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IMF East AFRITAC's Steering Committee Applauds the Center's Crucial Support for Building Stronger Economic Institutions in Member Countries

By International Monetary Fund (IMF)
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The Steering Committee of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center East (East AFRITAC) met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on April 3—5, 2016 to assess the Center's operations since May 2015, the first year of its fourth five-year program cycle (Phase IV, 2015—2020). The Committee discussed strategic issues, including the Center's contribution to furthering the Sustainable Development Goals and the Financing for Development Agenda and reviewed the work plan for the coming fiscal year (2017). Officials from six of the seven member countries attended, together with development partner representatives (the European Union, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, United States, African Development Bank, European Investment Bank) and IMF staff.

In their remarks, H.E. Neway Gebre-Ab, Advisor to the Prime Minister, Ahmed Shide, State Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation, and Yohannes Ayalew, Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, praised the contributions the Center had made to building institutional and human capacity in the region, highlighting the important role of macroeconomic knowledge transfer for Ethiopia's Growth and Transformation Plans. Development partner officials set out their strategic priorities and expectations of the Center, including in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals and on operational issues. Member countries highlighted the important impact of technical assistance and training provided by the Center, including support for domestic resource mobilization; accountable and transparent public spending; efficient public investment; regional economic integration; strengthening financial sector stability; modernizing monetary policy frameworks; and improving macroeconomic statistics as a basis for better economic policy decision-making.

Steering Committee members appreciated the scale and range of work delivered over the past year (fiscal year 2016). They welcomed the determined implementation of the independent mid-term evaluation's recommendations. The Committee endorsed the FY 2017 work plan, while expressing concerns over the impact of uncertainty of the Center's funding on program planning and execution. They stressed the importance and urgency of securing full financing for Phase IV given the region's substantial macroeconomic capacity building needs. These are very much related to the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development–domestic revenue mobilization, high-quality public spending, sustainable scaling up of infrastructure, and financial market development–and have been rendered even more pressing by global economic headwinds affecting the region. Development partners reaffirmed their efforts to secure the required financing. Member countries confirmed they would swiftly follow through on their commitment to double their own contributions to the Center.

The Steering Committee also lauded the Center's support for peer learning through various modalities, took note of complementary initiatives undertaken by IMF headquarters and development partners, recognized efforts to improve donor coordination, and praised the Center's new outreach initiatives. The next Steering Committee meeting will take place in Malawi in early 2017.

Background

East AFRITAC, located in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, is one of nine regional IMF technical assistance centers around the world and serves Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. It provides capacity-building assistance in core areas of expertise of the International Monetary Fund including: revenue administration; public financial management; macro-fiscal analysis; financial sector regulation and supervision; monetary policy and operations; financial market infrastructures and payments; national accounts and price statistics; and government finance statistics. Its Steering Committee, which is composed of the member countries, the IMF, and development partners, oversees and provides strategic guidance to the Center. Development partners currently financing the Center are the EU, UK, Netherlands and Switzerland.