Economists predicted that countries with an industrial base would suffer more during transitions to market economies than countries with an agricultural base. Moldova, a rural economy, experienced the worst transition of all Commonwealth of Independent States countries. In the summer of 2002, the Initiative for Policy Dialogue was invited to Moldova to discuss strategies for long-term national growth.

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Over the past decade, GDP in Moldova fell by more than 70 percent and the debt ballooned from zero in 1991 to approximately 150 percent of GDP in 2002. Reforms from the 1990s led to temporary economic stability, but not poverty reduction or growth. Policymakers—both those in government and those in the opposition—began to search for alternative solutions.

IPD was first invited to Moldova in the summer of 2002 to discuss strategies for long-term growth. The ensuing Dialogue advanced the debate on small enterprise development, rural development, and debt restructuring. The event consisted of five days of meetings and roundtable discussions with various stakeholders, including President Voronin. There was significant coverage of the event in the local press, and a true dialogue on the issues developed between various groups of stakeholders over the week of policy forums.

As a follow-up to the Dialogue, IPD established a new task force on Debt Restructuring and Sovereign Bankruptcy, with support from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).