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Delegates at a Commonwealth Debt Management training in Eswatini

African members set for switch to state-of-the-art debt management system

30 August 2019

Finance ministries and central banks from eastern and southern Africa have been given expert training to prepare them for switching to the Commonwealth’s new state-of-the-art public debt management system.

The Commonwealth partnered with the Macroeconomic and Financial Management Institute of Eastern and Southern Africa (MEFMI) to organise a five-day regional workshop in Eswatini to educate debt officials on getting their databases ready for seamless migration to Commonwealth Meridian.

Pamella McLaren, adviser and head of the Commonwealth’s Debt Management Unit and Nompumelelo Dlamini, Eswatini Ministry of Finance undersecretary, opened the workshop and welcomed delegates from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa and Tanzania.

The delegates were guided through a six-phase programme for transitioning to Commonwealth Meridian and took part in interactive discussions on the importance of data quality and controls to ensure data integrity.

Josephine Tito, the debt management programme manager at MEFMI, said: “This workshop is highly relevant given that maintenance of comprehensive public debt databases and the availability of accurate statistics is critical for effective public debt management operations and MEFMI has set aside funds to assist member countries with preparations for moving to Commonwealth Meridian.”

She added: “Our member countries have greatly benefitted from the continued collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat on coordinated interventions that contribute to the common goal of improving capacity for public debt management. This support is greatly appreciated and we expect MEFMI member countries to migrate to Commonwealth Meridian so they can benefit from the enhanced features the new Commonwealth Meridian system offers.”

Through its Debt Management Programme, the Commonwealth has been partnering with MEFMI for many years to build the capacity of debt management officials in the eastern and southern African region.

The workshop follows the successful launch of Commonwealth Meridian in June in London.

The new web-based resource replaces the Commonwealth’s flagship software tool CS-DRMS, which is used by more than 60 countries, including half of sub-Saharan Africa as well as non-Commonwealth members.

The new software builds on the successes of the Commonwealth’s ongoing debt management work, with Secretary-General Patricia Scotland describing it as an essential tool for debt managers and policy makers.

Find out more information about Commonwealth Meridian here.