The Paris Club is the name given to the grouping of 19 rich countries which meets in Paris monthly to consider the cancellation or rescheduling of official loans to poor countries (see Sloman Economics 7th edition, pages 784–5). For many of the 40 heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs), this debt relief has been substantial, with 36 of the HIPCs receiving full or partial cancellation of their debts (see Sloman Economics7th edition, pages 788–90).
On 17 November it was the turn of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Paris Club cancelled 97.6% of the debt owed to its members by the DRC – $7.35 billion. As the Paris Club press statement says:
The representatives of the Paris Club creditor countries and Brazil met with the representatives of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on 17 November 2010 and agreed on a reduction of the debt following the DRC having reached its Completion Point under the enhanced initiative for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (enhanced HIPC Initiative) on 1 July 2010.
As a contribution to restoring the DRC’s debt sustainability, the Paris Club creditors will provide a cancellation of USD 7350 million, fulfilling all their commitments under the enhanced HIPC initiative.
However, the Paris Club did have some reservations. These are explored in the articles below.
Paris Club cancels more than half of DR Congo’s debt International Business Times, Palash R. Ghosh (19/11/10)
Creditors agree Congo debt write-off, flag worries Reuters, Brian Love and Katrina Manson (18/11/10)
Paris Club and Brazil Cancel $7.35 Billion of Congo’s Debt Bloomberg Businessweek, Michael J. Kavanagh (18/11/10)
DR Congo gets US$ 7bn debt cancellation afrol News (18/11/10)
Paris Club Press Release
DRC Paris Club (17/11/10)
- Explain the process whereby HIPCs receive debt relief.
- What were the reservations expressed by the Paris Club in granting debt relief to the DRC?
- To what extent is there a moral hazard in granting debt relief? Explain.
- What can Paris Club members do to reduce the moral hazard?
- Find out what other debt relief has been given by the Paris Club to HIPCs over the past few months and whether concerns were expressed in those cases.