CARTAC on Track to Its Busiest Year in Support of Economic and Financial Reforms in the Caribbean

Press Release No. 14/562
December 10, 2014

The Steering Committee of the International Monetary Fund’s Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Center (CARTAC) welcomed the progress of the Center in scaling-up the delivery of technical assistance (TA) since the last meeting in May 2014 (See Press Release No. 14/210).

Members of the Steering Committee met today in Nassau, The Bahamas. At the end of the meeting, Bank of Jamaica Governor and Chairman of the CARTAC Steering Committee Brian Wynter, and the recently appointed CARTAC Coordinator, David Kloeden, made the following joint statement:

“The Steering Committee welcomed the progress made by CARTAC to reach its envisaged level of operations and technical assistance delivery. The meeting noted that in the forthcoming final year of CARTAC’s fourth phase member countries are making solid progress toward achieving the capacity development objectives set out in the program document, while recognizing many challenges remain with much work still needed to maintain reform momentum. To that end, the Steering Committee endorsed the launching of a fifth phase from mid-2016, with extensive consultations, preparations, and fundraising to ensure a seamless transition. The final report of the independent external mid-term evaluation of CARTAC operations due in April 2015 will be a key input to these deliberations; the evaluators provided an update on progress of their work.

The Steering Committee endorsed the Center’s work program for the next six months, noting that recently launched work programs (such as external sector statistics and financial stability) are now effectively addressing important areas of need. The Steering Committee appreciated the enhancements to strengthen the reporting of achievements against targeted program objectives and outcomes, and welcomed news of the wide-reaching improvements anticipated under the IMF’s institution-wide results based management (RBM) initiative for capacity development. Appreciation was expressed for the hospitality and logistical support of The Bahamas authorities in hosting the Steering Committee meeting.”

The next meeting of the Committee will be held in May 2015 in Barbados.

CARTAC works closely with its membership to address the challenges facing the region of small and very open economies that are highly susceptible to natural disasters and external shocks. At the halfway point of the penultimate year of CARTAC’s fourth phase, the Center is on track to deliver a significantly scaled up program of technical assistance to foster macroeconomic stability and support economic growth across its 20-country membership. With the expansion of the CARTAC team last year with new experts in external sector statistics and macroeconomics, results are now being observed in stronger macro-policy and stronger than anticipated balance of payments statistical reporting. Other recent results include intensive support to the Bahamas in preparation for value-added tax (VAT) launch in January 2015 and adoption of new public finance legislation in Grenada. In the financial sector, most countries are on track to implement Basel II requirements.

The meeting was attended by representatives of seven member countries as well as donors consisting of Australia, Canada, the European Union (EU), and the United Kingdom. The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), the World Bank, and IMF staff were also present.

The CARTAC team comprises international and regional experts in the areas of macroeconomic programming and analysis; public financial management; revenue administration; macroeconomic statistics; financial sector supervision; and a recently expanded role in financial stability. CARTAC delivers its highly valued technical assistance to member countries through frequent visits by the CARTAC resident advisors or by other specialists, as well as through in-country and regional workshops, seminars, and training events. To foster the sharing of experiences and best practices across the region, CARTAC facilitates the exchange of officials between country institutions. In addition, to nurture development of the next generation of policy makers and managers, CARTAC oversees a successful program of graduate internships.

Background

The Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Center (CARTAC) is one of the nine IMF Regional Technical Assistance Centers (RTACs) located around the world in the Pacific, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, and Central America. RTACs were created to help countries strengthen human and institutional capacity to design and implement sound macroeconomic policies that promote growth and reduce poverty.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Council of Ministers of Finance and Planning (COFAP) took the decision to establish CARTAC in September 1999 and it became operational in November 2001. Canada (DFATD) provides the largest share of funding of CARTAC’s current program phase, which is complemented by contributions from the United Kingdom (DFID), Australia, the EU, the CDB, beneficiary countries, and in-kind contributions from the IMF. The Government of Barbados finances the costs of office facilities while the other 19 beneficiary countries make annual financial contributions. Other contributors over the life of CARTAC included the IADB, Ireland, the United Nations Development Program, the United States (USAID), and the World Bank.



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