Published on Voices

Making domestic borrowing transparent

IDA countries have been relying increasingly on their domestic markets to meet their borrowing needs. This trend is welcome. Well-functioning and liquid domestic debt markets provide a stable source of funding during normal times and a buffer during times of crisis.  However, authorities do not always comply with the highest standards of transparency when issuing their debt securities. This may affect investors’ confidence and ultimately increase the cost of borrowing.

Among the tools that the World Bank is putting forward to shape the debt transparency agenda, a new interactive heat map tracks the transparency of domestic government securities issuances in IDA countries. The heat map tracks things like the predictability of annual borrowing plans and the publication of primary and secondary market transactions. These factors may seem niche, but they are absolutely critical to building transparent debt markets. Our Note for Developing Local Currency Bond Markets, produced jointly with the IMF, explores these indicators further. The heat map assesses IDA countries’ performance against them.

The assessment is based on information publicly available on national authorities’ websites. We provide these direct links to primary sources for each indicator on the heat map so users can see what we see and learn more about the practices of different countries.


Domestic borrowing heat map


The first assessment conducted in October 2020 shows significant room for improvement in most of the 74 IDA countries. Here are some important findings:

  • While no country achieves a green score for every indicator, 12 of 74 (16%) countries do not comply with minimum standards in any of the indicators;
  • Primary market indicators show mixed results: 33% of IDA countries do not regularly use market-based issuance mechanisms, while an auction calendar is not developed or followed in 41%.
  • Secondary market transparency is the indicator with the lowest level of compliance: more than half of the 74 IDA countries fail to meet the minimum standards.
  • Countries in regional markets where issuing and reporting rules are clearly specified and enforced, such as in the WAEMU, show significantly higher standards overall.

The assessment will be updated on an annual basis. We are looking forward to seeing the heatmap shift to green!

Explore the heat map now


Zsolt Bango

Senior Financial Sector Specialist, World Bank

Diego Rivetti

Senior Debt Specialist in the Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment, World Bank

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