Thursday, June 26, 2014 1:48 pm
PORT-LOUIS (APO) — The International Monetary Fund (IMF) today opened the Africa Training Institute (ATI) in Ebene, Mauritius, adding an important regional center to a global network of centers helping to develop countries’ policymaking capacity by transferring economic skills and best practices.
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,” IMF Deputy Managing Director Min Zhu told ministers, central bank governors, development partners, diplomats and senior Mauritius government officials at the opening ceremony.
Mr. Zhu said the ATI was strategically located right next to the Fund’s Africa regional technical assistance center (AFRITAC) 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. The ATI will be a welcome addition to this network. Because it develops synergies between training and technical assistance, the institute will fit into this network, which will greatly enhance capacity development in Africa,” said Mr. Zhu.
Mr. Zhu recognized contributions to the set-up of the ATI from the host country of Mauritius and also from the Australian Agency for Economic Development (AusAid) and the People’s Bank of China.
The opening of the ATI comes at a time when growth in Africa continues to average more than 5 percent, and 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 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’s program aligns with the challenges faced by the region, by providing practical training in support of sound macroeconomic policies,” he added.
Some key components of the training program already go in this direction, with training on issues of importance for many sub-Saharan African countries, such as inclusive growth policies; financial inclusion; macroeconomic management and natural resource management; and economic and monetary integration.