External Debt Histories of Ten Low-Income Developing Countries: Lessons from Their Experience


Kevin Ross ; R. Brooks ; Robert Powell ; Ydahlia A. Metzgen Quemarez ; Doris C Ross ; Mariano Cortes ; Saqib Rizavi ; Benoit Ketchekmen ; Francesca Fornasari

Publication Date:

May 1, 1998

Electronic Access:

Free Download. Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF file

Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate


The external debt burden of many low-income developing countries has increased significantly since the 1970s. Developments in a sample of ten countries show that the main factors behind the buildup of debt were (1) exogenous (adverse terms of trade shocks or weather), (2) a lack of sustained macroeconomic adjustment and structural reforms, (3) nonconcessional lending arid refinancing policies of creditors, (4) inadequate debt management, and (5) political factors (civil war and social strife). Future policies should limit the need for external financing and create an environment conducive to diversifying export growth, managing debt more prudently, and basing economic projections on more cautious assumptions.


Working Paper No. 1998/072



Publication Date:

May 1, 1998



Stock No:




Please address any questions about this title to publications@imf.org