Press Release: Inauguration of the West Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center (AFRITAC)
May 29, 2003
His Excellency Ahmed Mohamed Ag Hamani, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mali, delivered the inaugural address, and Mr. Eduardo Aninat, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), made a keynote address on behalf of the IMF. Finance ministers, the BCEAO Governor and national directors, central bank governors, and other senior officials from participating countries, as well as senior officials from bilateral and multilateral donor agencies, participated in the inauguration ceremony. The West AFRITAC will serve Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.
The West AFRITAC is part of the IMF's Africa Capacity-Building Initiative that was launched in 2002 in support of African governments, including in the context of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). Under this Initiative, the Fund aims to increase significantly its capacity-building assistance to the African continent. The key objective is to strengthen the capacity of African governments to formulate and implement their own growth oriented, poverty reducing policies in the context of countries' Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers.
The West 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 and microfinance, financial sector policies, tax policy and revenue administration, public expenditure management, and macroeconomic statistics. The first regional center, the East AFRITAC, was inaugurated in October 2002 in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. To date, it has been involved in more than 20 capacity-building projects in the East Africa region. If the operations of the first two centers are successful, additional centers could be opened to serve all sub-Saharan Africa.
The West AFRITAC's work will be guided by a steering committee composed of senior officials from the participating countries, and representatives of the agencies and donors which are providing financing. The first plenary meeting of the committee was held on May 29, 2003 under the chairmanship of His Excellency Bassary Touré, Minister of Economics and Finance of Mali.