generous". In practice HIPC I fell short of the needs of debtor economies, as even creditors had to recognise, mainly because creditors remained all powerful, judge, jury, bailiff, interested party, and witness all in one. Only NGO advocacy has provided some countervailing pressure. The results of the first HIPC-Initiative and the rules established by creditors prove what has been known: creditors must not be allowed to decide on debt reductions. This is not allowed by insolvency procedures in any decent legal system.

  If the IBRD is correct that the root is insolvency and that delays cause grave damages, there is no economic justification for delaying relief further, most evidently so for countries classified to be in an "unsustainable" situation. Delay only means allowing debts to grow further, as the history of debt management in general as well as of both HIPCs proves. Nevertheless HIPC I did not foresee immediate reductions but foresaw two three year periods first.

  Analysing the performance of HIPC I Raffer[47] predicted two years before Cologne that "another round - HIPC II - might already be in the making". At the Cologne G8 summit of 1999 the major creditor governments themselves recognised HIPC's failure, demanding a new approach, now often called Enhanced HIPC or HIPC II. With HIPC II creditors have officially admitted that HIPC I failed.

 Meanhwile HIPC II drags on and delays further. When the Okinawa summit took place in the summer of 2000 only one country, Uganda, had reached its completion point, after discussions and delays. The BWI Conference in Prague did not produce a new impetus. During the concluding press conference on 28 September 2000 the IBRD's president answered a question whether there were moves to simplifying procedures and whether there was progress justifying high expectations for deeper debt relief for the poorest very clearly

  There were high expectations, indeed, by some, but our expectations were to advance the implementation of the second program of the enhanced HIPC facilities. There was no indication that I'm aware of, given by Horst [Köhler, the Managing Director of the IMF] or myself, that we were going to get deeper or broader. That was certainly something that Jubilee 2000 and many others had been hoping for.

 But we have maintained a position that what we want to do between now and the end of the year is to implement, for as many countries as possible, the enhanced HIPC Initiative. We are hopeful that we will reach the target of 20 countries by the end of this year, at which point debt relief can be operative.[48]

  As this only means reaching decision point, this does not mean adequate relief yet. Maybe a Reuters report on the G7 finance ministers' meeting at Palermo in February 2001 formulated this point best, quoting that 22 of the world's poorest countries had been brought into the so-called HIPC debt relief initiative in 2000 according to the communiquĂ©. The agency added that G7 representatives also said they would work to ensure those countries benefitted fully from HIPC over the coming years (!), which would eventually (!) see two-thirds of their debts written off. In plain English no meaningful relief yet, nor in 2002.

  The new focus on poverty goes into the direction of one element of insolvency, debtor protection. Within an international insolvency procedure modelled after the US Chapter 9 it is proposed to exempt those resources needed to finance a humane minimum of basic education, health etc. for the poorest from the reach of creditors by establishing a Fund financing such measures. Focussing more on poverty - which the BWIs have claimed to have done anyway during the recent past - is thus a laudable idea. One may hope that it becomes more visible in the future than it was in the past.

  What happens at present largely repeats past errors. Too little is given too late, even though it might be more than in the past. By delaying a proper solution creditors continue to make debts grow further. They increase ultimately unrecoverable amounts, which exist only on paper, thus making debt relief look more expensive than it actually is. Rather than accepting the economic fact of insolvency, let alone financial accountability for their own errors, creditors saw both HIPC I and Cologne's HIPC II again as acts of mercy, not as steps towards the economic solution to overindebtedness universally applied to all debtors unless they are SCs. The problems of implementing HIPC I under creditor leadership and the continued delays since Cologne show very clearly that a legal framework is needed to deal with overindebted SCs, which - in contrast to Structural Adjustment - protects a minimum of human dignity of vulnerable groups. Without it the goal posts for eligibility may be moved any time, and one may resort to statistical tricks to minimise actual reductions, thus prolonging the problem. Also, one may go on treating some countries that meet all objective economic criteria for a HIPC differently from others, denying them the same treatment simply because creditors are afraid that this might be too costly.

  Nigeria, also a Severely Indebted Low Income Country, is an interesting illustration. It was classified a HIPC initially, but removed from the list in 1998 as no longer meeting the criteria. Its indicators were 250.14 and 11.22 in 1998. However, the low DSR results exclusively from the fact that Nigeria - unable to pay as due - had been accumulating huge arrears. Since 1993 debt service was a fraction of interest arrears on long term debt. Arrears of principal were always much higher than these interest arrears during that period. Simply by adding interest arrears Nigeria's DSR would have been slightly above 35 per cent in 1997. Adding all principal arrears shown by the Bank for 1997 would result in a DSR of 90.93 per cent[49]. In 1998 the situation is even more drastic. DSR obtained by dividing actual debt service plus interest arrears - as shown by the World Bank - by exports amounted  to 60.4 per cent. Adding principal arrears in the numerator results in well over 160 per cent, not surprisingly so, as arrears on long term debt alone were slightly higher than export income. Recent increases in crude prices will certainly affect Nigeria positively, but it remains to be seen whether they will push ratios back sufficiently to bring the ratio of debt service due to exports below the Cologne limits. Conveniently for creditors the country's very debt overhang - producing a low DSR - measured by the IBRD as actual payments but disregarding substantial arrears - provides a "reason" to argue that it is not highly indebted, therefore not in need of HIPC treatment. The higher arrears a bankrupt country amasses, the less necessary HIPC treatment becomes. This is a good illustration of the "sensible" economics on which both HIPC Initiatives are based.

  Unsurprisingly, one unsuccessful HIPC-Initiative has created the next unsuccessful HIPC-Initiative. With good reason the Zedillo Report already stated that HIPC II has "in most cases"[50] not gone far enough to reach sustainable debt levels, suggesting a "re-enhanced" HIPC III[51]. Past record and new rhetoric about the debtor country now being in charge leads one to assume that all the blame will again be put on debtors, claiming that they had not pursued proper policies. This blame could be corroborated by figures showing how "generous" actually given insufficient debt relief was compared with irrelevant market conditions. According to the IMF[52] "PRSPs [Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers] have been produced by the country authorities, and not by Bank and Fund staff". Thus blame must logically rest with the country even though the Fund states: "Greater ownership is the single most often cited, but also the least tangible, change in moving to PRGF-supported programs. There is no single element of program design or documentation that will signal this change." An economically sensible solution with a human face is needed, an international Chapter 9 provides it.

 3. Creditor Caused Damage

 Wrong decisions by creditors unwilling to accept economic facts and powerful enough to have their way have exacerbated the problem. Avoiding smaller write-offs first, official creditors increased debts and the write-offs unavoidable later. One can protect the illusion that everything will by repaid by bankrupt borrowers by going on lending or capitalising interest arrears for quite a while, theoretically forever. This increases the costs of debt relief on paper, due to higher shares of uncollectable debts. One must not forget, though, that the poorest, not creditors, have been affected by the crisis most severely.

  The economic inadvisability of present debt management and the growth of unpayable debts it causes can be shown with some extremely basic mathematics. For the sake of simplicity and clarity an interest rate of 5% is assumed, no amortisation, and total debts of $1000 at the beginning of year 1.

 Table 1: Evolution of Unpayable Debts


     Debt Stock    Debt Service   Debt Service    New Debt

          due              paid

Year 1    1000          50               25                       25

Year 2    1025          51.25           26.25                 25

Year 3    1050          52.5             26.5                    26

Year 4    1076          53.8             27.8                    26

Year 5    1102          55.1             28.1                    27

Year 6    1129          56.45          28.45                  28

Year 7    1157          57.85           28.85                  29

Year 8    1186          59.3             29.3                    30

Year 9    1216          60.8             29.8                    31

Year 10   1247         62.35           30.35                 32


 At the end of year 1 debts have grown by $25 due to the debtor's inability to pay and the need to capitalise interest arrears. As the debtor is insolvent rather than (temporarily) illiquid this liquidity problem does not disappear. Debts start accumulating. At the end of year 10 the stock of debts is $1279 ($1247 + $32). The gaps between debt service due and actually paid widens although the debtor pays steadily more debt service, possibly so because of the lemon squeezer effect of BWI-type "Structural Adjustment". Nevertheless, debts accumulate in the books of creditors with increasing shares of debts that cannot be repaid, which we may call "phantom debts".

  The example in Table 1 could be complicated, e.g., by introducing amortisations, variable interest rates or inflation, but the basic mechanism remains unchanged. Capitalised arrears increase debt stocks, as anyone familiar with basic mathematical operations can verify. Phantom debts eventually grow too. Caused by creditors unwilling to acknowledge insolvency, debts are boosted to ever more unrealistic levels, making debt reductions to economically sustainable amounts appear costlier and costlier on paper. Forgiving $520 at the end of year 2 would have allowed the debtor to pay the rest without problems - if the level of foreign exchange income assumed for this year by the example can at least be maintained. This is by no means sure if and when protracted debt service at the cost of necessary replacements has reduced production capacities, as feared by the IBRD or the GATT already in the 1980s. Finally, $672 must be forgiven (new debt stock: $607) to allow honouring all obligations with $30.35. The difference of $152 results from the unwillingness of creditors to grant timely reduction. It never existed economically as it could never be actually cashed.

  Logically, debts have grown further by capitalised arrears, adding unpayable debts on top of those obligations an insolvent debtor is already unable to honour. If a debtor has to pay n% interest, but is only able to pay m% (m<n) the stock of debts grows by (n-m)% every year. Debts keep growing by capitalisation of arrears, multiplying by [1 + (m-n)](k-1) over k yearsif arrears occur at the end of year 1 for the first time and the relation m/n remains constant. With n and m assumed constant (5 and 2.5 respectively) debts would, e.g., increase by 28 percent over a decade. If the debtor is insolvent rather than illiquid, debts start accumulating on paper, further beyond an insolvent debtor's economic capacity to repay. Debts that can never be repaid because of increasing gaps between economic capacity and payments contractually due - "phantom debts"[53] - must increase eventually. Creditors unwilling to grant sufficient relief when necessary, increase irrecouperable debts. Total debts are pushed to ever more unrealistic levels, making reductions to economically sustainable amounts appear costlier and costlier on paper as the share of phantom debts increases. Existing only on paper they nevertheless compromise the debtor's economic future. They also allow creditors to exert pressure. The important point is that phantom debts can never be recouped by creditors. There is some justice in that because they owe their existence to creditor mismanagement anyway. "Forgiving" them does not really mean losing money as official creditors often claim. Money one cannot get, cannot be lost. Reducing phantom debts is simply an acknowledgement of facts. Minds more critical than I might even call it redress. Deleting phantom debts simply means stopping to play the Emperor's New Clothes, acknowledging the naked economic truth.

  As phantom debts make sensible debt reductions look costly creditors are reluctant to grant them, although the money is already lost, and real costs are zero. This applies in particular to official creditors, either because they unjustifiedly insist on preferential treatment, or because they have no loan loss reserves. Trying to keep write-offs small to go easy on their budgets, official creditors allowed debts to grow further, thus increasing the problem, forcing themselves to accept much bigger write-offs later when the illusion of repayment finally crumbles. Insolvency laws in all decent legal frameworks avoid precisely this kind of creditor dominated debt management increasing phantom debts at the expense of the debtor’s economic recovery. They insist on neutral bodies deciding necessary debt reductions. The fatal flaw of both HIPC-Initiatives - unhampered creditor power causing insufficient debt reductions - is ruled out by all insolvency procedures. Debtors are not left completely at the mercy of creditors. Phantom debts show that a neutral institution makes economic sense.

  The assumption that actual payments are never less than half the payments due is quite optimistic, in particular for HIPCs. According to the IBRD Sub-Saharan Africa has, e.g., paid less than one fifth of the amounts due in quite a few years during the recent past. The realism of the simple illustration in Table 1 is corroborated by official sources. Despite high net transfers HIPC-debts have kept growing. The IBRD[54] acknowledges the effects of delaying relief:

  The surge in borrowing, coupled with increasing reliance on rescheduling and refinancing, increased the nominal stock of debts of HIPCs from $55 billion in 1980 to $183 billion in 1990 ... by the end of 1995 it had reached $215 billion.

  The slowdown from an annual growth rate of 12.77 per cent to 3.28 per cent in the 1990s was achieved by a shift towards more grants, higher concessionality and forgiving ODA debts. The IBRD[55] acknowledged: "In many HIPCs the negative impact of external debts seems to come more from the growing debt stock rather than from the excessive burden of debt service actually paid." In plain English: countries pay little, capitalising a lot of arrears.

  This accumulation of arrears is hidden by conventional debt indicators of the BWIs that are based on actual payments. This debt service ratio divides actual payments by export earnings. The less a country pays - the higher its debt overhang - the lower its DSR becomes, while arrears accumulate. Therefore I recommended dividing actual debt service by contractually due debt service as a suitable indicator for the real debt problem.[56] This new indicator is simply

 0≤ DSR/DSRd*≤1   (1)

 DSR is the Debt Service Ratio as defined by the World Bank (cash base). The subscript d denotes payments contractually due. DSRd* in the denominator contains debt service plus arrears. Theoretically the real debt service ratio must include all payments due but not effected including interest arrears and amortisation of short term debt and capitalised interest. Furthermore, it should include rescheduled principal arrears for every year. Due to constraints of data availability I had to define DSRd* as the contractual debt service ratio (DSRd) plus interest capitalised. While an improvement on traditional debt indicators, it still understates the burden of debt service. The index is 1 if payments are made on time, 0 if the debtor does not pay at all. The less the debtor pays, the lower my index gets, revealing the real debt burden, which conventional indicators hide. It does not suffer from the ambiguity of the IBRD's Interest Service Ratio or Debt Service Ratio, which may be equally low if a debtor has few debts or simply does not pay as stipulated.

  Assuming exports earnings of $600 in our example above, conventional debt indicators based on actual payments are 5.06% - Debt Service Ratios (DSRs) are also Interest Service Ratios. This hides accumulating arrears. The less countries pay - the higher a debt overhang grows - the lower DSRs become. If debt service actually due were divided by export revenues (DSRd*) 10.4% would result, more than double the conventional ratio. Calculating DSRd* with readily available IBRD-data for Sub-Saharan Africa and Low-Income Countries during the 1990s produces values around 0.2 and 0.4 respectively. In 1992 Sub-Sahara Africa’s DSRd*was 0.126.[57]

  Interestingly, SSA's conventional debt indicators were dramatically lower than Latin America's at the beginning of the 1990s. However, International Financial Institutions (IFIs) did not interpret them as optimistically as in the case of Latin America, a fact which must be taken into account when evaluating their optimism on Latin America's recovery.

 From this simple illustration interesting conclusions emerge:

  1) Deleting phantom debts is "generosity for free". Debtors get no real relief. Costs of debt relief are exaggerated by including phantom costs at face value. An example are costs of $34 billion over time – two thirds of HIPC’s total costs - estimated officially for 22 Decision Point HIPCs.

  2) Meaningful reduction must go beyond removing phantom debts. A certain share of remaining claims can be paid if the debtor’s future - in US legal parlance: "fresh start" - is put at risk. In any insolvency case more than $672 would be cancelled to protect debtors and to ensure economic sustainability. Investment needed to ensure viability and "tools of trade" are exempt. Debtor are also guaranteed a minimum standard of living. Too small reductions – Highly Insufficient Payments Cuts (HIPCs) - expose debtors to relatively small external shocks and are likely to impair their capacity to honour remaining obligations. Rational private investors will be reluctant to invest, fearing the next "Adjustment" programme. Nationals have an incentive to transfer assets out of their country. Highly speculative, short term capital may by attracted, hoping for quick profits, particularly so if official bail-outs socialising losses can be exacted.

  3) Too small or just sufficient reductions conditioned on additional expenditures by debtors logically produce new crises as lending is needed to finance debt relief. The interest rate of additional borrowing is immaterial. Even 0.5% is unfeasible. If $160 are cancelled conditional upon the debtor’s financing measures (e.g. poverty reduction) amounting to, say, $16, new arrears accumulate, even without external shocks. 8 cents are moderate. A 10% swap for poverty reduction is low. But circular causation of arrears starts again, evolving relatively slowly due to the high concessionality of additional borrowing. Poverty reduction and investments necessary for sustainability must be financed from debt reductions beyond $672 – from money creditors could technically collect without debtor protection.

  4) Delaying relief creditors caused damages to debtors, and made things more difficult for themselves. Substantial shares of present debts were caused by creditors delaying the necessary solution.

  The problem boils down to determining which percentage of debts is uncollectable. This should be done in an economically sensible way while protecting a minimum of human dignity of the poor in indebted countries. An economic solution with a human face is needed - an international Chapter 9 provides it. Since 1987 this proposal has repeatedly been presented[58]. Designed and used for decades in the US as a solution to the problems of debtors vested with governmental powers - so-called municipalities - it can be easily applied to sovereign lenders. Like all good insolvency laws it combines the need for a general framework with the flexibility necessary to deal fairly with individual debtors.

  The fatal flaw of the HIPC-Initiative as well as of Paris Club relief - unhampered creditor power causing insufficient debt reductions - is ruled out by all insolvency procedures. Debtors are not left completely at the mercy of creditors. Civilised insolvency laws applicable to practically all debtors except developing countries demand a neutral institution assuring fair solutions. As phantom debts show, this makes economic sense.


A.o. Professor am Institut für Wirtschaftswissenschaften der Universität Wien
Associate Professor at the Department of Economics, University of  Vienna

* An earlier version was published as by the Arbeitspapier 35, OeIIP (Oesterreichisches Institut fuer Internationale Politik/ Austrian Institute for International Affairs), Vienna as Arbeitspapier 35 in June 2001

[1]Raffer Kunibert. The Necessity of International Chapter 9 Insolvency Procedures. In: Eurodad (ed.) Taking Stock of Debt, Creditor Policy in the Face of Debtor Poverty. Brussels: Eurodad 1998, p.25

[2]Meltzer, Allan H. (chair) et al. Report of the Meltzer Commission. March 2000, p.16 [downloaded from - pages refer to the downloaded version totalling 72 pages, which deviates from the pagination shown by the list of contents]


[4]ibid., p.27

[5]ibid., p.29

[6]  ibid.,

[7]Smith, Adam.An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, vol.II, Glasgow edition by R.H. Campell, A.S. Skinner & W.B. Todd, Oxford etc: Oxford University Press 1979, p. 930 [book originally published in 1776]

[8]Annan, Kofi. Freedom from Want, Chapter in: We, the People, The Role of the United Nationsin the 21st Century. New York: UN 2000, p.38

[9]Krueger, Anne. International Financial Architecture for 2002: A New Approach to Sovereign Debt Restructuring. The word "new" seems worth commenting on, considering that the history of this proposal starts in 1776.

[10]Raffer, Kunibert. International Debts: A Crisis for Whom? In: H.W. Singer & Soumitra Sharma (eds) Economic Development and World Debt. London & Basingstoke: Macmillan 1989, pp.51ff [Conference volume of  selected papers presented at a Conference at Zagreb University in 1987] Reprinted (unabridged. orig. vers.) in Trziste, Novac, Kapital - Market, Money, Capital, vol. XXII, no.4 (Oktobar-Decembar 1989), pp.7ff

[11]Pearson, Lester B. et al. Partners in Development: Report of the Commission on International Development. New York: Praeger, 1969, pp.153ff

[12]ibid., p.156

[13]ibid., p.159

[14]OECD.Development Co-operation, Efforts and Policies of the Members of the Development Assistance Committee, 1999 Report [The DAC Journal 1(1)] Paris: OECD 2000, p.43

[15]Raffer, Kunibert & H.W. Singer .The Foreign Aid Business:Economic Assistance and Development Co-operation. Cheltenham (UK) & Brookfield (US): Edward Elgar 1996 [paperback edition: 1997], pp.30ff, and the literature quoted there.

[16] For a more detailed argument cf. Raffer , Kunibert & H.W. Singer. The Economic North-South Divide, Six Decades of Unequal Development. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar 2001, pp.123ff

[17]Abbott, George C. Aid and Indebtedness - A Proposal. National Westminster Bank Review May 1972, pp. 55ff

[18]Wionczek, Miguel S. El endeudamiento público externo y los cambios sectoriales en la inversión privada extranjera de América Latina. In: H Jaguaribe , A. Ferrer, M.S. Wionczek, T. Dos Santos (eds) La dependencia político-económica deAmérica Latina. Mexico: SXXI (10th ed) 1978, p.118

[19]Helleiner, G.K. Relief and Reform in Third World Debt. World Development 1979, no.7, pp.113ff

[20]Hardy, Chandra S. Commercial Bank Lending to Developing Countries: Supply Constraints. World Development 1979, no.7, p.196

[21]Wionczek, Miguel S. Editor's introduction. World Development 1979, no.7, p.93

[22]Kanesa-Thasan, S. The Fund and adjustment policies in Africa. Finance & Development 1981 (vol.18, no.3), pp.20ff.

[23]ibid., p.20

[24]Crockett, Andrew. Issues in the use of Fund resources. Finance & Development 1982 (vol.19,  no.2), pp.10ff


[26]Nowzad,Bahram. Debt in developing countries: some issues for the 1980s. Finance & Development 1982 (vol.19, no.1), p.13

[27]cf. Raffer, Kunibert. "Structural Adjustment", Liberalisation, and Poverty, Journal fĂĽr Entwicklungspolitik (JEP) 1994 (vol. X, no. 4) , pp.431ff

[28]cf. Raffer , Kunibert. International financial institutions and accountability: The need for drastic change. In: S.M. Murshed & K. Raffer (eds)Trade, Transfers and Development, Problems and Prospects for the Twenty-First Century, Aldershot: E. Elgar 1993, pp.151ff


[30]Sachs, Jeffrey. New Approaches to the Latin American Debt Crisis. Paper prepared for The Harvard Symposium on New Approaches to the Debt Crisis, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 22-23 September 1988

[31]cf. Raffer, Kunibert. Is the Debt Crisis Largely Over? - A Critical Look at the Data of International Financial Institutions. In: Richard Auty & John Toye (eds) Challenging theOrthodoxies, London & Basingstoke: Macmillan 1996, p.35

[32]Time, 13 February 1995

[33]IBRD & UNDP. Africa's Adjustment with Growth in the 1980s. Washington DC: IBRD, 1989,  p.iii

[34]cf. Raffer, Kunibert. International financial institutions and accountability... op.cit.

[35]Financial Times, 5 September 1995

[36]SeeRaffer, Kunibert. International financial institutions and accountability... op.cit

[37]Nowzad 1982, op. cit., p.14

[38]Versluysen,Eugene L. Der Kapitaltransfer in Entwicklungs­länder zu Marktbedin­gungen.Finanzierung & Entwicklung [German edition of Finance & Development]1982, 19(4), pp.33ff

[39]ibid., p.33

[40]ibid., p.34

[41]IBRD.World Debt Tables 1992/93, Washington DC: IBRD, pp.10ff

[42]ibid., stress in original

[43]Ahmed, M.& L. Summers Zehn Jahre Schuldenkrise - eine Bilanz. Finanzierung & Entwicklung 1992, 29(3), pp.2ff

[44]Stern, Ernest. World Bank Financing and Structural Adjustment. In: Williamson, John (ed.), IMF Conditionality. Washington DC: Institute of International Finance & MIT Press 1983, pp.87ff

[45]IBRD. Global Development Finance. vol.1, Washington DC: IBRD 1997, p.44

[46]  GAO . Developing Countries: Debt Relief Initiative for Poor Countries Faces Challenges (Chapter Report, 06/29/2000, GAO/NSIAD-00-161), downloaded from its homepage http://

[47]Raffer, Kunibert. Controlling Donors: On the Reform of Development Assistance. In: Internationale Politik und Gesell­schaft/International Politics and Society 1997 (no.4), p.364

[48]IBRD.Joint Press Conference with Horst Köhler, managing Director of the IMF, James D. Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, and Trevor Manuel, Chairman of the Board of Governors, Transcripts, Prague, 28 September 2000, downloaded from http://www.worldbank.org2000a, p.10, emph. mine

[49]IBRD. Global Development Finance 2000, vol. 2, Washington DC: IBRD 2000, p.418

[50]Zedillo, Ernesto et al. Recommendations of the High-level Panel on Financing for Development, UN, General Assembly, 26 June 2001 (A/55/1000), p.21

[51] ibid., p.54

[52]IMF. Key Features of IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) Supported Programs, Prepared by the Policy Development and Review Department. Downloaded from

[53]Raffer, Kunibert. The Necessity of International .... op.cit.

[54]IBRD. Global Development Finance 1997. Washington DC: IBRD 1997, p.42

[55]ibid., p.44

[56]Raffer, Kunibert. Is the Debt Crisis Largely Over? ... op.cit., pp.23ff. The paper, which argued that Latin America’s debt situation was unsustainable, was already available as a mimeo at the Annual Conference of the Development Studies Association, Lancaster, 7-9 September 1994, viz. before the Mexican crash of 1994-5 and the Tequila Crisis.

[57]Raffer, Kunibert. Debt Relief for Low Income Countries: Arbitration as the Alternative to Present Unsuccessful Debt Strategies, Paper presented at the WIDER Conference on Debt Relief, 17-18 August 2001, Helsinki, .htm

[58]Raffer, Kunibert. Applying Chapter 9 Insolvency to International Debts: An Economically Efficient Solution with a Human Face, World Development 1990, vol.18, no. 2, pp.301ff is the first paper that presented it in elaborated detail. A brief survey can e.g. be found in  Raffer, Kunibert & H.W. Singer.(1996), The Foreign Aid Business, Economic Assistance and Development Co-operation, Cheltenham (UK) & Brookfield US: E. Elgar 1996 [paperback edition: 1997], pp.203ff. The latter passage as well as other papers discussing this topic - among them Raffer, Kunibert. What's Good for the United States Must Be Good for the World: Advocating an International Chapter 9 Insol­vency. In: Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue (ed) From CancĂşn to Vienna. International Develop­ment in a New World. Vienna: Kreisky Forum 1993, pp.64ff - can also be found on my homepage