Eight regional technical assistance centers in the Pacific, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, and Central America help countries strengthen human and institutional capacity to design and implement policies that promote growth and reduce poverty. Work is progressing on establishing another regional center in Africa.
A regional approach
The IMF‘s regional approach to technical assistance and training allows for better tailoring of assistance to the particular needs of a region, closer coordination with other assistance providers, and enhanced ability to respond quickly to emerging needs.
The Pacific and Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centers
The Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Center (PFTAC), established in Suva, Fiji, in 1993, now serves 16 Pacific island countries and territories, including the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Its current program cycle is funded by the Asian Development Bank, Australia, the IMF, New Zealand, and the host country Fiji.
The Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Center (CARTAC) was established in Bridgetown, Barbados in 2001. It serves 20 Caribbean island countries and territories, including Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos. Its current program cycle is funded by Australia, Canada, the Caribbean Development Bank, the European Union, the IMF, the United Kingdom, the host country Barbados, and beneficiary countries.
The African Regional Technical Assistance Centers
The African Regional Technical Assistance Centers are part of the IMF’s Africa Capacity-Building Initiative, launched in May 2002. Responding to calls from African leaders, including under the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Initiative promotes strengthening the capacity of African countries to design and implement their poverty-reducing strategies, as well as to improve the coordination of capacity-building technical assistance in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) process.
As part of the Initiative, four African Regional Technical Assistance Centers (AFRITACs) have been established. East AFRITAC was opened in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 2002, now serves seven countries in East Africa (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda). West AFRITAC was opened in Bamako, Mali, in 2003 and moved to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, in mid-2012 to serve ten countries in West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Togo). Central AFRITAC was opened in Libreville, Gabon, in 2007, to serve countries in the CEMAC group, plus Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and São Tomé and Principe. AFRITAC South was opened in Port Louis, Mauritius, in June 2011, to serve 13 countries in Southern Africa (Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe). Work is in progress to open one more AFRITAC in late 2013, covering the non-francophone countries in West Africa (AFRITAC West 2).
The AFRITACs are financed by contributions from a number of donors, the IMF, as well as host and beneficiary countries. Current donors include the African Development Bank, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the European Investment Bank, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Kuwait, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
The centers’ activities take place in close cooperation with the African Development Bank and donor partners. This facilitates a coordinated design, implementation, and monitoring of ongoing technical assistance programs in member countries.
The Middle East Regional Technical Assistance Center
The Middle East Regional Technical Assistance Center (METAC) was established in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2004 to serve ten countries/territories in the Middle East (Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen). METAC’s main objective is to help strengthen capacity for effective macroeconomic and financial management in the region, and to support the region’s integration into the world economy. A particular focus is to help post-conflict countries in the region achieve macroeconomic stability and develop basic institutions for policymaking. METAC is designed to enhance coordination among development partners and to promote effective implementation of economic initiatives within the Middle East region. METAC’s current program cycle is financed by contributions from the European Investment Bank, the European Union, France, Germany, the IMF, Kuwait, Oman, the host country Lebanon, and beneficiary countries.
The Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic Regional Technical Assistance Center
The Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic Regional Technical Assistance Center (CAPTAC-DR) started operations in May 2009 in Guatemala. It serves Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The Center’s technical assistance is focused on financial sector supervision, tax and customs administration, medium-term expenditure frameworks and public financial management, money markets, and macroeconomic statistics. Improved institutions and increased regional integration are the objectives. The Center is funded by Canada, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, the European Union, Germany, the Inter-American Development Bank, the IMF, Mexico, Spain, the host country Guatemala, and beneficiary countries.