Communiqué IMF-East AFRITAC 11th Steering Committee Meeting Concluded in Blantyre on April 7, 2009

April 7, 2009

The eleventh annual Steering Committee meeting of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) East Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center (East AFRITAC) was held in Blantyre, Malawi, during April 6 and 7, 2009, under the Chairmanship of Mrs Mary C. Nkosi, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).1 The meeting was attended by delegations of IMF-East AFRITAC’s seven East African member countries (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda) and delegations from supporting donors and agencies, including the African Development Bank, the African Capacity Building Foundation, Italy, Japan, Norway, and Switzerland, representing the Center’s 16 non-regional bilateral and multilateral donors. The IMF, itself a contributor to the Center, sent a delegation from its headquarters in Washington, DC, USA.

The delegations were welcomed by the Governor of the RBM who presided over the opening ceremony. In his opening remarks, the Governor praised the valuable assistance provided by IMF-East AFRITAC to the region in helping to build strong capacity to design and implement sound macroeconomic and financial policies. This was particularly important, as the international economic crisis has reached East Africa’s shores. Following a very positive independent evaluation of the IMF-East AFRITAC, the Governor urged the donor community to continue to fund the Center’s operations generously in the next five years, in agreement with the “Dar es Salaam Declaration”2 which strongly re-affirmed the need for strengthened institutional and human capacity in Africa.

The Steering Committee of the IMF-East AFRITAC meets once a year, its venue rotating among the seven member countries. It provides guidance to the Center’s strategies and sets priorities for its capacity-building assistance by endorsing its work program. The Committee, where the member countries have the majority of the seats, is a key feature of the IMF-East AFRITAC’s governance structure and provides for strong ownership of the Center and its activities by the membership.

In its deliberations during the just concluded annual meeting, the Steering Committee considered, among others, the following issues: (i) endorsement of the implementation of the Center’s work plan during fiscal year 2009 (FY 20093); (ii) endorsement of the work plan for the first half of FY 2010; (iii) review of the report on the second independent evaluation of the Center; and (iv) extension of the second funding cycle by six months until end-October 2009 to allow the completion of the fund-raising drive for the third funding cycle to cover 2009-14. The Committee commended the IMF-East AFRITAC for the valuable contribution it has continued to provide to building capacity in East Africa, and for the positive evaluation of its impact in the region by the independent evaluation team. Moving ahead, the Committee was looking forward to increased funding of IMF-East AFRITAC with a view to increasing its capacity-building assistance to the region in view of the additional needs arising from the crisis and to help members to bounce back as soon as the crisis is over. The Center currently has a resident team of eight international experts, deploys a large number of short-term experts, organizes several regional and national workshops a year on emerging issues of common interest to the region, and publishes manuals where it distills its experience gained from assisting its membership.4

On behalf of the Committee, Mrs Mary C. Nkosi thanked the Center’s donors for their generous financial support, and committed to continue to use their support in an effective manner. In closing the meeting, The Governor of RBM reiterated the importance of creating sustainable capacity in Africa and welcomed the international community’s intention to increase concessional financial assistance to low-income countries, especially in Africa. He emphasized that in addition to increased financial assistance, Africa also needed increased capacity building and training to be able to effectively absorb the scaled up assistance and progressively become more self reliant.

At the invitation of the Ethiopian authorities, the next meeting of the IMF-East AFRITAC Steering Committee will be held in Ethiopia in April 2010.


1 The Chair of the Steering Committee rotates among the seven East African member countries.
2 Declaration of the Africa-IMF Conference held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, during March 10-11, 2009. For the text of the Dar es Salaam Declaration, see www.imf.org.
3 East AFRITAC’s fiscal year runs from May 1 to April 30 of the following year.
4 For more details on East AFRITAC’s activities, see the Center’s website at: www.eastafritac.org .

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