The first Steering Committee meeting of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Africa Training Institute (ATI), which took place last week in Mauritius, welcomed the roll-out of more courses on macro-economic and financial management. The Committee called for more funding to meet the strong demand for this training in sub-Saharan Africa. In response, the Mauritian authorities confirmed that they would release the contribution that they had previously pledged, and Seychelles committed US$50,000 per year from next year.
Representatives of four Africa Regional Technical Assistance Centers (AFRITACs), three ATI donor countries (Australia, China, and Mauritius), and IMF staff attended the meeting on June 27, 2014. Participating observers included representatives from potential donors, regional training partners, and heads of training of member countries.
At the opening of the meeting, Mr. Min Zhu, the IMF Deputy Managing Director said that the Steering Committee is an important governance feature of the ATI through which member countries and donors have an opportunity to demonstrate ownership and provide guidance to ATI staff.
Mr. Dev Manraj, Financial Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development of Mauritius, emphasized that the ATI is a significant initiative, which would contribute to better economic governance, thereby improving the lives of many Africans in a very real sense.
At the end of the meeting, Mr. Gerard Bussier, Chairman of the Steering Committee and a representative of Mauritius, and Mr. Vitaliy Kramarenko, Director of the ATI, made the following joint statement:
“The Steering Committee strongly supported the IMF’s new integrated approach to capacity building, including the close coordination between training and technical assistance. The Steering Committee saw the newly inaugurated ATI as the keystone of the IMF’s capacity building network in sub-Saharan Africa. Members of the Steering Committee underscored the importance of close integration of ATI’s training with the technical assistance provided by the AFRITACs.
“The Steering Committee endorsed the ATI’s work program for Financial Year (FY) 2015. Members of the Steering Committee agreed that the center should focus on key capacity gaps, including topics on the modernization of monetary policy frameworks, financial sector stability and supervision, and general issues in macroeconomic management. They also welcomed increasing opportunities for training in French and peer-to-peer learning for officials from the region. Members of the Steering Committee stressed that the impact of training depends to a great extent on the selection of qualified participants and the creation of opportunities for them to apply newly acquired knowledge.
“Members of the Steering Committee saw strong demand for the further expansion of training opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa, whose policy implementation capacity requires significant strengthening. They noted that the ATI’s potential for scaling up its activities is constrained by a funding gap. Members of the Steering Committee called on donors and member countries for additional funding to expand training opportunities in the region.”