In 1996 the IMF, the World Bank, regional development banks and the creditors of the Paris Club launched the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative to provide debt relief to highly indebted countries.
This integrated debt relief with a strategy for combating poverty. In addition, debt relief could also be provided by international organisations and no longer exclusively by bilateral creditors.
At the instigation of Germany, this initiative was substantially expanded at the Cologne G8 summit in 1999 to become a decisive impulse for faster debt relief in the poorest countries. The Cologne Initiative enabled higher levels of debt relief (up to 90 percent).
Procedures and conditions were made more flexible and accessible to more countries. At the same time Germany waived all the development aid debts of eligible HIPC countries.