Message from the Director

What follows is the JVI’s training program for 2020, our 28th year of providing capacity building support to public sector economic institutions in the countries of Central, Eastern, Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, Iran, Turkey, and Central Asia. The JVI has worked hard to build strong institutions in the region for almost the entire three decades since the fall of the Berlin wall. The effect of this training is visible in terms of stronger economic policies and performance, as well as in terms of people. We are particularly proud of our alumni in the region, including many current and former government ministers, central bank governors, and other high-level policy makers.

There is a growing recognition in the policy community of the importance of mid-career, in-service training. People are living and working longer than ever, and it requires a continuing investment in human capital to ensure that the staff of public institutions can serve their taxpayers effectively. I am particularly grateful to the JVI’s Primary Members – the Austrian Ministry of Finance (BMF), the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – for steadfast support to JVI over more than a quarter century. I am also indebted to our Contributing Members – the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) – as well as the European Commission, for their support to the JVI over many years. I am particularly gratified by the fact they continue find Vienna and the JVI to be a convenient, cost-effective platform for capacity building in the region. In addition, JVI has benefited from its increasing cooperation with several bilateral partners, such as Deutsche Bundesbank, Banque de France, Bank of England, European Central Bank, the US Federal Reserve, the International Labor Organization, and others. 

Looking back at 2019. Demand for high quality training in our subject areas continues to grow. In 2019 we hosted 90 courses or events, comprising 124 course weeks, and the number of participant weeks spent at JVI was again well over 3000. Volume indicators can be misleading, but the qualitative feedback we receive from participants is candid and persuasive that training is important and effective. Comparison of pre- and post-course test scores reveals strong learning gains in our courses, while the loyalty and attachment to JVI shown by alumni is impressive. As one central bank deputy governor recently told me, “This is our school. We all grew up here, intellectually speaking.”

As in recent years, Austria and the IMF provided about three quarters of the training at the JVI in 2019, with contributions also coming from our many Contributing Members and other partners. Course participants continue to come from central banks (43 percent), ministries (33 percent), and other government institutions. The share of female participants remains solidly on par with that of their male counterparts.

I was pleased to welcome Vitor Gaspar, Director of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department and former Finance Minister in Portugal, to give the 2019 JVI Annual Lecture. The IMF’s annual high-level peer-to-peer workshop for central bankers from the Caucasus and Central Asia has become a highlight of our calendar; this year it featured Professor John Taylor among its speakers. At the same time, the number of public finance-related courses has increased in response to sustained demand. A number of courses at the JVI tackle issues related to inclusion and sustainable growth, while another key theme is support for European Union (EU) candidate and potential candidate countries. For the policy-oriented community in Vienna we hosted a growing number of public lectures with renowned guest speakers as well. 

Looking forward to 2020. We will again offer a wide variety of hands-on, policy-oriented training courses and workshops covering general macroeconomic issues; monetary, fiscal, financial, and structural policies; and many other specialized topics. These offerings reflect the vast scope and depth of expertise contributed by the JVI’s partner organizations. 

The IMF will again provide the bulk of our courses, including bread-and-butter macroeconomic offerings like Financial Programming and Policies and Macroeconomic Diagnostics, as well as more advanced topics like Fiscal Sustainability and Monetary and Fiscal Policy Analysis with DSGE Models. We are also looking forward to specialized IMF trainings like the February workshop on Gender Budgeting, an April course on Legal Aspects of Bank Supervision and Resolution, and a June course on Bank Restructuring and Resolution.

The Austrian authorities will deliver a substantial number of courses in 2020 as well, including Sound Fiscal Institutions, Financial Stability and Supervisory Stress Testing for Banking Systems and Public Governance and Structural Reforms, as well as several courses centered on supporting European economic integration. As in recent years, the Austrian Ministry of Finance and the IMF will jointly offer the extremely popular Tools and Policies for Inclusive Growth. 

Our Contributing Members – EBRD, EIB, OECD, World Bank, and WTO – will offer a number of courses of interest in their respective areas of expertise. I would also like to highlight the important role played by the European Commission as an Observer and as a contributor to courses on European integration, accession to the European Union, and structural reforms.

The JVI’s flagship course, Applied Economic Policy, targets promising young public officials who want an overview of key issues from several JVI partners. Structural Reforms will also rely on input from many of our Contributing Members and stakeholders. We plan a new offering on FinTech challenges, and we look forward to our growing partnership with the International Labour Organization for a course on The Future of Work. As in the past, we plan to join forces with partner central banks, these include the Deutsche Bundesbank (which will join us for a repeat of 2019’s very successful Monetary Policy Communications and other courses), the Bank of England, the US Federal Reserve, the Banque de France, and the European Central Bank (which collaborated with JVI and the World Bank in 2019 to offer courses on resolution strategies for non-performing loans and real estate economies).

Face-to-face training remains the core of the JVI’s activities, but we are also working with the IMF on an increasing number of online courses—see www.jvi.org and the IMF’s Smart Catalog. Successful completion of online courses boosts a participant’s selection chances for face-to-face courses in Vienna. In addition, JVI faculty of economists is extending JVI’s reach and visibility by also contributing to several regional and in-country capacity development programs led by the IMF or in collaboration with JVI partners. This includes a joint real estate analysis workshop with the ECB and the National Bank of Poland, which will take place in Warsaw in October. 

Looking further ahead. Time flies. It seems only yesterday that I wrote my first Director’s Report, and now to my astonishment this is my fourth and final one. My term at the JVI comes to an end in 2020, so I want to take this opportunity to thank the Austrian Authorities and in particular the BMF and OeNB, the IMF, our Contributing Members and donors (notably the central banks of the Czech Republic and Hungary), as well as our many other partner central banks and other organizations, for their continued intellectual and financial support to the JVI. Last, I have to thank the wonderful JVI team for being great colleagues and friends.

 

Thomas Richardson
Director, Joint Vienna Institute
September 2019

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