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AfDB strengthens transition states’ capacity for more productive, effective and transparent debt management

AFRICA – The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has launched a series of training programmes to support 22 Transition or fragile states in Africa to manage their debt more effectively.

The Public Finance Management Academy for Africa (PFMA), an initiative of the Bank Group’s African Development Institute, kicked off the maiden edition of the PFMA Spotlight on Public Debt Management in Transition States – a two-day policy dialogue on sustainable debt management tailored to the needs of Africa’s 22 most vulnerable countries in Addis Ababa on Tuesday.

The programme will help countries build their institutional capacity to better manage debt and achieve the financial resilience needed for development.

The series brings together heads of debt management offices, treasurers and accountants general, heads of revenue authorities, representatives of central banks, supreme audit institutions, anti-corruption agencies, civil society organisations, academia, the private sector, lawmakers, and other relevant stakeholders in transition states.

Ethiopia’s minister of state for finance and economic cooperation, Semereta Sewasew, said that while there have been positive strides in debt management on the continent, debt challenges, and vulnerabilities persist, especially in most transition countries.

These countries face a wide range of political, economic, security and environmental challenges, she noted. “I am pleased that the African Development Bank has designed this training programme to help develop and strengthen the capacity of these countries to manage their debt more prudently, to make their debt more productive, and restore resilience, stability, and growth to their economies.”

Sewasew told participants that the government of Ethiopia had made substantial progress in improving the country’s economy, particularly in addressing debt challenges. She commended the African Development Bank as a steadfast partner in this process.

“Our government will continue to work with the African Development Bank and support its programmes not only for Ethiopia but for the entire continent, especially in improving debt management, transparency, and sustainability,” Sewasew said.

Public debt vulnerability remains a persistent challenge for Africa. According to the IMF, of 54 African countries, 38 low-income countries were classified as being either in debt distress, with high debt distress, or with moderate debt distress. Of these 38, 23 are transition states.

Mounting debt is compounded in transition states by fragility, the absence or shallowness of domestic debt markets, and weak institutional capacity for governance, public finance, and debt management.

The African Development Bank’s deputy director general for East Africa and director general designate for Nigeria, Abdul Kamara, said the training was part of the implementation of the Bank’s Special Project – Strengthening the Capacity of Transition States for Effective Management and Mitigation of Debt Distress Risks. The project is being implemented from April 2023 to March 2026, for 22 transition countries in Africa under the Bank’s Transition Support Facility.

“We believe that together we can do even more for our countries,” Kamara said. “We expect that at the end of these two days, participants will have, among other things, an understanding of best-practice solutions tailored to their particular debt management circumstances.”

Director of the African Development Institute, Eric Ogunleye, said:

“African transition countries should not be mere loan takers  – they are disadvantaged. Hence, they need to be empowered to contract, negotiate and use loans to improve the quality of life of their citizens.”



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