IMF unveils Africa Training Institute in Mauritius to transfer economic skills
IMF Deputy Managing Director, Min Zhu, noted that the ATI is strategically located right next to the Fund’s Africa regional technical assistance center (AFRITAC) South in Ebene, which already provides technical assistance to 13 countries in Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean. (Image: Flickr)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) inaugurated yesterday, June 26, 2014 the Africa Training Institute (ATI) in Ebene, Mauritius to help African governments develop the economic policymaking capacity necessary to sustain the continent’s recent economic gains and cope with emerging challenges.
Adding an important regional center to its global network, the ATI will help develop countries’ policymaking capacity by transferring economic skills and best practices.
The training institute is the first such center in Africa and the fourth established by the IMF around the world to provide high-quality training in macroeconomic management to government officials. The IMF’s other major training centers are located in Austria, Kuwait, and Singapore.
The institute’s key objective is to contribute to improved macroeconomic and financial policies through high-quality training, which will ultimately support sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa.
“This is a new type of institution and it embodies the IMF’s new integrated approach to capacity development,” said IMF Deputy Managing Director, Min Zhu at the opening ceremony.
Mr Zhu noted the ATI is strategically located right next to the Fund’s Africa regional technical assistance center (AFRITAC) South in Ebene, which already provides technical assistance to 13 countries in Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean.
“Africa now benefits from a whole network of regional technical assistance centers – in addition to the AFRITAC South, there are two AFRITACs in the West, one in the East, and one in Central Africa,” said Mr Zhu.
The ATI joins a network of five IMF Regional Technical Assistance Centers established on the continent to help build economic policymaking capacity. With the inauguration of the Africa Training Institute, the capacity building network is now complete.
“The ATI will be a welcome addition to this network as it develops synergies between training and technical assistance, the institute will fit into this network, which will greatly enhance capacity development in Africa,” he added.
Furthermore, the opening of the ATI comes at a time when growth in Africa continues to average more than 5 percent, with some countries also showing improvements in governance, private sector growth, and improved health and education.
However, there are still many risks and challenges.
“Some of these risks are driven by external factors, such as global financial conditions, but certain others – such as rising fiscal imbalances and elevated current account deficits – are driven by domestic policies. African countries are also facing the challenge of making growth more inclusive so as to ensure that it benefits all African people,” stated Mr Zhu.
“In partnership with African governments, partners and all stakeholders, the IMF will ensure that the ATI program aligns with the challenges faced by the region, by providing practical training in support of sound macroeconomic policies,” he added.
Through the ATI, the IMF will deliver a broad curriculum of macroeconomic management courses from fiscal, monetary, and exchange rate policies to inclusive growth policies, financial inclusion, debt sustainability, and the management of natural resource revenue, as well as issues in economic and monetary integration.
Finally, Mr Zhu recognized the contributions of Mauritius in the set-up of the ATI, as well as inputs from the Australian Agency for Economic Development (AusAid) and the People’s Bank of China.
Aware of the need to build capacity in sub-Saharan Africa, the government of Mauritius responded to the IMF’s open bid in 2012 to host a regional training center. The government provided a substantial cash contribution in addition to donating the physical training facilities.