On 28 May, in Harare, Zimbabwe, the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) signed a USD 1.2 million grant agreement with the Macroeconomic and Financial Management Institute of Eastern and Southern Africa (MEFMI). The regional Institute focuses building capacity in identified key areas in ministries of finance, planning commissions and central banks, or equivalent institutions with the goal to improve sustainable human and institutional capacity in the critical areas of macroeconomic and financial management as well as foster best practices in related institutions. The grant will support three key areas of macroeconomic policy management; promotion of financial stability and deepening in the member states; and debt management capability in selected MEFMI member countries. The key beneficiary countries of the ACBF grant are Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Botswana, and Swaziland.
Since 1994, the ACBF has been supporting Financial Management and Accountability with a focus on enhancing transparency in the management of public resources, by providing training in key macroeconomic and financial management functions, including technical advisory services in debt management and central bank operations. MEFMI is one of three regional projects that ACBF has supported. The other two are the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) covering the West Anglophone region and the Debt and Management Capacity building Programme (Pole Dette) covering central Africa. ACBF recognizes two key successes in these projects. The first is the reform of the legal and institutional framework for public debt management, thereby strengthening the coordination between management of public debt and budgetary and monetary policies; and the second is the capacity to strategically manage the organisations’ public debt monitor and evaluate public debt management, along with improvement of debt governance.
Specifically, MEFMI ‘s results include among others assisting MEFMI countries to develop relevant capacity building tools such as the Private Capital Monitoring System (PCMS) software which is now being used in capturing and collating information on foreign private capital flows. Currently ten MEFMI member countries have adopted and are using the system; developing manuals such as the Public Expenditure and Financial Management (PEFM) as well as a Macroeconomic Modelling and Forecasting Manual and through its Fellows Development Programme, the Institute has built a strong base of 94 Fellows who act as in-house resource persons who are at the disposal of their institutions.
Speaking at the grant signing ceremony, Dr Ngalande, MEFMI Executive Director , said that the relations between ACBF and MEFMI has evolved over the last 20 years and today it is in true partnership that the two institutions work together. Ngalande further pointed out that according to the new ACBF business model, mature projects and programs such as MEFMI have begun to augment the Foundation with the skills and know how, to upscale other ACBF projects or take responsibility with assistance in project implementation. This according to Ngalande is MEFMI’s obligation to give back to the continent in other ways.
From the ACBF perspective, Prof Emmanuel Nnadozie, ACBF Executive Secretary challenged MEFMI to expand its pool of stakeholders, specifically the non-state actors and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs). Nnadozie indicated that non-states actors have become a major player in development architecture that contributes in shaping the development agenda globally and locally. “For the Regional Economic Communities, MEFMI has been already involved in many initiatives. However, it would be more beneficial if MEFMI can provide a more structured support to these institutions so as to contribute in advancing regional integration in Africa,” he stated.
The grant to MEFMI will be administered within a two year period until 2016.