The report titled “Debt Transparency in Developing Economies,” released on Wednesday, noted that the absence of debt data transparency make it harder to assess debt sustainability and for overindebted countries to restructure debt promptly and generate a durable economic recovery.
The World Bank said such a report marks the first comprehensive assessment of the global and national systems for monitoring sovereign debt.
“At a time when sovereign debt in the poorest countries has surged to dangerously high levels, global and country-by-country systems for tracking it are proving to be inadequate,” said the World Bank.
According to the report findings, 40 percent of low-income countries have not published any data about their sovereign debt for more than two years, while many of countries that do publish it tend to limit the information to central government debt.
Moreover, many developing countries are relying increasingly on resource-backed loans—in which governments secure financing by putting up future revenue streams as collateral, according to the report.
“Resource-backed loans accounted for nearly 10 percent of new borrowing in Sub-Saharan Africa between 2004 and 2018,” said the report.
It also found that more than 15 countries have such debt, but none provide details on the collateral arrangements.
The report also found that debt surveillance today depends currently on a patchwork of databases with different standards and definitions and different degrees of reliability, which all lead to large variations in publicly available data of debt in low-income economies.
President of World Bank Group David Malpass said that improving debt transparency requires a sound public debt-management legal framework, integrated debt recording and management systems, and improvements in the global debt monitoring.
“International financial institutions, debtors, creditors, and other stakeholders, such as credit-rating agencies and civil society, all have a key role to play in fostering debt transparency”, he added.