Press Release: The East African Regional Technical Assistance Center (AFRITAC) is Inaugurated

October 24, 2002

The East African Regional Technical Assistance Center (East AFRITAC) was officially inaugurated on October 24, 2002 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

His Excellency Benjamin William Mkapa, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, delivered the inaugural address, and Mr. Eduardo Aninat, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), made a keynote address on behalf of the IMF. Regional finance ministers, central bank governors, and other senior officials from participating countries as well as senior official from bilateral and multilateral donor agencies participated in the inauguration ceremony. The East AFRITAC will serve Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The East AFRITAC is part of the IMF's new Africa Capacity-Building Initiative that has been launched this year in support of African governments, including in the context of the New Partnership for Africa (NEPAD). Under this Initiative, the Fund increases its capacity-building assistance to the African continent. The key objective is to strengthen the capacity of African governments to formulate and implement their own growth oriented, poverty reducing policies in the context of the countries' Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers.

The East AFRITAC, the first of the planned regional centers, will provide capacity-building assistance through a team of resident experts, supplemented by short-term specialists in the core areas of the IMF's expertise. These include macroeconomic policy, monetary and exchange rate policies, financial sector policies, tax policy and revenue administration, public expenditure management, and macroeconomic statistics. Another center will be opened later this year to serve French-speaking West African countries in similar areas. If the operations of the first two centers are successful, the IMF plans to open three additional centers over the medium-term to serve all sub-Saharan Africa.

The IMF will also strengthen its collaboration with existing capacity-building initiatives in the continent. As part of this strategy, the IMF joined the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) earlier this year.

The East AFRITAC's work will be guided by a steering committee composed of senior officials from the participating countries, and representatives of the agencies and donors which are providing financing. The first plenary meeting of the committee was held on October 23 under the chairmanship of Dr. Daudi Ballali, Governor of the Bank of Tanzania.


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