The UNITAR European Office (Geneva) initiated a training programme in
the field of external debt management aimed at meeting the priority
training needs of LDC debt managers, and emphasizing the legal aspects
of debt management. This programme was identified by the UNITAR/UNCTAD
high-level expert meeting held in Geneva, 27-29 April, 1987 and subsequently
confirmed by the inter-agency meeting held in October 1990, in New York,
under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Since the on-set of this programme in 1987 training activities have
been successfully undertaken both in East and West Africa, thanks to
funding provided by the Swiss Directorate for Development Cooperation
(DDA). In light of technical assistance to be provided by the United
Nations Development Programme in the coming years, it is planned to
develop training programmes in Southern Africa as well, all with a view
to building a networking arrangement in African countries in order to
enhance local capacity-building. The technical assistance provided by
UNDP will be in addition to the Swiss funding.
Following the high-level expert meeting in 1987, UNITAR's European Office
organized, with active support of the East African Development Bank
(EADB), six sensitization/training seminars in three countries of East
Africa. These included.
(1) Awareness Seminar for Senior Officers on External
Debt Management in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) in January 1990.
(2) Awareness Seminar for Senior Officers on External Debt Management
in Kampala (Uganda) in January 1990.
(3) Sub-Regional Training Seminar on Legal Aspects of External Debt
Management in Nairobi (Kenya) in February 1990.
(4) National Follow-up Workshop on Legal Aspects of External Debt Management
in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) in July 1991.
(5) National Follow-up Workshop on Legal Aspects of External Debt Management
in Nairobi (Kenya) in July 1991.
(6) National Follow-up Workshop on Legal Aspects of External Debt Management
in Kampala (Uganda) in January 1992.
The purpose of these seminars/workshops was to create awareness of various
aspects of debt management among senior officers, middle-level debt
managers, law professors, economists and lawyers from Kenya, Tanzania
Similarly, in West Africa UNITAR has recently organized a sub-regional
training seminar on legal aspects of external debt management in Accra
(Ghana) for 42 participants from The Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria. This
shall be followed by two National follow-up workshops, one in Lagos
(Nigeria) and the other in Accra (Ghana) in 1992.
Through its experience in African countries, UNITAR has realized that
many developing countries need to raise legal capabilities and that
greater attention should be given in the future to assisting debtor
countries to acquire the necessary legal skills and tools to prepare
themselves for loan negotiations, including rescheduling through the
London and Paris Clubs. In addition, the very real financial and economic
benefits to be realized from improved external debt management, the
need for greater technical exchanges and consultations among debtor
countries and the need for greater coordination among the providers
of technical assistance in this field should also be considered.
Parallel to UNITAR's training activities and following the UNITAR/UNCTAD
expert meeting in 1987, an Operational Support Unit (OSU) was established
as a matter of priority. After careful consideration of various ideas
from several sources, it was concluded that the support unit should
be constituted as a mainstay to the various training programmes by assisting
in the dissemination of information to the various patties concerned.
Now that the Operational Support Unit is beginning to be operational,
it is felt necessary to keep the various players in the field of debt
management posted on the activities undertaken by UNITAR. As a first
step towards its dissemination activities, the Operational Support Unit
is circulating information on current topics of interest and importance
in legal aspects of debt management.
The present compilation contains summaries of presentations made by
various UNITAR resource persons having extensive theoretical and practical
experience in the field of debt management. The topics dealt with in
this compilation were considered and studied in-depth in recent UNITAR
seminars/workshops. They will hopefully prove useful.
Marcel A. Boisard
UNITAR European Office