Regional Technical Assistance Centers Program (Afritac) – Phase II US$ 4.5 million ADF Grant
Tunis, 20 December 2006 –The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund on Wednesday in Tunis approved a grant of 4.5 million US dollars as the Bank Group’s participation in the second phase of the Regional Technical Assistance Centers Program (Afritac).
The goal of the Program is to help build the capacities of African countries to formulate and implement their own poverty reduction strategies. It seeks to build the human and institutional capacities of beneficiary countries in order to develop the expertise needed to ensure efficient macroeconomic and financial management. This Program will help the countries concerned to adopt sound and sustainable economic and financial policies.
The activities of this Program will encourage efficient management of public resources, the establishment of well-developed financial systems and the production of accurate macroeconomic statistics. The implementation of program activities, which is based on close coordination between the donors that provide technical support, will facilitate attainment of the long-term objectives outlined in the poverty reduction strategies of beneficiary countries.
The process of creating Regional Technical Assistance Centers in Africa (AFRITACs) was launched in February 2002 through an initiative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), following a broad-based consultation with the African Development Bank and other development partners. The main goal of the AFRITAC initiative is to build the capacities of countries targeted by the Centers with a view to ensuring efficient macroeconomic management in the poverty reduction strategies implementation process. Two centers were created during an initial pilot phase: East AFRITAC, opened in Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) in 2002 to address the needs of six East African countries and West AFRITAC, set up in Bamako (Mali) in 2003 to cater to ten West African countries.
The pilot phase of the AFRITAC program is a concrete example of the results that can be attained when several donors decide to pool their resources to provide technical assistance, at the regional level, in areas supported by the Bank and specially targeted by the IMF, namely macroeconomic management and financial governance. The first two pilot centers are efficient capacity-building instruments appreciated by all beneficiary countries and institutions. Their sensitivity to customer needs, proximity to beneficiary countries, rapid response time and rare knowledge of the local context and local issues have given value-added to the technical assistance provided to target countries, encouraged ownership of activities and enhanced coordination with other donors. These countries have made a strong commitment to continue with the program.
The African Development Bank participated in financing AFRITAC Phase I with a grant of US$ 3 million, representing 10.5% of total contributions. The Bank is considered a strategic partner of the AFRITAC initiative by virtue of its contribution (second biggest after that of the IMF) and its leadership in supporting capacity-building in the area of financial governance in Africa directly and through its contributions to the African Capacity-Building Foundation (ACBF) and NEPAD.
Given the Phase I results which have been deemed satisfactory, the IMF and the other partners, including the Bank, have decided to launch Phase II by extending the activities of the two existing Centers (East and West AFRITAC) by three years (May 2006 to April 2009) and creating a third center (Central AFRITAC) in Central Africa, which should be operational in January 2007. In all, these three centers will cover 25 African countries.
* Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda; Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo; Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, DRC, Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
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