This issue also features an interview with Mr. Mubin Mirzaev, Vice Minister of Finance of Uzbekistan, as a successful alumnus. An interview with a current scholar Mr. Rana Ratul from the Reserve Bank of India is also featured. The JISPA activities during September-November, 2013, are introduced in the “JISPA Today”.
Here is the interview with H.E. Mrs. Chanthana.
1. The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) has sent 36 officials to the Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Asia (JISPA). Could you please briefly outline what type of officials the NBC encourages to apply for the JISPA? In addition, please describe the achievements that the NBC-JISPA alumni have so far made with a reference to some of the alumni.
The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) is pleased to express its gratitude to the Japanese Government and to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and to the Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Asia (JISPA) in particular, for its great and very effective support during these two decades.
Indeed, 36 officials from the NBC have studied or are currently studying in Japan under the JISPA. As a rule, the NBC selects its high-potential and qualified candidates, and within this population, choose those who are entitled to follow the program, with a double purpose:
- individually, in order to significantly improve the capacity and the knowledge of the selected candidates.
- collectively, to enhance the whole quality of NBC’s management and top management.
Briefly speaking, the NBC strongly encourages its “best staff” to take part in the JISPA, which is unanimously considered as an excellent incentive. In fact, the NBC gives the highest priority to the JISPA since it is viewed as one of the best “human investments”.
The 32 officials who have already graduated through the JISPA are making important contributions in many fields of the modernization of NBC operations, and some have risen to senior positions as illustrated below:
- Mr. KHAY PHOUSNITH, former Director of Economic Research and Statistics Department, has joint IMF as a senior economist in statistics department.
- Mrs. NGUON SOKHA, former Director General of NBC, has recently been appointed as the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
- Mr. THAI SAPHEAR, Deputy Secretary General
- Mr. KIMTY KORMOLY, Deputy Director General
- Mr. SOUK MANN, Deputy Director
- Mr. LY SIDETH, Deputy Director
- Mr. LUN SAM OL, Deputy Director, etc.
2. Please tell us what aspects and features the NBC appreciates in terms of what JISPA provides for its scholars.
There is no doubt that the JISPA is outstandingly beneficial for the NBC, in many aspects, but, some of the main features should be especially highlighted. First of all, what is really appreciated is the intrinsic high quality of the scholarship, which is certainly demanding for the trainees but it is also very beneficial for them, and consequently, for the NBC. With the JISPA, they are learning a great number of subjects in the most excellent education system. Secondly, the program covers all the most important and relevant topics for Central Bankers. Undeniably, the JISPA is usefully focused on the major functions of the NBC. Thirdly, the courses, both theoretical and practical, are helpful for the participants who are facing such diverse and unexpected problems in their social and professional lives. Therefore, the trainees can effectively put into practice what they have learnt.
The program has also provided the opportunity to:
- gain both practical and theoretical knowledge of the changing world from various universities in Japan. Japan is an international learning hub for foreign students from transition economies to share views and experience regarding economic and social development.
- build networking among executives and students from across the region
Incidentally, through the accomplishment of their studies, the participants are significantly enhancing their level of English, which is definitely not the least advantage of the JISPA.
3. Please briefly explain the subject areas where the NBC considers their officials need to learn the most during their studies in Japan under the JISPA. To what extent have the NBC-JISPA scholars returned with benefits from studying in Japan in the areas of these subjects?
There are many subjects which the NBC considers its officials need to learn during their studies in Japan under the JISPA. All of them are evidently related to the core mission of the Central Bank.
One of these is macroeconomic policy, which is fundamental for the conduct of monetary policy. Another important topic for the NBC is financial stability, which is progressively becoming a priority for any Central Banker in our modern and global environment. These two important fields require not only academic knowledge and daily practice, but also the capacity of correctly using specialized techniques. Therefore, the NBC highly appreciates that some courses are devoted to statistics, econometrics, and mathematical tools aimed at practically supporting and implementing monetary policy. For the financial stability of markets, the NBC needs staff who have a capacity and sufficient knowledge in the areas of risk control, capital requirements, policies to deal with systemic risk and the relationships of these subjects to Monetary Policy.
For this reason, these subjects should be ideally a large component of the program. To better equip our staff in advancing their knowledge of these areas, the leadership courses are included. Finally, the NBC positively considers that its staff can be effectively trained for coping with the latest statistical software developments.
Until now, all the NBC-JISPA scholars returned with the highest benefits from their studies in Japan in various subject areas, and the NBC sincerely hopes that this fertile cooperation will continue in the future.
4. Overall, how would the NBC evaluate the extent to which the JISPA meets the capacity building needs of the NBC?
Overall, the JISPA has been a major contributor to the capacity building of the NBC for many years, and continues to be essential to the development and to the enhancement of our staff capacity. Indeed, the NBC is still a young institution, yet with a rapidly developing financial system having limited resources. In this respect, the assistance of Japan, and particularly of the JISPA, remains determinant for the future development of the Cambodia financial sector. This is especially needed since the JISPA fully meets the needs of the NBC, and plays such a central role in improving the capacity of the institution.
Last but not least, the JISPA is perfectly complementary with the other parts of the technical assistance provided by Japan through the IMF, which mainly focuses on banking supervision issues, notably with the assignment of a long-term resident advisor to the NBC.
5. Please provide us with any recommendation the NBC has in order to enhance the JISPA so as to meet the needs of the NBC and Cambodia.
As already underlined, the JISPA largely meets the needs of the NBC. We would much appreciate it if the number of scholarships could be increased especially on the Ph.D. program.
Nevertheless, if some minor improvement may be suggested, it might be recommended to give an even more practical approach to the training, although this dimension is already taken into consideration.
Certainly, it is always helpful for our staff to be familiarized with real situations that they will probably encounter in the course of their career. This means that, whenever possible, application of their training to Cambodian situations is particularly productive.
6. Do you have any message that you wish to pass on to Japan and the IMF?
Finally, the main message that the NBC would like to pass on to Japan and to the IMF, is that the Cambodian Central Bank would not be the regarded institution as it is now without the extraordinary support provided through the JISPA.
There is no doubt that the opportunities and academic knowledge our staff obtain from JISPA are core to the subsequent success and to the contribution that our staff have made to the NBC and above all to banking sector upon they return to Cambodia.
Once again, we would like to express our gratitude to the Japanese Government for providing technical assistance and scholarships, which is a vital contribution to strengthening the capacity building of the staff of the National Bank of Cambodia and we look forward to further support.
In addition to all professional benefits that the JISPA has granted to the NBC, it continues to offer another invaluable profit: deeper and closer human relationships between Cambodian and Japanese people, demonstrating the profound and precious friendship between Cambodia and Japan.
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