Nine regional technical assistance centers in the Pacific, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, and Central America help countries strengthen human and institutional capacity to design and implement policies that promote growth and reduce poverty. The centers focus on financial sector supervision, tax and customs administration, medium-term expenditure frameworks and public financial management, money markets, and macroeconomic statistics—topics key to helping countries advance towards sustainable development goals.
A Regional Approach
The IMF‘s regional approach to capacity development—technical assistance and training—allows for better tailoring of assistance to the particular needs of a region, closer coordination with other assistance providers, and an enhanced ability to respond quickly to emerging needs. It also fosters regional integration.
The Pacific and Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centers
The Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Center (PFTAC), established in Suva, Fiji, in 1993, now serves 16 Pacific island countries and territories, including the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tokelau,Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Its current program cycle is funded by the Asian Development Bank, Australia, the European Union, the IMF, Korea, New Zealand, and the host country Fiji.
The Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Center (CARTAC) was established in Bridgetown, Barbados in 2001. It serves 20 Caribbean island countries and territories, including Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos. Its current program cycle is funded by Australia, Canada, the Caribbean Development Bank, the European Union, the IMF, the United Kingdom, the host country Barbados, and beneficiary countries.
The African Regional Technical Assistance Centers
The African Regional Technical Assistance Centers are part of the IMF’s Africa Capacity-Building Initiative, launched in May 2002. Responding to calls from African leaders, including under the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Initiative promotes strengthening the capacity of African countries to design and implement their poverty-reducing strategies, as well as to improve the coordination of capacity building in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) process. The centers’ activities take place in close cooperation with the African Development Bank and donor partners. This facilitates a coordinated design, implementation, and monitoring of ongoing technical assistance programs in member countries.
As part of the Initiative, five African Regional Technical Assistance Centers (AFRITACs) have been established. AFRITAC East was opened in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 2002, and now serves seven countries in East Africa (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda). AFRITAC West—which opened in Bamako, Mali, in 2003 and moved to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, in mid-2012—serves ten countries in West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Togo). AFRITAC Central was opened in Libreville, Gabon, in 2007, to serve countries in the CEMAC group (Gabon, Cameroon, Chad, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and Equatorial Guinea), plus Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. AFRITAC South, based in Ebene, Mauritius, was opened in June 2011, to serve 13 countries in Southern Africa (Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe). AFRITAC West 2, based in Accra, Ghana, started operations in December 2013, covering the non-francophone countries from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that are not served by the current AFRITAC West: Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.
The AFRITACs are financed by contributions from a number of donors, the IMF, and host and beneficiary countries. Current donors include the African Development Bank, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Investment Bank, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Kuwait, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
The Middle East Regional Technical Assistance Center
The Middle East Regional Technical Assistance Center (METAC) was established in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2004 to serve ten countries/territories in the Middle East (Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen). METAC’s main objective is to help strengthen capacity for effective macroeconomic and financial management in the region, and to support the region’s integration into the world economy. A particular focus is to help post-conflict countries in the region achieve macroeconomic stability and develop basic institutions for policymaking. METAC’s current program cycle is financed by contributions from the European Investment Bank, the European Union, France, Germany, the IMF, Kuwait, Oman, the United States, the host country Lebanon, and beneficiary countries.
The Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic Regional Technical Assistance Center
The Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic Regional Technical Assistance Center (CAPTAC-DR) started operations in May 2009 in Guatemala City, Guatemala. It serves Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The Center’s first program cycle was funded by Spain, the European Union, Canada, Mexico, Germany, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, the Inter-American Development Bank, the IMF, the host country Guatemala, and beneficiary countries. The second cycle—which commenced in July 2014—is supported by Canada, the European Union, Luxembourg, Mexico, the host country and recipient countries, and a firm pledge by the Inter-American Development Bank. Fundraising efforts are ongoing.