IMF Regional Technical Assistance Center for Southern Africa To Build Up on Progress with Reforms Implemented with Its SupportPress Release No. 14/158
April 4, 2014
The Steering Committee of the International Monetary Fund’s Regional Technical Assistance Center for Southern Africa (AFRITAC South1) met during April 3–4, 2013 in Seychelles—the country that currently chairs the Committee. Members of the Steering Committee agreed that the center, which was established in June 2011, had achieved good progress toward implementation of the work program for the financial year to April 30, 2014 (fiscal year 2014). The center is on course to increase its capacity development activities by about 40 percent in 2014, reaching its planned operating level. The Steering Committee endorsed the center’s work program for the coming financial year starting May 1, 2014 (fiscal year 2015) and welcomed the additional financing recently received from the European Union’s funds for Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries. Thanks to this additional financing and savings on operating expenses from previous years, the center will be able to lengthen its initial funding cycle (2011-16) by one year to include the fiscal year 2017.
AFRITAC South is one of nine regional IMF technical assistance centers around the world (of which five are in Africa) and offers capacity building services to member countries in its core areas of expertise, namely public financial management, revenue administration, financial sector supervision, monetary policy framework operations, and real sector statistics.
At the opening ceremony of the Steering Committee meeting, Ms. Caroline Abel, Governor of the Central Bank of Seychelles, expressed appreciation for the tailoring of AFRITAC South’s capacity building services to regional needs, thanked donors for their generous financial contributions to the center, and stressed the prominent role of the Steering Committee in ensuring continued relevance and sustainability of the center’s technical assistance (TA).
At the conclusion of the Steering Committee meeting, Mr. Patrick Payet, Chairman of the AFRITAC South Steering Committee and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance of Seychelles, and Mr. Vitaliy Kramarenko, AFRITAC South Coordinator, made the following joint statement:
“AFRITAC South is on course to increase its activities by about 40 percent in 2014 and reach its planned operating level by the end of the fiscal year. Members of the Steering Committee noted good progress toward work program implementation and achievement of milestones set for the fiscal year 2014. They also welcomed the beginning of TA in the area of monetary policy framework operations.
“The Steering Committee endorsed the Work Program for 2015, which mainly focuses on consolidating progress on existing TA projects. Members of the Steering Committee welcomed the planned expansion of capacity building in the area of monetary policy framework operations and real sector statistics. They underscored the importance of close donor collaboration in capacity building. Members of the Steering Committee also underlined that countries’ ownership of reforms is essential for achieving the center’s objectives. In addition, the Steering Committee supported AFRITAC South’s plans for re-engagement with Madagascar, which has significant capacity building needs.
“The additional funding from the European Union’s ACP funds and savings on operating expenses from previous years will make it possible to extend the initial funding cycle (2011-16) by one year to include the fiscal year 2017. The Steering Committee agreed that the proposed extension of the funding cycle would help catch up with the foregone activities during 2011-14 because of the initial underfunding.
“Members of the Steering Committee reviewed the first nine months of joint management of AFRITAC South and the IMF’s newly established Africa Training Institute (ATI) in Mauritius. They welcomed innovative capacity development activities increasing synergies between AFRITACs’ and ATI’s activities and agreed that the proposed joint management of AFRITAC South and the ATI should continue.
“In conformity with its program document, AFRITAC South will undergo an external evaluation of its activities during September 2014-March 2015. The Steering Committee reviewed progress in preparations for the external evaluation and stressed the importance of finalizing a concise, focused report with prioritized, actionable recommendations by the next Steering Committee meeting, which is tentatively scheduled for April 2015.”
The AFRITAC South Steering Committee is currently chaired by Seychelles, and its fifth meeting was attended by officials from 10 AFRITAC South member countries: Angola, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. IMF staff also took part, along with representatives of donors: the UK Government Department for International Development (DFID), European Union, the European Investment Bank (EIB), Germany (represented by German International Cooperation (GIZ)), and Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
1 The center serves Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.