The HIPC list is a joint initiative of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) launched in 1996. According to information obtained from the IMF fact sheet, the initiative aims to ensure that no poor country ever be faced with a burden of debt that he cannot afford.
The debt relief initiative works in such a way that multilateral financial organizations (including the IMF and the World Bank) work with the governments of poor countries to reduce their external debts to sustainable levels.
Of the 39 countries on this list, 34 are in Africa. The countries have a combined population of approximately 760 million people.
It is important to note that being poor is not the only eligibility criterion for being admitted to the HIPC list. Other requirements include having an established track record of the ability to move out of poverty over time. The IMF has listed the full criteria as follows:
- Countries must be able to borrow from the World Bank’s International Development Agency.
- Only countries facing an unsustainable debt burden that cannot be resolved through traditional debt relief mechanisms can be admitted.
- Countries must have an established track record of sound development and policy reforms.
- They must also have a poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP).
Here are the 34 heavily indebted poor countries in Africa according to the latest information from the World Bank.
- Burkina Faso
- Central African Republic
- Comoros Islands
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Republic of Congo
- Ivory Coast
- The Gambia
- Sao Tome and Principe
- Sierra Leone