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Get to know the World Bank’s Debtor Reporting System (DRS)

Since 1951, when the World Bank began lending to member countries for reconstruction and development, borrowing countries have been required to report detailed information on their external liabilities through the World Bank’s Debtor Reporting System (DRS). The collected data is essential to the World Bank’s operational and analytical work. Operationally, the World Bank’s lending activities demand detailed and timely data on the debt servicing capacity and overall financial situation of a country, such as the Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA) and the Debt Management Performance Assessment (DeMPA). Analytically, the data is used to assess credit worthiness and serves as the foundation for World Bank research and analysis.

The launch of the “World Debt Tables” in 1973 marked the first publicly available publication of this data. Over the next five decades, the analytical content of the publication and the data coverage have significantly expanded. As we approach its 50th anniversary, the International Debt Report (IDR) has become one of World Bank’s premier publications, and the accompanying International Debt Statistics (IDS) database is what makes the publication possible. This data is a uniquely comprehensive and verifiable source on the external indebtedness of low- and middle-income countries, which is publicly available to policymakers, researchers, investors, and analysts alike to monitor global economic trends, analyze debt sustainability, and develop strategies for sustainable economic growth. 

So, how exactly are these statistics compiled? Let’s take a closer look at the compilation process behind the World Bank’s DRS.  […]