IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

An assessment of debt-for-education swaps. Case studies on swap initiatives between Germany and Indonesia and between Spain and El Salvador


  • Cassimon, Danny
  • Essers, Dennis
  • Renard, Robrecht


In the light of worldwide commitments to meet global basic learning needs made at the 1990 United Nations Conference on Education for All (EFA) in Jomtien, the 2000 World Education Forum in Dakar and the 2000 United Nations Millennium Summit in New York, UNESCO has established a Working Group on Debt Swaps for Education which has met on two occasions so far, in 2006 and 2007. Drawing on experiences of bilateral donors such as Spain and Germany, this UNESCO Working Group is now promoting debt-for-education swaps, constructions whereby external debt is cancelled by the creditor in exchange for the debtor government’s commitment to mobilise domestic resources for education sector spending. The experience with debt swaps in the mid 1990s was, however, far from positive, and recent improved insight in the economics of debt relief suggests extreme caution. In reviewing debt-for-education swaps between Germany and Indonesia and between Spain and El Salvador, this paper examines to what extent these second- generation debt swaps differ from their contested predecessors. We argue that, while the Paris Declaration’s principles of policy and system alignment appear to have been fairly well implemented on education sector level in both case studies considered, it is mainly the macro-economic nature of such swaps that remains problematic. For debt relief to hold at least some promise of translating into an efficient and effective instrument of development, it should be large and comprehensive, as in the case of the HIPC Initiative and its successor the MDRI.

Suggested Citation

  • Cassimon, Danny & Essers, Dennis & Renard, Robrecht, 2009. "An assessment of debt-for-education swaps. Case studies on swap initiatives between Germany and Indonesia and between Spain and El Salvador," IOB Working Papers 2009.03, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB).
  • Handle: RePEc:iob:wpaper:2009003

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Danny Cassimon & Dennis Essers & Karel Verbeke, 2015. "What to do after the clean slate? Post-relief public debt sustainability and management," BeFinD Working Papers 0103, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
    2. Danny Cassimon & Martin Prowse & Dennis Essers, 2014. "Financing the Clean Development Mechanism through Debt-for-Efficiency Swaps? Case Study Evidence from a Uruguayan Wind Farm Project," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 26(1), pages 142-159, January.
    3. Cassimon, Danny & De Herdt, Tom & Verbeke, Karel, 2015. "On the creation of Adam: what debt relief means for education in the DRC," IOB Working Papers 2015.06, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB).
    4. Danny Cassimon & Dennis Essers & Achmad Fauzi, 2014. "Indonesia's Debt-for-Development Swaps: Past, Present, and Future," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(1), pages 75-100, April.
    5. repec:nam:befdwp:3 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iob:wpaper:2009003. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Hans De Backer). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.