The IMF’s African Regional Technical Assistance Center (AFRITAC West 2) held its fourth Steering Committee meeting in The Gambia on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, to assess the Center’s operations over the past year and discuss next year’s plans. The Committee discussed strategic issues, including the Center’s contribution to furthering the Sustainable Development Goals. Officials from AFW2 member countries attended, together with development partner representatives— the European Union, Switzerland, Canada—and IMF staff.
Participants reaffirmed the important role of AFRITAC West 2 in assisting member countries to strengthen economic institutions and their capacity for implementing sound economic policies. They highlighted the impact of technical assistance and training provided by the Center as a basis for better economic policy decision-making.
Mr. Abdou Kolley, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs for The Gambia, chaired the meeting and welcomed the scaling-up in the Center’s operations over the past year to build institutional and human capacity in the region, including strengthening member countries’ resilience to address economic vulnerabilities. The Minister praised the Center’s use of innovative and flexible modes of delivering Technical Assistance. “Such flexibility and innovation are necessary to ensure that capacity development is well-tailored to meet the varying needs of member countries” he noted. He also commended the collaboration between the Center and the regional institutions (ECOWAS, WAMI and WAIFEM) which participated in the meeting.
The Center Coordinator, Mr. Lamin Leigh, summarized the progress made in the past year, highlighting a number of success stories in the Center’s capacity building work in the sub-region, including with The Gambia Revenue Authority. On the Center’s priorities for the coming year, Mr. Leigh noted that the will continue to support member countries in all its core areas of expertise, with additional emphasis on public financial management and revenue mobilization, including a scaling up of capacity development activities in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The Steering Committee was pleased with the progress made by AFRITAC West 2 in the past fiscal year, approved the work program for the 2017 fiscal year and urged the Center to do more on improving its execution going forward. Development partners also commented on the strategic priorities and expectations for the Center, including in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals. The Steering Committee members stressed the need for greater collaboration with regional institutions, including ECOWAS, and in that context highlighted the important role that AFW2 could play in regional integration. Committee members also agreed on the need to enhance the quality of macroeconomic statistics for better policymaking.
AFRITAC West 2 has been delivering capacity development services to Cabo Verde, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia since January 2014. The Center is one of five IMF Regional Technical Assistance Centers in sub-Saharan Africa and offers capacity-building services to member countries in the areas of revenue administration, public financial management, monetary operations and payment systems, financial sector supervision and regulation, and macroeconomic 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, Switzerland, Canada, the African Development Bank, Australia, China, and the European Investment Bank.