A chameleon called debt relief
Institute of Development Policy and Management
Antwerp :UA, Institute of Development Policy and Management, 2013
IOB working paper ; 2013:01
University of Antwerp
This paper critically reviews three decades of official creditors' debt relief practice in Sub-Saharan Africa from a novel angle, i.e. along debt relief's similarities with other aid modalities. We show that debt relief is a true 'chameleon' which mimics different sorts of aid, from traditional project aid to multi-year general budget support. The 'colour' of this chameleon depends on the embedded conditionality, alignment and the budgetary resource effect of particular debt relief interventions. We argue that characterising debt relief from an aid modality perspective is helpful in better understanding its widely varying performance track record and holds important policy lessons for designing future operations.