Press Release: Mauritius and IMF Sign Memorandum of Understanding for the Establishment of the Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center South
April 18, 2011Press Release No.11/143
April 18, 2011
His Excellency, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Mauritius, and Ms. Nemat Shafik, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), today signed a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of the Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center South (AFRITAC South).
“AFRITAC South will be the IMF’s eighth regional technical assistance center, and its fourth center in Africa, joining its sister institutions on the continent, namely AFRITACs Center, East, and West,” Ms. Shafik said during the signing ceremony in Washington, D.C., today. “Regional technical assistance centers have become a linchpin in the IMF’s technical assistance program, covering a large proportion of low-income countries and delivering an increasing percentage of our total technical assistance. They are flexible, and they know well the contexts in which they operate. This ensures that they provide effective and responsive technical assistance.”
“The approach adopted for the operation of the Center will not only allow us to collectively define our needs but more importantly to obtain just-in-time advice in a rapidly changing world where predictability has become an issue,” said Vice Prime Minister Jugnauth at the ceremony. “I am sure that this flexible approach and the immediate availability of expertise will help our economies to be more proactive and effective in formulating the right responses to economic and financial challenges.”
The Africa Regional Technical Assistance Centers (AFRITACs) are part of the IMF’s Africa Capacity-Building Initiative launched in May 2002 (see Press Release No. 2/24). Responding to calls from African leaders, 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 this endeavor. As part of the Initiative, three centers have been established in Africa. East AFRITAC was opened in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 2002, and serves seven countries in East Africa. West AFRITAC was opened in Bamako, Mali, in 2003, and serves 10 countries in Francophone West Africa. Central AFRITAC was opened in Libreville, Gabon, in 2007, and serves nine countries in Central Africa.
AFRITAC South, scheduled for opening in late June 2011, will be located in Mauritius, and will cover 13 countries in Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean. With these countries, AFRITAC coverage in Sub-Saharan Africa will be extended to 37 countries. Work is in progress to open one last center, to be located in Ghana, and to cover Anglophone countries in West Africa (AFRITAC West 2). The AFRITACs provide technical assistance in the core areas of expertise of the IMF on a grant basis. They are financed by contributions from the beneficiary countries, bilateral and multilateral donors, and the IMF. Mauritius provides generous financial support to AFRITAC South. The support covers a sizable financial contribution to the center’s subaccount and most of the administrative costs of the center’s operations.
The governance of the centers is designed to promote ownership and accountability of technical assistance programs. Accordingly, each center is guided by a steering committee, where the beneficiary countries have the majority of the seats. The governance of the centers is further enhanced by periodic independent evaluations of their activities. The evaluation reports are available on the IMF’s external website.