BRUSSELS, Belgium — On Thursday, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) signed an agreement for a contribution of €20 million to the regional technical assistance centres (RTACs) in the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) regions.
“We are very grateful to the European Commission and the ACP Secretariat for their continued support of the IMF’s capacity building efforts to the benefit of a great number of recipient countries,” IMF deputy managing director Nemat Shafik said during the signing ceremony in Brussels. “This contribution is crucial for scaling-up our capacity development in the seven ACP RTACs, which have a proven track record in providing flexible, responsive, and tailored technical assistance to their member countries. I would also like to note that the work being carried out by the RTACs will be reinforced by other IMF capacity development initiatives, including those that utilize today´s ever advancing technology, such as e-learning.”
Marcus Cornaro, deputy director general of DG Europeaid, European Commission, added: “This program is proof that the strategic partnership between the EU and the IMF has a real added value, in improving our coordination and effectiveness in capacity building. I am pleased that the work we do together is intensifying and confident that it will help us in implementing key policy elements of the EU ‘Agenda for change’ and the new approach to EU budget support.”
Capacity development lies at the heart of the EU development strategy and of its budget support programmes. It also plays a key role within the mandate of the IMF and is closely linked to its economic surveillance and lending operations. The IMF supports the development of the productive resources of member countries by helping them design appropriate macroeconomic, financial, and structural policies, build more effective institutions, and strengthen their capacity to ensure the sustainability of reforms.
The RTACs were set up to provide hands-on technical assistance that is in the IMF key areas of expertise, complementing strategic technical assistance from Washington headquarters. They were also established to make it easier to respond more quickly to recipient countries’ needs. More recently, the IMF has been looking at ways to maximize the synergies of capacity development initiatives. For example, the new Africa Training Institute in Mauritius is now coordinating classroom training with onsite technical assistance provided by all the African RTACs.
Currently, six RTACs are operating in the ACP regions, including the Caribbean regional technical assistance centre in Bridgetown, Barbados, serving 20 Caribbean island countries and territories.
The Caribbean RTAC has supported central banks to improve financial soundness in the insurance sector and upgraded the custom systems in six countries among other things.