Improving debt data and reporting

Comprehensive debt statistics are crucial for both debt crisis prevention and resolution.

The Addis Agenda specifically:

  • Encourages Governments to improve transparency in debt management, and strengthen information-sharing to ensure that debt sustainability assessments are based on comprehensive, objective and reliable data
  • Invites relevant institutions to consider the creation of a central data registry including information on debt restructurings


Latest developments

Indicators of debt transparency have improved over time. For the 39 countries with more than one debt management performance assessment (DeMPA) during 2008-2018, all but one data transparency indicator improved between the last two DeMPAs. One third of low-income developing countries also regularly publish statistical debt bulletins, including two thirds of frontier markets.

Nonetheless, significant problems remain in many countries with both the quality of public debt data and the level of reporting. Faced with increasingly complex portfolios and the growing importance of domestic financing, many countries have yet to reach the minimum standards in some key areas. High staff turnover continues to be a common and recurrent problem. Limited coverage of total public debt is another common problem, with specific difficulties relating to subnational debt and contingent liabilities.

In response, international organizations have continued to step up their capacity development efforts. The Multi-Pronged Approach (MPA) of the IMF and the World Bank provides a framework to help address debt vulnerabilities and close debt management gaps where they exist. UNCTAD, through its Debt Management and Financial Analysis System (DMFAS) Programme, launched the debt data quality assessment (Debt-DQA) framework to assess and monitor the quality of the data recorded in countries’ debt databases in November 2019, jointly with the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Read more on debt data, reporting and transparency here.