West African officials trained to better manage public debt using Commonwealth tool

22 November 2023
Training Abuja

Twenty-nine officials from The Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone recently completed hands-on training to produce and analyse quality debt data using a Commonwealth tool that will help their governments make better financial decisions.

The Commonwealth Secretariat and the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management delivered the five-day training in Abuja, Nigeria from 30 October to 3 November 2023.

The training was designed to equip officials with the necessary skills to compile, report and monitor fiscal debt data using the web-based Commonwealth tool, known as Commonwealth Meridian.

Timely response

Opening the training, Dr Baba Musa, Director General of the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management underscored that the training would “immensely” enhance the public debt management capabilities in the four countries.

He commended the Commonwealth Secretariat’s timely response to the needs of its member countries in an evolving global financial landscape.

During the training, officials learned how to record and manage different debt instruments using Commonwealth Meridian, in line with recognised good practices.

They spoke about country-specific challenges in collecting, reporting and monitoring debt data, and explored how Commonwealth Meridian could help them overcome those challenges.

Officials also were informed about how they could benefit from the Commonwealth’s wider public debt management programme, which offers advisory support, training and tools.

Speaking at the training, Stan Nkhata, Adviser with the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Debt Management Unit said:

“These are challenging times for public debt managers. We are pleased to deliver this training to help them compile and produce high-quality data for evidence-based policymaking, that will help their governments make informed decisions for debt sustainability.”

He added:

“This training comes at a time when countries in West Africa are in the process of migrating their debt databases from our older debt management system to the newer, more powerful Commonwealth Meridian system. It will ensure that member countries are well-equipped to take full advantage of the functionalities of the new system to manage complex financing products and public debt more effectively.”

‘An insightful experience’

Atihong Yengoet, Chief Planning Officer, Plateau State Debt Management Department, Nigeria, who attended the training described it as an insightful experience, adding:

“This training was effective and has provided me with an understanding of how Commonwealth Meridian is used for fiscal debt compilation, reporting, and monitoring.

“Eventually, the skills and knowledge I gained will not only help me compile quality data, but also analyse data to inform decisions, crucial to our public debt management strategy.”

The training is part of an ongoing series of activities organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat in partnership with the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management to promote debt sustainability in the region.

Media contact

  • Snober Abbasi  Senior Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
  • T: +442077476168  |  E-mail