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Oxfam welcomes the IMF and the World Bank’s drive to increase the number of countries receiving debt relief at the end of last year. 22 out of a possible 41 qualifying countries are now receiving debt relief – this is a good start. However, there is still much to be done to ensure that debt relief is deep enough to make a real difference to poor people living in the recipient countries. Research carried out by Oxfam last year analysed the implications of enhanced HIPC for government finances. It suggests that all but three of the twelve countries studied will continue to spend far more on debt servicing than on health and primary education after they have received debt relief.

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