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UNITARís Training in the Legal Aspects of Debt, Financial Management and Negotiation for Sub-Saharan Africa

he 1980s saw many countries in sub-Saharan Africa suffering a severe financial crisis due to an increasing debt burden. Some of the factors that contributed to this debt crisis were a lack of sound debt and financial management techniques and a lack of awareness of the legal procedures of debt and financial management. In response to this situation, in 1987 UNITAR decided to provide training to government officials from English-speaking sub-Saharan African countries in the legal aspects of debt and financial management.
Objectives of the Programme
The objectives of the programme are the following:
Creating awareness among senior officers, middle-level debt and finance managers, law professors and trade officials on the importance of the legal aspects of debt and financial management;
Providing in-depth training to lawyers and non-lawyers in legal aspects of debt and financial management; and
Strengthening existing human resources and institutional capacities within these nations to make them self-reliant in conducting future seminars and training programmes.
Salient Features
All training is conducted in the partner countries through workshops lasting one to ten days. The programme brings a multi-disciplinary approach to the field of debt and financial management since UNITAR believes that debt management requires an inter-disciplinary training in economic, financial, accounting and legal functions. Hence, the training programmes have had participants from various disciplines from the related ministries in the partner countries.

The programme includes seminars and workshops which are held on a sub-regional (inviting participants from many countries) or national basis. All training events are set up to facilitate discussion, exchange of ideas and experience, practical training and simulation exercises. The workshops are usually led by national and international resource persons who have a breadth and depth of experience in the field of international debt and financial management. As part of this programme in sub-Saharan African nations, UNITAR is also working on preparing National Profiles to evaluate the legal infrastructure of these nations. UNITARís training materials have also been disseminated in these countries and efforts are being made to integrate these packages into the university curricula.

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