Press Release: IMF to Establish Third Center for Regional Technical Assistance in Africa

March 15, 2006

Press Release No. 06/52

The IMF announced today it will establish a third center for regional technical assistance in Africa. The new Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center (AFRITAC) will serve the six countries of the Communauté Économique et Monétaire de l'Afrique Centrale (CEMAC)—Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo—as well as Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. IMF management has decided, based on criteria chosen to ensure the Center's effective functioning, to locate the new AFRITAC in Libreville, Gabon. The new Center is expected to begin operations by January 2007.

Two AFRITACs have already been established by the IMF as part of its efforts to strengthen the capacity of African governments to formulate and implement their own economic policies. The East AFRITAC, based in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, was inaugurated in October 2002, and the West AFRITAC, based in Bamako, Mali, was opened in May 2003. Since the Centers were established, the annual volume of IMF technical advice and training to their respective regions has increased by almost 30 percent.

Like these two Centers, the new AFRITAC will provide capacity-building assistance through a team of resident experts, supplemented by short-term specialists, in the core areas of the IMF's expertise. These include macroeconomic policy, debt management, financial sector policy, tax policy, revenue administration, public expenditure management, and macroeconomic statistics. The work of the new AFRITAC will also be guided by a steering committee, composed of senior officials from the participating countries, representatives of agencies and donors that are providing financing for the Center, and IMF staff. In that regard, the countries of the CEMAC group have signaled their strong commitment to the new Center by agreeing to provide a large share of the Center's financing. The IMF, as well as other multilateral and bilateral donors, will also be providing financial support for the Center.


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