Fact Sheet: Debt delays (December 2001)

Summary of some country cases, their social context, and delays in debt relief:



Debt delays


Human Development Index: 161 (lowest = 162, Sierra Leone)Life expectancy at birth (years): 45Drought, large cereal shortage. Decline in economic production. Refugees from neighbouring conflicts.

Delays in following structural adjustment demands in 2000 and early 2001 put debt relief off-track. The government has begun opening up petroleum industry, privatizing water, electricity and telecommunications, and cut spending to get it started again, but 'completion point' not imminent.

Burkina Faso
Severe drought and poor cereals harvest coupled with a rise in oil prices exacerbated the poverty level
Debt relief delayed as IMF and World Bank demand a "strict limitation of nonessential outlays," cuts to public sector wages, increased taxes, privatization of the telecommunications company (ONATEL) and electrical company (SONABEL).

HDI: 156
Life expectancy: 45
No discernable progress in debt relief process since acceptance into HIPC Initiative program in Dec. 2000.

HDI: 155
Life expectancy: 44Poor weather conditions and food shortages. Chad now faces its worst famine in a decade. Intensified rebel fighting in the north, which led to an increase in defence spending, an energy crisis and a lack of foreign investment.
Delays in starting debt relief process as Chad fell behind in following structural adjustment demands, including lifting of price controls in petroleum, reform of civil service, and privatization of water, telephones, roads, electricity, cotton sector. Chad denied a scheduled start to debt relief in Dec 2000; completion point still unknown.

HDI: 153
Life expectancy: 51 Drought, widening hunger, impacts of neighbouring conflict.
Debt relief delayed because of slowness in privatization. Government is now moving to privatize cotton, telecommunications, the railway, raise water & electricity tariffs, raise petroleum taxes to satisfy PRGF requirements.

HDI: 151
Life expectancy: 40Drought, increase in oil prices.
Debt 'completion point' delayed, as government is criticized for the lack of speed of the privatization of the public industries, such as Malawi Telecom.

HDI: 147
Life expectancy: 54
Debt relief completion point delayed due to the slowness of privatization. IMF and World Bank are demanding faster privatization of all public sectors, including water, telecommunications and electricity.

HDI: 104
Life expectancy: 66Drought. Economic crisis due to collapse in world coffee prices, and dependence on the US.
Delay in debt relief due to delays in privatization of the public sector, banking sector and public administration. IMF and World Bank demand faster privatization of electricity and reform of the civil service, cuts in public wages (result: government limits teachers' salary increase).

HDI: 152
Life expectancy: 4011.2% of adults infected with HIV
IMF and WB congratulate measures to tighten fiscal and monetary policies and civil service reforms, but delay debt relief because of spending still above PRGF targets.