::: UNCTAD's Debt Management and
Financial Analysis System (DMFAS) Programme :::
The DMFAS Programme is one of the world's leading
providers of technical cooperation and advisory services in the
area of debt management. Integrated as a key activity
of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD),
the Programme has been successful in helping governments improve
their capacity to manage debt for nearly 30 years. It has so
far worked directly at the country level with 69 countries (mostly
low and lower-middle income) and is currently in use in 90 institutions in 57 countries.
The DMFAS Programme is a concrete example of how the United Nations builds capacity at the country level, in support of good governance, development and poverty reduction. In partnership with other organisations and the donor community, it provides countries with the means to improve their management of public liabilities, and consequently public resources, through the strengthening of their institutional capacity in this area.
The Programme is largely financed thanks to the generous support
of bilateral donors. Currently these include France,
Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland.
What we address
In recent decades, unsustainable debt - mostly external - has brought country after country into deep economic crisis, with dramatic social consequences for their populations. Unsafe borrowing and high debt servicing has thrown developing countries into a "debt trap", depriving them of the resources needed to secure long-term economic development and build up strong social and physical infrastructures.
The need for good debt management is underlined by growing international recognition of its importance and by global initiatives such as the Monterrey Consensus and the Millennium Declaration. In particular, Goal 8 of the Millennium Declaration emphasises the importance of, inter-alia, debt management and debt relief for achieving poverty reduction. In this context, there is increasing recognition that good debt management is an intrinsically important component of Public Financial Management and overall good governance. It is now globally accepted that it is essential to build national capacity in the area of debt management in order for highly indebted poor countries to reach debt sustainability. Similarly, it is widely recognised that good debt management within an effective macroeconomic framework will improve overall democratic governance and lead to greater economic stability, economic growth and social development. As a result, there will be an increase in the resources available to low-income countries for allocation to priority areas in improving the lives of poor people, such as education, health services and other social sectors.
In order to attain sustainable debt levels and to use debt instruments
as an efficient tool for development, prudent debt management and
the availability of reliable and timely debt data are essential.
Many governments, however, quite simply lack the appropriate human
and technical capacity for handling public resources and liabilities
more effectively, despite their commitment to development. This
is particularly the case for developing countries and where UNCTAD's
DMFAS Programme makes a difference.
|"Sustainable debt financing is an important element for mobilizing resources for public and private investment. National comprehensive strategies to monitor and manage external liabilities, embedded in the domestic preconditions for debt sustainability, including sound macroeconomic policies and public resource management, are a key element in reducing national vulnerabilities. Debtors and creditors must share the responsibility for preventing and resolving unsustainable debt situations. Technical assistance for external debt management and debt tracking can play an important role and should be strengthened." See Report of the International Conference on Financing for Development, "the Monterrey Consensus", adopted March 2002.
What we do
The DMFAS Programme offers countries a set of proven solutions for improving their capacity to handle the day-to-day management
of public liabilities and the production of reliable debt data for
policy-making purposes. This includes its specialized debt management
software, the DMFAS – which greatly facilitates the work of
the debt office - as well as advisory services and training activities
in debt management.
By working directly with the countries as well as with international and regional organizations involved in debt, the Programme identifies best practices in debt management and translates them into specialized products and services. These are shared with countries through technical cooperation projects, as well as through international and regional conferences and workshops.
The solutions we provide
- Capacity-building through specialized debt management
and financial analysis software (DMFAS) designed to
meet the operational, statistical and analytical needs
of debt managers and bodies involved in elaborating
public debt strategies, and training in its use;
- Capacity-building through the Programme's advisory services, including needs assessments and advice on technical, administrative, legal and institutional debt management issues, assistance in software installation and maintenance;
- Capacity-building in debt management skills and through the Programme's modules in debt data validation, statistics and debt analysis.
Through the Programme's assistance, governments are able to produce
and publish reliable, comprehensive and timely information on their
debt and also publish it so it is accessible to all at the international,
national and local levels. The production of reliable debt information
helps countries negotiate better re-payment terms with their creditors,
as well as debt relief. Having a debt management software such as
the DMFAS, for example, is often a pre-requisite for achieving debt
The DMFAS system
At the Programme’s core is the Debt Management and Financial
Analysis (DMFAS) system, from which the Programme
draws its name. The DMFAS is a software that can be used for
the purposes of recording, monitoring, reporting and analysis. Usually
installed in the Ministry of Finance and/or Central Bank, it supports
both external and domestic public debt (loans and securities), whether
this be short-, medium- or long-term. It also provides coverage
for private debt, grants and on-lent loans.
The DMFAS enables the debt office to develop a debt database containing detailed and aggregated data on loan contracts, bonds and grants, real operations (disbursements and debt service) as well as future operations (disbursements and debt service). As the system can process large quantities of debt data, more time and energy can be deployed on analytical and management tasks. Its design allows for easy customisation and adaptation in accordance with the needs and preferences of each client institution. It can also be integrated with other financial systems if the institution so wishes.
DMFAS software contains a number of pre-defined reports and also offers the user the possibility to design his own reports. The flexibility of the reporting module facilitates the production of debt statistics using codes that follow international standards. The number of possible user-defined reports is nearly unlimited and they can be easily exported to other applications.
A recording and monitoring tool
The DMFAS enables debt managers to:
- record all information on the life cycle of debt instruments
and grants, including their relationship to projects and
- calculate all amortization tables automatically;
- record real drawings and debt service operations;
- identify loans where debt service is in arrears and calculate
- produce drawing requests and payments orders;
- record bids on money market instruments and on notes and
bonds, on a competitive or non-competitive basis
- actively monitor the scheduling, amounts and terms of
a country's public debt
- generate a large number of reports for validation and
- link debt information to different information systems
such as payment, budgeting and accounting systems, or to
integrated financial management information systems (IFMIS).
DMFAS general user-friendliness helps users who become quickly operational: even with minimal training, beginners can build the a debt database and generate reports.
- DMFAS assists the user by checking the validity of data.
- The system offers language flexibility; e.g. users can work in one language and generate reports in another.
- DMFAS is currently available in Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
A management and analysis tool
Robust debt management capabilities
Once the database has been populated with data on loans, securities
and grants, DMFAS becomes a powerful management and information
tool, greatly increasing the efficiency of a debt office. As the
system processes large volumes of data, more time and resources
can be devoted to analytical and management tasks.
Powerful and flexible reporting features
- Standard and user-defined reports : DMFAS provides an extensive
library of analytical and managerial reports that meet both
internal and external requirements. Furthermore, it can
generate a wide range of user-defined reports that are country-specific.
Reports can be easily produced in local currency, US dollars,
euros or SDRs, or in multiple currencies. In addition,
data can be exported in different formats to standard software
applications such as Microsoft Excel ®.
- Compliance with international statistical standards:
A series of predefined statistical tables are delivered with
DMFAS to facilitate the production of statistical bulletins.
These follow the latest international standards, such
as those outlined in External Debt Statistics: Guide
for Compilers and Users, published by the IMF.
- World Bank reports: The DMFAS system automatically generates
reports requested by the World Bank from its borrowing countries.
Debt service projections
DMFAS calculates projections based on debt outstanding and on total
commitment as well as the present value of loans, using different
DMFAS Analysis modules offer powerful tools for middle-office debt
managers to determine the sustainability of their debt portfolio
and to build debt strategies. They cover: debt ratios, financial
indicators, sensitivity, debt portfolio analysis, a debt sustainability
interface, and a risk model(s) interface.
Linking with other financial softwares
Interfaces exist between the DMFAS system and all standard analytical
tools including the debt sustainability model (DSM+), Medium-Term
Debt Management Strategies (MTDS), DSF, and risk models. A standard
interface is also available in DMFAS for linkage with Integrated
Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS), in particular
for streamlining operations with budgeting and accounting, and has
been implemented in a number of countries.
Help in rescheduling
In the preparatory phases of a rescheduling agreement (e.g. with
the Paris Club), DMFAS helps the analyst evaluate the impact of
alternative debt restructuring scenarios, and can be used to select
the loans to be renegotiated. It can then be used to record the
bilateral terms signed in the Agreed Minutes of the Paris Club or
other rescheduling bodies.
Gains obtained by user-countries
Better information, analysis, negotiations and policy-making cannot easily be measured. However, it is generally accepted that these gains far exceed the cost of DMFAS country projects and that DMFAS quickly pays for itself by making debt servicing procedures more efficient and by checking inconsistencies in the claims of creditor agencies. Furthermore, substantial savings can be made by avoiding unnecessary costs such as overpayments to creditors or penalty interest charges due to poor book-keeping.
Countries choosing DMFAS benefit from the economies of scale and other advantages associated with selecting the most widely-used debt management software in the world.
A complete technical cooperation programme
The development and implementation of the DMFAS software is just one of the objectives of the DMFAS Programme. To maximize the benefits gained from a debt management software, UNCTAD also assists national authorities in reinforcing their relevant legal, institutional, organizational and technical environment.
What are the components of DMFAS' technical cooperation?
DMFAS software is usually installed in the Central
Bank and/or the Ministry of Finance within the framework
of a project prepared jointly by UNCTAD, the requesting
government and the financing institution. The project
may be funded either by UNDP, development banks,
bilateral funds or, increasingly, by the requesting
A commitment to innovation
and client orientation
Since the Programme's beginning nearly 30 years
ago, UNCTAD has been fully committed to enhancing
DMFAS to reflect the latest developments in information
technology and international finance. Fully
documented new versions and updates are regularly
sent to all country clients, incorporating enhancements
and modifications requested by the end-users themselves.
Reinforcement of debt
The DMFAS Programme offers extensive and continuous
training in the functional and technical aspects
of DMFAS. This training addresses the needs
of staff at both the operational and the executive
levels. Additional training includes modules
designed to strengthen the capacities of client
countries in the areas of data validation, debt
statistics, portfolio analysis and debt sustainability
- Reliable and swift Helpdesk support
Users can always rely on the dedicated and friendly
DMFAS Helpdesk to respond quickly to any urgent
issues and inquiries they may have. Helpdesk
staff can be conveniently contacted by telephone,
e-mail or fax. This service is one of the
components of the maintenance agreement between
the national institution and UNCTAD.
Collaboration and partnerships with other organisations:
Wherever possible, the DMFAS Programme promotes
and participates in regional or sub-regional projects
in support of its country activities and seeks collaboration
and partnerships with existing regional organisations
that wish to support the efforts of their member
countries in the area of debt management. An important
example is the on-going collaboration with the Macro-economic
and Financial Management Institute of Eastern and
Southern Africa (MEFMI), which regroups nine countries
of this region.
Exchange of knowledge and experience: The DMFAS
Programme encourages countries to exchange knowledge
and experience in the area of debt management through
study tours, seminars and workshops, conferences,
usually in collaboration with regional institutions.
International debt management conference: The inter-regional
conference on debt management, which was held for
the first time in Geneva in December 1997, has now
become a regular activity organized by the Programme,
and the only forum of its kind. The last conference
held in November 2009 attracted over 340 delegates
from some 100 countries, as well as senior representatives
of most of the international and regional institutions
interested in debt issues. See events
For more information, please contact:
The DMFAS Programme
Division on Globalization and Development Strategies
Villa le Bocage
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel.: (41) 22/917 5924
Fax.: (41) 22/917 0045
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