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Development Account Projects

Capacity-building for debt sustainability analysis


The debt problems of developing countries are high on the policy agenda of the international community. UNCTAD's long-standing interest in the issue of debt of developing countries dates back to the early 70s, and led to the establishment of the Debt Management and Financial Analysis System (DMFAS). At UNCTAD X in Bangkok, governments agreed that "debt problems are a serious obstacle to the pursuit of economic and social development", and that UNCTAD should continue to focus on issues of "management of public, external and domestic debt in developing countries in support of the work carried out by the DMFAS programme in this field and in cooperation with other international organizations".


To strengthen the capacity of developing countries, including least developed and countries with economies in transition, to analyse their debt position

Expected accomplishments:

  • Installation and effective use by trained nationals of a specialized software tool, Debt Sustainability Model (DSM+), in debt offices in developing countries;
  • Increased awareness of policy makers of the links between debt strategy and macroeconomic policy-making.

Effects and Impact:

The project has resulted in enhanced analytical skills of officials, and substantial improvements in the organizational structure of Debt Management Offices in the Ministry of Finance and/or Central Banks in beneficiary countries. The strengthening of beneficiary countries analytical capabilities is part of an integrated effort to improve the capacity in decision-making process of debt managers. The strategy adopted for capacity building in the area of debt management is a bottom–up approach that provided training to the debt office technical staff and balance of payments analyst first, and then train the analytical group in the preparation and formulation of comprehensive debt strategies. Capacity building in debt analysis is a long-term undertaking and requires concrete changes in the Debt Management Offices and improvements both in their structure and functional organization, and their staffing. The implementation of training programmes under the project is based on an initial evaluation of the analytical capabilities of the middle-level staff in the Debt Management Office.