The eighth Steering Committee of the International Monetary Fund’s Regional Technical Assistance Center for Southern Africa (AFRITAC South) met in Swaziland on March 30-31, 2017. The center serves Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
Hon. Martin G. Dlamini, Minister of Finance of Swaziland opened the meeting. He emphasized the critical role AFRITAC South plays in the economic transformation of member countries and called for sustaining capacity development (CD) efforts to maintain the reform momentum. He also underlined the importance of strengthening collaboration with the center to effectively bridge capacity gaps and to better align CD plans with the emerging priorities of member countries, regional organizations, and the special needs of countries facing fragile conditions.
At the conclusion of the Steering Committee meeting, Ms. Lonkhululeko Magagula, Chair of the Steering Committee and Ms. Effie Psalida, AFRITAC South Coordinator, issued the following joint statement:
“Members of the Steering Committee noted the sustained increase in technical assistance to the region by the center as well as the increase in the number of seminars, workshops, and professional attachments to bridge capacity gaps and to support implementation of reforms in all 13 countries in core macroeconomic areas. The Committee welcomed the achievements made during Phase I and supported the need to sustain efforts to further strengthen macroeconomic management capacity in the region and build economic resilience. Members of the Committee agreed with the relevance of AFS CD for member countries for meeting their commitments to regional organizations such as COMESA and SADC, and proposed that this focus be reinforced in Phase II. The Committee endorsed the Work Plan for the year starting May 1, 2017, with additional resources for the statistics area.
The Committee welcomed the smooth transition towards the new IMF-wide results based management (RBM) framework to further improve planning, execution, and evaluation of CD initiatives and demonstration of strong value for money: It supported the program for Phase II, with the understanding that the program document is still being finalized. Donor partners agreed to work with the center towards harmonizing strategic logical frameworks with the new IMF RBM framework.
The Committee noted the fundraising status for Phase I and Phase II and agreed to an extension of Phase I by three months. To ensure sustainability of the program going forward and as a signal for strong member country ownership, the Committee also agreed in principle to doubling of the member country contributions in Phase II, subject to further consultations with their capitals. Donor partners agreed to work closely with the center to expedite finalization of disbursement for funding Phase II.”
The AFRITAC South Steering Committee is currently chaired by Swaziland. This eighth meeting was attended by officials of all thirteen member countries and the following donor representatives: the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia. USAID participated as observer.
AFRITAC South is one of 14 regional IMF CD centers around the world (of which six are in sub-Saharan Africa) and offers capacity building services to member countries in its core areas of expertise, namely public financial management, revenue administration, real sector statistics, financial sector supervision, monetary policy and operations, and payment systems.