Press Release: IMF Soliciting Public Comment Related to the Design of an Operational Framework for Assessing Debt Sustainability in Low-Income Countries

July 15, 2003

To support low-income countries in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, while preventing a recurrence of debt problems that could undermine these objectives, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is working to develop a framework to guide low-income countries' borrowing.

This framework is being developed in close collaboration with the World Bank and in consultation with donors and the low-income countries. It is intended to provide case-by-case guidance to countries that have already received permanent debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries' (HIPC) Initiative and to guide other low-income countries where debt is potentially an issue. This framework parallels similar work developed at the IMF for middle-income countries, while recognizing low-income countries' specific characteristics.

As a first step in this process, IMF staff have prepared a paper providing an overview and assessment of some of the key issues that would need to be considered in the design of an operational framework. The paper, entitled "Debt Sustainability in Low-Income Countries-Toward a Forward-Looking Strategy", was discussed at an informal seminar of the Executive Board of the IMF on July 11, 2003. The paper is being released on the IMF's website with a view to stimulate discussion and solicit views that would feed into the design of the operational framework.

Comments on the paper are invited by September 30, 2003 and should be sent by email to


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