Port Louis: The course on Economic Issues in Regional Integration organised by the IMF's Institute for Capacity Development (ICD) and the Regional Multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence (RMCE) took place from 18 to 29 June in Port Louis, Mauritius. The course's overall objective was to broaden the participants understanding of various aspects of economic and monetary integration. Twenty six participants, with a broad range of professional backgrounds, drawn from twelve African countries met in Port Louis to attend the course.
The course, consisting of lectures and workshops, was designed and presented by a team of economists from the IMF's ICD department and covered a wide range of topics including trade, economic, financial and monetary integration. The trainers discussed the costs and benefits of the implementation process and political economy aspects of integration. Participants used both theory and case studies to compare economic and monetary integration experiences worldwide, and to reflect in particular on integration processes underway in the African Regional Economic Communities.
The course was organised by the Regional Multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence (RMCE) which is a regionally owned training and advisory centre and a forum for dialogue on regional integration issues. The centre is based in Mauritius, hosted by the Government of Mauritius and financed in large part by the European Union via a grant of EUR 5.6 million signed between the EU and COMESA for the benefit of the RMCE.
MCE's Executive Director, Helen Mealins noted: “We are delighted the IMF has launched the inaugural presentation of this course in partnership with the RMCE and the European Union. This type of training, and the networking opportunities it offers, serves to support senior public policy makers, private sector executives and civil society leaders to accelerate economic growth and development in Africa. ”
In her remarks at the closing ceremony, the representative of the EU, Mrs Cecile Tassin-Pelzer, reiterated the European Union's commitment to support regional integration in the region: "We all know that regional integration is a fundamental pillar for peace and prosperity and for the wider integration into the world economy”.
The Regional Multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence (RMCE) serves as a capacity building and expertise hub for the regional economic communities of: the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); East African Community (EAC); Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD); Indian Ocean Commission (IOC); Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and their combined 28 Member Countries. RMCE's mandate also critically includes support to the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Process. The Centre commissions tailored short courses, seminars, peer learning events and conferences that directly address the regional integration challenges identified by these countries and organisations.
The Institute for Capacity Development (ICD) was launched by the International Monetary Fund on May 1, 2012 to spearhead its enhanced strategy for capacity-building services for its member countries. These capacity development efforts are aimed at helping member countries develop their skills base and build more robust economic and financial institutions. ICD, a new department incorporating the former IMF Institute and Office of Technical Assistance Management, will enable stronger synergies and better coordination between IMF technical assistance, training, and other elements of capacity development, to better adapt to member countries' priorities and needs.
In addition to delivering technical assistance and training services from its Washington, D.C. headquarters, the IMF supports capacity development in the field through a network of eight regional technical assistance centres and seven regional training centres.
The European Union is a long-standing supporter of the Eastern and Southern Africa-Indian Ocean region (ESA-IO). Its support is enshrined in the Regional Strategy Paper, which is the EU's programme for supporting regional integration in the Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean. Under the 10th European Development Fund (2008 - 2013), a financial envelope of EUR 645 million has been allocated to the ESA-IO to support regional economic integration, especially regional integration policies, trade and Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) with the EU and regional sector policies.
Programmes are identified and developed under the framework of the Inter-Regional Coordination Committee (IRCC) which was established to ensure the overall coordination within the ESA-IO region. The support of the EU reflects its strong commitment to regional integration in Africa as a whole, and this region in particular, as well as the faith in the ability of the above mentioned four regional organisations to progress with their integration agenda.
Together these organisations are working to build capacity in the private and public sectors, to address regional economic integration issues in Africa and the wider world.