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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The sub-Saharan African debt problem: issues for international policy
Author:Helleiner, G.K.ISNI
Year:1989
Periodical:African Development Perspectives Yearbook
Pages:209-219
Language:English
Geographic term:Subsaharan Africa
Subject:external debt
Abstract:The debt problems of the lowest-income African countries relate primarily to official rather than commercial credit. In this respect, the Western Economic Summit (Toronto, 1988) decision on low-income African official debt was more important for the debt relief precedent it set than for the extent of the relief it actually offered. The gains for the low-income debt-distressed countries in Africa from this agreement, particularly the immediate ones, are fairly small and overall the Toronto agreement falls far short of what the African debt situation requires. In respect of African commercial debt, it would seem that the prospects for 'voluntary' debt reductions, except in the urgent case of trade arrears, are problably not very high. However, with the overwhelming majority of Paris Club creditors having agreed to the principle of writedowns or interest rate reductions, and the USA probably soon to follow, there is no longer any reason for these governments not to go even further along that road. A minimum revised target for official export credit relief for the low-income debt-distressed is the Wass Committee recommendation: a conditional three-year moratorium on all official debt service. Whatever the new target, however, all creditors, whether public or private, should offer the same terms. Issues which will have to be addressed include length of moratorium or consolidation period, extent of writedown, eligibility/conditionality, additionality, and institutional arrangements for support and monitoring. Bibliogr., notes.
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