IMF Deputy Managing Director Ms Nemat Shifak and ACP Secretary General Dr Mohamed Ibn ChambasACP PRESS RELEASE, 8 December 2011: The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have agreed to boost cooperation in the field of capacity building to strengthen members’ economic institutions and policy making expertise.

ACP Secretary General H.E Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas and IMF Deputy Managing Director Ms. Nemat Shafik signed a memorandum on Wednesday, 7 December in Brussels, affirming their common interest in fostering sustainable capacity building programs in ACP states, while also agreeing to mutual support, consultations, and exchange of views and information.

“The great majority of the ACP family of nations are also members of the IMF, and have been supported by the IMF in various ways over the years. We now have an opportunity to enhance and monitor these activities together. Working within current frameworks of action, the ACP Secretariat and the IMF will look at designing and implementing joint projects, aimed at poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth amongst our members,” said Dr Chambas.

Each year the two parties shall meet formally to carry out strategic monitoring of joint projects and related policy issues, while also granting each other observer status in other relevant gatherings.

Before the signing ceremony, in a presentation to the ACP Ministerial Committee on Development Finance Cooperation, Ms. Shafik discussed how the global economic crisis has affected low-income countries as well as the IMF’s response.

“Though low-income countries have been affected significantly by the crisis, many were able to mitigate the impact of the shock with a countercyclical policy response. Now it is critical that ACP and other low-income countries strengthen buffers against future shocks by mobilizing domestic revenues, increasing domestic savings, further developing local financial markets, and expenditure prioritization,” Ms. Shafik said.

In addition to its policy advice and lending, the IMF actively assists countries in building capacity in its areas of expertise. Half of IMF technical assistance already benefits ACP countries, most of it delivered through six Regional Technical Assistance Centers. The global financial crisis and continued vulnerabilities of ACP countries make the advice and technical assistance provided through these centers even more relevant. The planned expansion of the centers serving ACP regions, including the opening of a new Center in West Africa as soon as funding has been secured, would permit virtually full coverage of the ACP zone.

“The network of regional technical assistance centers serving ACP countries is a project that benefits all your members and help them better address the growing volatility of the economic environment. It greatly contributes to reinforce coordination between the national, the regional and the supra-regional level in the ACP zone. The IMF is determined to further develop its cooperation with the ACP Group,” Ms. Shafik stressed during the signing ceremony.

Dr. Chambas added: “There are substantial synergies between the regional technical assistance centers and the core work of the ACP group. The areas in which the technical assistance centers are providing assistance, such as debt and revenue management, are critical in helping ACP countries to navigate through these challenging times.”

There are currently six IMF Regional Technical Assistance Centers in the ACP region. Centers are located in Fiji (serving 16 Pacific Island Countries), Barbados (serving 20 Caribbean countries and territories), and four regions in Africa, with centers in Tanzania (serving seven countries), Mali (serving 10 countries), Gabon (serving nine countries) and Mauritius (covering 13countries in Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean).

Planning is in progress to open a center in Ghana to cover non-Francophone countries in West Africa. This will almost complete coverage of the ACP countries by the RTAC network. -END-

(Pictured: IMF Deputy Managing Director Nemat Shifak and ACP Secretary General Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas)

For more information on Regional Technical Centers, visit the website.

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