Building a Strong Post-Pandemic Recovery

October 11, 2021

Good morning or good afternoon everyone. My name is Antoinette M. Sayeh, and I am a Deputy Managing Director at the International Monetary Fund.

It is my pleasure to welcome you to this event and to launch the capacity development event series at the 2021 IMF Annual Meetings.

As the global economy emerges from the biggest crisis of our lifetimes, the divergent recovery that is taking hold is deeply worrisome. Countries with access to vaccines and continued fiscal support are well on their path to recovery, and those without are at risk of falling behind. In fact, many developing and low-income countries are still struggling, heavily affected by the pandemic and public finances stretched to the breaking point. Consequently, progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals has stalled – or even reversed – in many countries.

Financial support from the IMF to low-income countries remains at record levels. At the same time, we are seeing rising demand for IMF capacity development services to provide policymakers with technical assistance and training in areas such as debt management, domestic revenue mobilization, public financial management, monetary and financial systems, economic statistics, and macroeconomic frameworks.

We have fully mobilized our toolbox to meet this demand, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable countries. During the last fiscal year, more than half of our capacity development work benefitted low-income countries. As policymakers plan for an inclusive and resilient recovery, we are scaling up our technical assistance and training in preparing for the challenges posed by climate change, inequality, and digitalization.

In an environment of scarce resources, the IMF’s partners have been critical to meeting the rising demand for capacity development. During today’s event, we will be joined by representatives from two of our major partners, Japan and the European Union. Together, we work on a wide array of programs supporting our global network of 17 regional capacity development centers, 8 thematic funds, the Somalia country fund, and bilateral initiatives. I want to thank them for this strategic partnership that allows us to support our membership worldwide and focus on low-income countries.

Last year, we also launched a COVID-19 Crisis Capacity Development Initiative to meet the urgent needs of our member countries. We recently welcomed Belgium as our 9th funding partner of this initiative. With funding reaching 40 million dollars—and with more pledges yet to come—this Initiative has enhanced our ability to respond to our member countries’ needs. The Initiative is currently funded by Japan, Germany, China, Korea, Canada, Belgium, Spain, Singapore, and Switzerland. Let me thank all of the contributors so far.

Over half of IMF capacity development is funded by partners. And we continue to look for ways to strengthen our collaboration with them. This year alone, we have launched new partnerships with Japan, the European Union, Germany, the United States, and Sweden, among others, in areas such as debt management, tax administration, fiscal governance, and climate action.

In the coming days, our capacity development event series will focus on the key challenges countries are facing and solutions to address them.

We will start with a strategic discussion today on Building a Strong Post-Pandemic Recovery – featuring our leading capacity delivery departments and partners.

Right after this event, we will have a presentation of the IMF’s online learning program. Our community of participants now comprises more than 110,000 people from 193 countries worldwide. We currently have 30 online courses open to the public.

In the coming days, the CD event series will feature discussions on engineering the green transformation, financing the Sustainable Development Goals, and using nowcasting and big data to track economic activity. I hope that you will be able to connect with us this week and beyond.

With that, let me welcome you to this event, once again, and invite Sharmini Coorey, the Director of our Institute for Capacity Development, to lead today’s discussion. These Annual Meetings will be her last as staff, so I want to thank her and convey our deep gratitude for her steadfast leadership of the IMF’s capacity development work over the years.

Sharmini, the floor is yours.

IMF Communications Department


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