Definitions for "Heavily indebted poor countries"
The name given to those poor countries with large debts, the target of initiatives to forgive that debt as a means of assisting development.
There are currently 42 countries defined by the IMF and World Bank as HIPCs.  Of those, 26 are eligible to receive debt relief.  The criteria for being defined 'HIPC' and 'eligible HIPC' follow.  As we show in our analysis in the main section (click on HIPC in the left-hand menu), qualifying for debt relief can be a somewhat arbitrary process and eligibility criteria have evolved over time (they were much more stringent under the original HIPC Initiative).
The forty-two countries whose debt level is deemed by the IMF and World Bank to be unsustainable, and so eligible to partial debt relief under the HIPC Initiative.