The most glaring problem with the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative for debt relief is that it will not provide lasting relief from debt for the highly indebted countries of the south. The HIPC process is aimed not at canceling debts, but at ensuring that they can be repaid. It has little to do with enhancing human development, reducing poverty, or even increasing economic growth in the debtor countries. Rather, it is designed to massage debt figures down to a level where they would be deemed “sustainable” again according to the criteria of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
— The Transfer of Wealth;, Debt and the making of a Global South, Chapter 4, a publication of Focus on the Global South, October 2000.