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Indonesia’s Debt-for-Development Swap Experience: Past, Present and Future


  • Essers, Dennis
  • Cassimon, Danny
  • Fauzi, Achmad


This paper systematically reviews recent experience with debt-for-development swaps in Indonesia, the only debtor country where the number of such operations could warrant its qualification as a genuine government debt relief and development finance policy. First, we show that the 11 swaps Indonesia has signed with its bilateral creditors since 2002 perform rather erratically across four criteria: the increase of resources at the country and/or government budget level; the increase of resources for intended sector purposes; whether, taken together, these swaps ease debt burdens; and the extent of their alignment with government policy and systems. Second, the paper finds little evidence of learning on the Indonesian side. We believe Indonesia can take a more proactive stance in negotiating the economic terms underlying its debt swaps and suggest concrete ways to do so in future swap deals.

Suggested Citation

  • Essers, Dennis & Cassimon, Danny & Fauzi, Achmad, 2013. "Indonesia’s Debt-for-Development Swap Experience: Past, Present and Future," IOB Working Papers 2013.10, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB).
  • Handle: RePEc:iob:wpaper:2013010

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jeremy Bulow & Kenneth Rogoff, 1991. "Sovereign Debt Repurchases: No Cure for Overhang," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1219-1235.
    2. Nicolas Depetris Chauvin & Aart Kraay, 2005. "What Has 100 Billion Dollars Worth of Debt Relief Done for Low- Income Countries?," International Finance 0510001, EconWPA.
    3. Ross McLeod, 2004. "Dealing with bank system failure: Indonesia, 1997-2003," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 95-116.
    4. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Pesenti, Paolo & Roubini, Nouriel, 1999. "What caused the Asian currency and financial crisis?," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 305-373, October.
    5. Cizauskas, Albert C., 1979. "International debt renegotiation: Lessons from the past," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 199-210, February.
    6. Cassimon, Danny & Prowse, Martin & Essers, Dennis, 2009. "The pitfalls and potential of debt-for-nature swaps: a US-Indonesian case study," IOB Working Papers 2009.07, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB).
    7. 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).
    8. Jeremy Bulow & Kenneth Rogoff, 1988. "The Buyback Boondoggle," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 675-704.
    9. Tito Cordella & Luca A Ricci & Marta Ruiz-Arranz, 2005. "Debt Overhang or Debt Irrelevance? Revisiting the Debt-Growth Link," IMF Working Papers 05/223, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Cassimon, Danny & Essers, Dennis, 2013. "A chameleon called debt relief," IOB Working Papers 2013.01, Universiteit Antwerpen, Institute of Development Policy (IOB).
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    More about this item


    external public debt; debt relief; debt swaps; development aid; Indonesia; aid;

    JEL classification:

    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid

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