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In the wake of debt relief initiatives (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries and Multilateral Debt Relief Initiatives), there has been a lot of questioning on donors’ lending strategies towards developing countries. Since then, attempts have been made to understand what went wrong in the past and to promote new ways of thinking about the financing of development. This paper tries to sketch this evolution as far as sovereign debt is concerned and to benchmark what we know on sovereign debt defaults from the economic literature and what has been done by the international financial institutions. It also makes some practical proposals in terms of lending strategies and donors’ coordination.

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