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Press Release: West AFRITAC’s Steering Committee Welcomes Good Progress and Approves Revised Work Program

Press Release No. 13/477 November 27, 2013

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Regional Technical Assistance Center for West Africa increased significantly its activities during the first half of its 2013-14 financial year. With the support of the center, member countries registered further progress toward reforming their economic and financial institutions. The execution of the ambitious work plan will require the rapid disbursement of remaining expected contributions for the current financing cycle.

West AFRITAC’s Steering Committee met in Lomé (Togo) on November 22, 2013to review the implementation of the work program for the first half of the current financial year, endorse the work program for the second half, discuss the findings of the external evaluation and approve the financial statements. Officials from nine of the ten member countries attended, together with representatives of regional institutions (West African Economic and Monetary Union, AFRISTAT, Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest), most donors (the African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the European Union, France, and Germany), and IMF staff.

In his opening remarks, His Excellency Minister Adji Otèth Ayassor, Minister of Economy and Finances of the Republic of Togo, paid tribute to the quality of AFRITAC West technical assistance citing the recent results yielded by the Center’s support in his country – risk management in customs, medium-size taxpayer compliance initiative, debt sustainability analysis and production of national accounts. He welcomed AFRITAC West encouraging prospects, confident that the current initiatives to strengthen the effectiveness of its technical assistance will bear fruit. He rested convinced that the work of the Steering Committee would pave the way to an additional deployment of resources, with a view to accelerating capacity building in favor of the countries of the region and supporting their integration efforts within the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).

Following the meeting, Mr. Badawasso Gnaro, Secretary General and representative of the Minister of Finance of Togo, Chair of the West AFRITAC Steering Committee, and Mr. Jean Le Dem, Coordinator of West AFRITAC, made the following joint statement:

“The Steering Committee noted the good results achieved this semester in some member countries with the center’s support, most notably the revision of customs inspection selection procedures in Benin and Côte d’Ivoire; the strengthening of public accounting in Mali and Niger; the implementation of program-based budgets in Burkina Faso; the strengthening of banking supervision frameworks in Guinea and Mauritania; and the production of national annual and quarterly accounts compliant with international standards in several countries. The Steering Committee welcomed the launch of several multiyear TA projects in favor of the regional institutions, including those pertaining to (1) the implementation of Basel II and III standards within the WAEMU; (2) capacity building at the regional banking supervision commission; (3) the establishment of the regional debt agency UMOA-Titres. It also endorsed a revised work program for the second half of 2013-14, which includes a program for the new resident advisor on macroeconomic analysis and forecasting. The Steering Committee stressed the operational risks to this program, notably those related to the center’s financial situation and to delays in the disbursement of key financial contributions.

“The Steering Committee welcomed the very positive appraisal of the center (as regards to relevance, effectiveness, and efficiency) that comes out of the final external evaluation report. It also sounded its appreciation for the swiftness with which the Center has acted to implement several recommendations of this evaluation, most notably the strengthening of the results-based management framework. It tasked the Center and the IMF to propose an action plan for review at its next meeting, scheduled for early May 2014 in Abidjan.”


The Center is a member of the AFRITAC Initiative, bringing together five regional technical assistance centers in sub-Saharan Africa. That Initiative came into being in 2002, following the request made by African policy makers meeting within the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to the IMF to help strengthen the institutional and human capacities of their states for the design and implementation of economic policies apt to accelerate economic growth and stem poverty. Launched in 2003, West AFRITAC has been based in Abidjan since 2012. It acts in areas of competence of the IMF, namely, customs and tax administrations, expenditure management, macroeconomic and financial statistics, public debt management, and banking supervision and control. The activities of West AFRITAC are carried out essentially in the form of technical assistance missions, national workshops, and regional seminars for the benefit of the member countries and regional organizations (in particular, the WAEMU Commission and the BCEAO).

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