IMF’s Southern Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center to Increase Capacity-Building Activities in the Year Ahead and Seeks $19 Million Additional Donor Funding for a Further Scaling-UpPress Release No. 12/104
March 23, 2012
The International Monetary Fund’s Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center South (AFRITAC South)1 will increase its technical assistance and related training activities across Southern Africa in the coming year, the center’s Steering Committee agreed at a two-day meeting that concluded today in Mauritius. The Steering Committee also endorsed a results-based management framework for planning and monitoring the effectiveness of the center’s capacity-building activities, which target significant improvements in public financial management, revenue administration, financial sector supervision and real sector statistics of member countries by 2016.
Committee members and IMF staff also agreed to intensify their efforts to secure donor funding to close a $19 million funding gap in order to scale up the center’s activities to the levels originally programmed and speed up progress in strengthening institutions in member countries serviced by AFRITAC South.
The Steering Committee meeting in Port Louis, Mauritius, where the center is located, was attended by officials from 12 AFRITAC South member countries—Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe—representatives of donors and regional organizations including the African Development Bank, Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid), Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK government, European Union, European Investment Bank (EIB), Swiss Economic Cooperation (SECO), and IMF staff. Representatives of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) participated as observers. The key items on the agenda of the meeting—the Steering Committee’s second—included (i) review of program implementation in financial year (FY) 2012 (May 1, 2011–April 30, 2012); (ii) establishment of a results-based management framework in AFRITAC South; and (iii) work program for FY 2013 (May 1, 2012–April 30, 2013).
At the conclusion of the meeting, Mr. Ali Mansoor, Financial Secretary of the Mauritius Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Chairman of the AFRITAC South Steering Committee, and Vitaliy Kramarenko, AFRITAC South Coordinator, made the following joint statement:
“AFRITAC South is now fully established and has achieved good progress in implementation of the FY 2012 work program. At present, AFRITAC South covers the following areas of technical assistance (TA): (i) public financial management (PFM); (ii) revenue administration; (iii) financial sector supervision; and (iv) national accounts and price statistics. Since its opening in June 2011, the center has fielded 45 technical assistance missions to 12 member countries and organized a number of regional events. However, AFRITAC South started its operations with a five-year budget of $40 million as compared to the original program document aiming at a $59 million budget that reflects capacity building needs.
“The Steering Committee endorsed a results-based management framework. With AFRITAC South technical assistance and complementary capacity-building services of the IMF headquarters and other donors, AFRITAC South countries are expected to achieve significant improvements in compliance with selected international standards in the areas covered by the center by 2016. Better compliance with international standards and good practices, if achieved, would have a tangible positive impact on economic growth and living standards of citizens of the AFRITAC South member countries.
“With AFRITAC South now operating at the level afforded by the $40 million envelope, the work program for FY 2013, endorsed by the Steering Committee, targets a significant increase in capacity-building activities compared with FY 2012. The FY 2013 program prioritizes capacity-building activities to countries with the greatest need in the face of the uncertain outlook for the global economy. A faster strengthening of capacity in the macro-critical areas covered by AFRITAC South would help reduce these countries’ vulnerabilities to external shocks. Diagnostic work and reform planning would gradually subside, and the share of implementation of agreed technical assistance activities and related training would increase during the year.
“The Steering Committee underscored that it was critical to eliminate the $19 million funding gap. The additional funding will allow AFRITAC South to scale up its activities to the initially programmed levels and achieve faster progress in strengthening institutions in the macro-critical areas. It was agreed that members of the Steering Committee and IMF staff would intensify their outreach to potential donors.”
1 The center serves Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.