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AfDB Hosts AFRITAC Pledging Conference

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) will, on December 11, 2009, in Tunis host a pledging conference for the third phase of the “Africa Regional Technical Assistance Centers (AFRITACs) Initiative. The AFRITACs Initiative, launched in 2002 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is part of international efforts to provide technical assistance and strengthen institutional capacity in African countries in the area of economic and financial governance. It originated from a response to a call by African leaders to the international community to increase technical assistance to Africa and to  focus such assistance more sharply on capacity building.

The AfDB has been providing continued support to AFRITAC due, in part, to its relevance to Africa’s development challenges. The global economic and financial crises, as well as continued vulnerabilities of African countries, make policy advice and technical assistance provided through AFRITAC even more relevant today than in the past. The areas in which AFRITACs providing assistance are critical to rationalizing public finances and reducing poverty, including debt management, revenue management and tax reform. This assistance is relevant to all AfDB regional member countries, including middle-income countries, which are severely affected by the global economic downturn and which have embarked upon dramatic reforms.

Three centers have been established on the continent: The East AFRITAC based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, cover the needs of seven East African countries. The West AFRITAC located in Bamako, Mali, caters to the needs of ten west African francophone countries; and the Central AFRITAC, based in Libreville, Gabon, serves eight countries.

Arising from the success of the two previous phases, the IMF has, since the early 2009, embarked on consultations with the Bank and other development partners for the design of the third phase of AFRITACs covering a period of five years (2010-2014). An independent evaluation of AFRITAC II in early 2009 concluded that the assistance provided was relevant, of high quality and tailored to the needs of the countries. The evaluation report also highlights that AFRITAC has been instrumental in bringing about policy and institutional reforms which have contributed to improved revenue mobilisation and improved budgetary management

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