East African nations agree common debt data plans

23 Jun 15

Seven countries in east Africa have developed plans, backed by the International Monetary Fund, to improve the quality of public sector debt statistics as the region moves towards monetary union.

Following a two-week seminar hosted by the IMF’s East African Regional Technical Assistance Center (AFRITAC), the East African Community and the African Development Bank, the nations devised proposals to improve their data and published information. The countries are: Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda.

At the event, held in Zanzibar from 8-19 June, 30 officials were given advice in the compilation, dissemination and harmonisation of public sector debt statistics to ensure countries can meet the common debt management framework for the proposed East African Monetary Union.

The IMF highlighted that improving the reliability of debt statistics was also vital to improving public sector financial reporting across the region. Bringing the data into line with international standards would address the demand for reliable information that can be used for policy-making, economic analysis, credit assessments and regional integration, the fund stated.

The first week of the seminar covered training in the IMF debt statistics methodology, which was followed by training provided by the World Bank and the African Development Bank on data compilation and data dissemination.

After this, each national delegation developed a programme to produce reliable and comprehensive debt statistics in line with international standards by the end of 2017. These will now be verified before they are then incorporated into national public financial management plans.

The IMF’s East AFRITAC is one of nine regional IMF technical assistance centres around the world. As part of its work, it is focused on improving the reliability of public finance reporting, with a specific goal to improve government finance statistics by the end of 2017 for the monetary union plans.

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