Bangladesh joins regional capacity development centre | The Daily Star
12:46 PM, March 12, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:02 PM, March 12, 2016

Bangladesh joins regional capacity development centre

Bangladesh is going to be the part of a joint initiative to establish a regional body in South Asia to enhance skills and capacity development of public sector officials and bankers.

The initiative to set up South Asia Regional Training and Technical Assistance Centre (SARTTAC) was launched today by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and India at the opening of the conference ‘Advancing Asia: Investing for the Future’ in New Delhi.

IMF and the Indian government jointly hosted the conference.

Five countries Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka have agreed to be a part of the initiative.

“This will be the first centre that fully integrates training and technical assistance and is a model for our future capacity development work,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde at the programme at Taj Palace Hotel.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke at the opening session of the high level conference, stressing on Asia’s strong economic performance, its increased resilience to crisis, and the region’s ongoing economic policy challenges.

Senior officials, corporate executives, academics, and civil society representatives from more than 30 countries of Asia and the Pacific region took part in the programme.

The SARTTAC, to be based in New Delhi, is expected to become the focal point for planning, coordinating, and implementing the IMF’s capacity development activities in the region on a wide range of areas, including macroeconomic and fiscal management, monetary operations, financial sector regulation and supervision, and macroeconomic statistics, said the IMF.

The centre will also help address existing training needs and respond to the demand for IMF training in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, while bringing the region’s training volume on par with those of other regions, it added.

“It is the beginning of a good initiative. We will be the beneficiaries of the centre,” said Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman, who was present at the programme.

IMF and India also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the Centre.

Bangladesh also inked an MoU with India in this regard, said the governor, adding that the institution would be formed in six months.

The SARTTAC will offer courses and seminars for policymakers and other government agencies from the six countries, according to the IMF.

It will build upon the IMF’s in-depth experience with capacity development by drawing on the experiences of the IMF’s Regional Technical Assistance Centers and Regional Training Centres, which have a proven track record of delivering technical assistance on economic institution building, said IMF.

Funding will come from contributions by regional member countries and development partners. The Australian Agency for International Development, the Republic of Korea and India has pledged financial support for the Center, it added.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Saturday urged Asian nations to employ growth-friendly monetary and fiscal policies to counter challenges posed by a fragile global economy.

The call comes as policymakers the world over are struggling to revive their economies, which have been buffeted by slowing productivity and high debt.

Live: #AdvancingAsia conference

Central banks in Europe and Japan have resorted to negative interest rates to stimulate consumer demand and perk up worryingly low inflation. But the strategy has added to the volatility in the financial markets and raised the spectre of competitive currency devaluation.

The multilateral lender earlier this week warned of a further downgrade to the global growth outlook on increasing risks of economic derailment.

"What should be Asia's response?...It is safe to say that structural reforms are key - to boost competitiveness, growth, and jobs," Lagarde told a conference jointly hosted by the IMF in New Delhi.

In January, the IMF projected global growth of 3.4 percent and 3.6 percent in 2016 and 2017, respectively, having revised down its October forecast for both years by 0.2 of a percentage point.

The third downgrade in less than a year was triggered by China's worst slowdown in 25 years that has exposed vulnerabilities in the country's corporate and financial sector.

Lagarde said Beijing should improve credit allocation to rebalance the economy away from debt-fuelled investment.

The Daily Star is a media partner in the event.

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