In 1996 the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative was launched by the Bretton Woods institutions to reduce the external debt burden of low-income countries (LICs) to sustainable levels in a reasonably short period of time because debt constitutes an obstacle to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. In some HIPCs, however, debt sustainability has been in danger despite debt relief under the HIPC Initiative. Debt relief is a necessary but not a suffi cient condition for development. It can do no more than play a catalytic role. The question, then, is how to achieve debt sustainability beyond the HIPC Initiative.
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