In June and July 2018, the JVI flagship Applied Economic Policies (AEP) course was offered for the 25th time. The course is a collaborative effort of the JVI, Austrian Ministry of Finance (BMF), Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and World Trade Organization (WTO). The goal is to give participants a comprehensive understanding of the many facets of economic policymaking, to reinforce their analytical skills, and to enable them to formulate effective economic policy recommendations and advice. It is taught by JVI economists and practitioners from the JVI’s sponsoring members who deal with their specialties every day.
The AEP course is targeted at younger staff members from the JVI catchment area who show high promise for future advancement in the public sector. In fact, a number of current and former ministers and central bank governors of JVI’s 31 target countries are AEP alumni!
This year, over seven weeks 30 participants from 17 countries explored macroeconomic concepts and policies, financial programming, financial sector issues, international trade policy, and characteristics of the Austrian and European political and economic systems. Course segments included lectures covering both practical and theoretical aspects of policy formulation, small-group workshops, case studies, and participant presentations. Fostering peer learning, sharing experiences from their home countries, and building lasting practitioners networks were as always integral objectives.
This year, an optional extra-curricular activity was a three-session gender awareness workshop in which participants not only pondered more general questions and experiences related to gender inequality but also explored the potential impact of various policy measures in their home countries (see accompanying article). The workshop was well-received, and the discussions were lively. The objective was to build awareness of issues related to gender inequality among both female and male participants.
The rigorous AEP course schedule was as usual complemented by a rich social and cultural program designed to foster team building and to allow course participants to experience the rich cultural offerings of JVI’s host country, Austria. A special highlight was an international dinner party to which participants themselves contributed numerous delicious home-made specialties from their national cuisines.
As in previous years, participant feedback on the course was overwhelmingly positive. Course participants appreciated how comprehensive the AEP was and the mix of teaching methods as well as the networking and peer learning opportunities. Some thought of it as a “life-long experience,” not least due to the deep connections formed among participants.
The AEP course, which began when the JVI was founded in the early 1990s, has evolved over the years. Once as long as six months, since 2016 it has been seven weeks long. Starting in 2019, the AEP will be shortened to five weeks in order to make it easier for country agencies to release critical staff for extended training. To this end, the segment on Financial Programming and Policies (FPP) will no longer be offered as part of the AEP. Instead, prospective AEP course applicants are encouraged to take advantage of the regular IMF FPP offerings, notably the self-paced online FPP offered by the IMF on the edX platform. A Russian-language version of this online course will be launched in November 2018.
Holger Flörkemeier, Deputy Director, JVI