In the 19th and 20th centuries, economic crises drove many developing countries into debt. The paper discusses the impact of the latest global economic crisis on the indebtedness of the world's poorest nations. The author analyzes changes in the inflow of funds to these countries and the efforts of international financial institutions, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to mitigate the problem of indebtedness. Due to the latest crisis, less foreign investment has reached the world's poorest nations over the past year or so and their export revenues have also decreased. Revenues from tourism and cash transfers from people working and living abroad have remained stable, after a previous period of consistent growth. The decreased inflow of private capital explains why these countries are struggling with widening budget deficits. To facilitate the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), international financial institutions are providing support to the poorest countries in the form of new loans. To reconcile these efforts with the World Bank and IMF's Debt Sustainability Framework for Low-Income Countries (DSF), work is under way to change the way in which international financial institutions calculate the level of debt that they consider to be serviceable by these countries. Although preferential loans enable the world's poorest nations to finance some of their development priorities, these countries will have to return these funds sooner or later. Considering that these countries are already heavily indebted, this may compound their financial problems. Further measures to reduce their financial obligations may prove to be unavoidable over the next decade or so. Moreover, the need to repay new loans may make it difficult for low-income countries to carry out those MDGs that are not attained by the expected deadline.
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