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Regional Debt-management Workshop Opens   
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A five-day workshop has opened in Accra to train public-sector officials from selected Anglophone West African countries on the World Bank’s Debt Management Performance Assessment (DeMPA) tool.

The workshop is being organised jointly by the World Bank and the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM).

The DeMPA tool was introduced by the World Bank to help developing countries achieve effective debt-management performance, given that they face various policy, institutional, and operational challenges due to their weak debt-management capacities and lack of efficient debt- markets.

The tool is useful for conducting country-dialogue, guiding the design of debt-management reform programmes, enhancing donor harmonisation, and monitoring performance over time. Trainees will receive in-depth schooling in the methodology and operational modalities of the tool, its rationale, scope, coverage and application, and how it can be used to prepare reform plans.

Prof. Akpan H. Ekpo, WAIFEM Director-General, said participants by the end of the course will have acquired a strong understanding of how to apply the DeMPA tool in assessing their country’s debt-management performance.

“They will obtain practical understanding of preparing reform plans, including sound practices in the field of debt-management and the rationale for the DeMPA framework. Advanced sessions will provide participants with in-depth cross-country experiences and cutting-edge knowledge on topical issues in public-debt management.”

In a speech read for him, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, said “The global financial crisis of 2008, the current Eurozone crisis and even the debt-ceiling quagmire of the United States, highlight the need for effective public-debt management including well-functioning domestic public-debt markets, debt-management laws, and institutional arrangements.”

He pointed out that considerable progress has been made in reducing public debt to sustainable levels in most sub-Saharan African countries after the launch of the Highly-Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. He said, however, that important challenges remain to be dealt with in order to ensure sustained effective debt-management practices, especially in West Africa.

He encouraged countries that use the DeMPA framework in assessing debt-management performance to publicise the results so they serve as a catalyst for reform and the attraction of external support and resources in areas identified as priorities.
Source: B&FT

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