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Private vs. Official Creditors: The Record Speaks

Porzecanski, Arturo C. (2006): Private vs. Official Creditors: The Record Speaks.

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Abstract

An expanded and updated version of this paper was published in the Summer 2007 edition of the journal "International Finance" (see www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=1367-0271). Here we highlight the contribution that private creditors have made to resolve expeditiously and even generously the many sovereign debt crises in which they have been involved. The road from debt restructuring to debt forgiveness – from reprofiling to cancellation, in the jargon of the official community – has been a fairly short one for commercial banks and bondholders, but a very long one for the official export-credit and foreign-aid agencies represented by the Paris Club, as well as for the multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and the IMF. They have yet to grant any debt reduction to the middle-income countries that were the object of bailouts during the 1990s and the recipients of subsequent debt relief from the private sector, and they have moved far too slowly to address the needs of the poorest countries, many of which have received substantial, upfront and unconditional debt forgiveness from private creditors.

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