• Mon. Sep 25th, 2023

Botswana set to manage public debt with new Commonwealth software

A new state-of-the-art software developed by Commonwealth Secretariat is being rolled out in Botswana that will transform how the country records and reports on its public debt portfolio of USD $3 billion, while enhancing transparency.

A team from the Commonwealth Secretariat, together with a delegation from the Macroeconomic and Financial Management Institute for East and Southern Africa, were in Gaborone, from 14 to 23 June 2023, to support staff in the Ministry of Finance in seamlessly migrating their debt databases to the new debt management software, Commonwealth Meridian.

Hosted in partnership with the Government of Botswana, the training featured a two-phase programme that enabled officials to learn how to record, report, analyse and manage various types of debts using the web-based software.

Speaking about the Commonwealth’s assistance, Seitebaleng Fologang, Director, Budget Analysis and Debt Management at Botswana’s Ministry of Finance, said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of pressure on the government finances in Botswana, resulting in the country’s debt levels to hit high levels. The Commonwealth’s assistance is very timely, and the new system will definitely assist Botswana to proactively manage its public debt portfolio.”

She added:

“The availability of comprehensive, accurate and timely data is critical for the effective and efficient management of public debt. It will also enhance accountability and transparency through periodic publishing of debt statistics.”

Launched in 2019, the advanced Commonwealth Meridian system builds upon its predecessor, the Commonwealth Secretariat: Debt Recording and Management System (CS-DRMS), which Botswana has relied on for debt recording since the late 1990s.

One of the workshop participants, Kagiso Sedumedi, Principal Finance Officer at Botswana’s Ministry of Finance, stressed the need for proactive action to address rising public debt risks, stating:

“Our new debt management system is a game-changer. By combining cutting-edge technology with best practices, it offers a state-of-the-art solution for countries’ day-to-day operations of public debt management. It not only provides an accurate snapshot of the debt portfolio, but also equips officials with the knowledge to make informed decisions, crucial for financial resilience.”

Mac Banda, acting Head of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Debt Management Unit, emphasised that the Botswana training is part of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s ongoing efforts to support member countries with prudent public debt management. He added:

“The training will be instrumental in deploying Commonwealth Meridian in Botswana so the country can start benefitting from a modern system to achieve sustainable debt levels and mitigate the risks of debt distress.”

Originally developed by the Secretariat in 1985, the upgraded Commonwealth Meridian system is currently used by more than 50 countries to manage a combined portfolio of USD 2.5 trillion of public debt. It is a flagship part of the Commonwealth’s debt management programme.

About the Public Debt Management Programme

Media contact

  • Snober Abbasi Senior Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
  • T: +442077476168  |  E-mail


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