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UNDP Jamaica and the UNDP Bureau for Development Policy have jointly published the case study of Jamaica's historic debt exchange programme which has already gained international recognition as an innovative debt management strategy for heavily indebted, middle income countries.
The UNDP played a central role in the development of the Jamaica Debt Exchange. With the support of the Poverty Thematic Trust Fund, UNDP contracted an independent attorney to advise and work with the Government of Jamaica on the various scenarios available to it - and to explore the pros and cons of each. This critical intervention led directly to the design and implementation of the final Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX). Through its financial support for an independent advisor to guide the government through difficult decisions, UNDP essentially turned a US$ 88,000 grant into interest savings of approximately US$ 527 million in 2010.
The publication, launched in Jamaica and globally on May 13, provides a snapshot of Jamaica's public debt situation, followed by an explanation and assessment of the Government of Jamaica's recent debt exchange initiative; its solution to its immense public debt burden. It examines how far the debt exchange programme - or JDX (Jamaica Debt Exchange) which was launched in January 2010 and concluded in February 2010 may contribute to positive development outcomes and whether the initiative will be sufficient to restore debt sustainability to the island. It also explores the strategies used by the Government of Jamaica to secure broad-based buy-in for its exchange operation and asks whether a sovereign insolvency procedure at the international level may have resulted in a more efficient and robust solution to the country's public debt difficulties.
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