Typical street scene in Santa Ana, El Salvador. (Photo: iStock)

Typical street scene in Santa Ana, El Salvador. (Photo: iStock)

IMF Survey : Delivery of IMF Expertise and Training on the Rise

October 3, 2014

  • Spending on capacity development up for fourth straight year
  • 74,000 days of technical assistance and 54,000 days of training delivered
  • Donors give $181 million in new funding for IMF capacity development

In response to high demand from its membership across the globe, the International Monetary Fund has increased its spending on capacity development for the fourth straight year, according to the IMF Annual Report 2014 released today.

Enumerators collect data for a census in Myanmar, one of the countries that has worked with the IMF to develop its economic management capacity (photo: Lynn Bo Bo/EPA/Newscom).

Enumerators collect data for a census in Myanmar, one of the countries that has worked with the IMF to develop its economic management capacity (photo: Lynn Bo Bo/EPA/Newscom).


The recent global crisis demonstrated that all member countries, including advanced economies, need to address institutional weaknesses and adapt to rapid global economic and financial developments. In addition to economic monitoring and lending, the IMF provides support to its member countries through what it calls capacity development—technical assistance (in-country expert advice on specific topics for limited periods) and training for country officials to advance their economic skills and policy understanding.

During the financial year covered in the report (May 1, 2013–April 30, 2014), IMF direct spending on capacity development grew for the fourth consecutive year, to $235 million, up from $160 million in 2011, and almost half of the total was financed by member countries, notably Japan (see Figure).

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The spending enabled the IMF to deliver 285 “person-years” of technical assistance—the equivalent of one expert working for 285 years, or more than 74,000 days of expert advice. Fiscal issues made up the largest share of the technical assistance delivered, followed by monetary and financial sector issues. The total amount of advice delivered increased across all regions and categories of income, whether low-income, emerging-market, or advanced economies.

With the support of external donors and training partners, during the year over 6,300 officials received training at 178 events, for a total of 10,856 “participant-weeks”— the equivalent of more than 54,000 days of training. Emerging market economies received the largest share, at about 60 percent; among regions, the Middle East and Central Asia, and Asia and the Pacific had the highest numbers.

Meeting urgent needs

The IMF continued to respond swiftly to meet urgent needs for technical assistance in a broad set of countries, delivered through its nine Regional Technical Assistance Centers as well as IMF headquarters. For instance, the IMF advised on rationalizing spending and strengthening social safety nets in the face of a major economic crisis in Ukraine. In Cyprus, it helped the authorities improve tax policy and administrations, reform public financial management, and prioritize public expenditures. In Albania, the IMF helped the authorities control expenditure arrears, improve commitment controls, and strengthen tax administration.

In a number of countries under distress, the IMF assisted the authorities with improving budget formulation (Libya and Somalia) and strengthening public financial management (Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Niger). In European crisis countries, the IMF advised countries on fiscal policy and management issues, corporate and household insolvency, judicial reforms, and claims enforcement in order to facilitate early and rapid rehabilitation of viable businesses and to improve debt collection.


The IMF provides hands-on, policy-oriented training courses for country officials in macroeconomics, finance, and related operational fields, at IMF headquarters and its seven Regional Training Centers and Programs, and in member countries. An integral part of the IMF’s capacity building, the training program is designed to respond to evolving global macroeconomic developments and policy challenges, membership demands, and technological innovations.

Last year, the IMF delivered courses on new topics of strategic importance for the Fund’s membership, such as preventing financial crises, restoring financial sector health, and fostering inclusive growth. The IMF also expanded its online learning offerings, launching a new program developed in partnership with the nonprofit organization edX. To enhance the synergy between technical assistance and training, new courses were developed in cooperation with the IMF’s RTACs: for example, the Singapore Training Institute cooperated with the Technical Assistance Office for Lao P.D.R. and Myanmar to deliver a customized course for officials in Myanmar.

External support

Donors bolster the Fund’s ability to deliver technical assistance and training to member countries. New contributions totaling $181 million were received during FY2014, and activities financed by donors totaled $147 million. The IMF leverages external support through multi-donor contributions to capacity development through its RTACs and Regional Training Centers, as well as through bilateral partnerships. The Fund also administers topical trust funds for technical assistance on specific topics such as natural resource wealth management and anti–money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.

Read more about the IMF’s capacity development and other activities to support the membership in the IMF’s Annual Report 2014, available in print in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish, on CD-ROM (in English only), and on the Internet at www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/ar/2014/eng. The Annual Report web page includes the IMF’s financial statements for FY2014 and other background documentation. Copies of the Annual Report, the financial statements, and the CD-ROM are available free of charge from IMF Publication Services, P.O. Box 92780, Washington, DC 20090, online at www.imfbookstore.org or www.elibrary.imf.org, or by e-mail at publications@imf.org.