Since ATI first started operations in Mauritius in 2013, with the financial support of the governments of Mauritius, China, Korea, and Australia, other countries, Seychelles, Angola, and Togo, have added their support, which demonstrates a growing sense of ownership of the Institute by African countries. In its five years of operations, ATI has established itself as a part of the IMF’s network of regional capacity development centers around the world, which help strengthen countries’ capacity for effective economic policymaking and management. In addition to delivering standardized training aimed at strengthening institutional and human capacity for effective economic policymaking and macroeconomic management, ATI is a leading source of customized training and peer-to-peer learning in the region.
An external evaluation, undertaken in 2017, noted that ATI is highly valued by stakeholders and has a strong institutional reputation. The standardized training is very relevant and associated with significant learning gains, and participants have greatly appreciated the customized training and peer-to-peer seminars. In addition, ATI demonstrates a high level of administrative efficiency.
In terms of numbers, ATI trains an increasing share of officials participating in IMF courses. By end-December 2017, ATI has trained 1,822 participants from 45 sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries, and an additional 2,188 SSA officials have received training from ATI partners using ATI facilities. ATI has continued to increase the number of courses offered in French or with French simultaneous interpretation, resulting in a steady increase in the share of participants from francophone countries from 1 percent in 2013 to 39 percent in 2017. In 2017, delivery was also boosted by the addition to ATI’s schedule of new courses, formerly taught in other parts of Africa, while in 2018 one additional course will be offered with the financial support of the new China-IMF Capacity Development Center (CICDC).
Collaboration between ATI and other institutions involved in developing capacity has been a critical factor for success. In 2017 ATI strengthened its collaboration with partners, including the IMF’s five Africa Regional Technical Assistance Centers (AFRITACs), the Macroeconomic and Financial Management Institute of Eastern and Southern Africa (MEFMI), and the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM). As in the past, joint management and co-location with AFRITAC South allowed for synergies between training and technical assistance (TA) and helped limit administrative costs. ATI also hosted training organized by other partners, such as the Australia National University (ANU) in cooperation with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), under its Australia Awards Africa program.
ATI is likely to continue to face growing demand. The IMF’s October 2017 Regional Economic Outlook for Africa found that high institutional quality strongly supports growth spells in the SSA region, consistently more than in any other regions, underlining the continuing relevance of institutions such as ATI. As SSA countries grow and several achieve middle-income status, the need will increase for more effective institutions, legal frameworks, policies, and practices to promote economic stability, sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and poverty reduction. This underscores the continuing relevance of efforts such as those undertaken by ATI.
This year will also see the completion of the 2018 Quinquennial Review of the Fund’s Capacity Development Strategy, which will assess progress since the 2013 Review, identify remaining challenges, and lay out reform priorities for the period ahead. Key topics for the Review include further integrating capacity development with surveillance and IMF policy advice, improving targeting to country needs, including through innovative delivery approaches, sharing knowledge with the membership, and entrenching the results-oriented approach to capacity development monitoring and evaluation to ensure increasing focus on achieving results on the ground.
ATI’s work will be guided and informed by the 2018 Quinquennial Review of the Fund’s Capacity Development Strategy and the recent external evaluation. It will continue to build on progress made, providing the regular broad curriculum of courses in the IMF’s core areas of expertise, complemented by more hands-on training consistent with evolving needs in the region. Greater ownership by members and the support of global partners will be critical in this context.
L. Effie Psalida