Monday, September 12
Carla Grasso, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), visited the Joint Vienna Institute (JVI) on September 12, 2016, to talk about IMF capacity development activities and exchange views with course participants and JVI staff. Ms. Grasso’s visit was the third in a series of high-level representatives of JVI Primary Members over the past few months, following the Annual Lecture by the Austrian Minister of Finance Hans Jörg Schelling and a visit of IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in June.
After a short introduction by Thomas Richardson, JVI Director, Ms. Grasso began by noting that IMF capacity development is not as widely recognized compared to the IMF’s two other core mandates, surveillance and lending. IMF capacity development, i.e., technical assistance and training focused on economic institution building and related human capacity development needs, has been growing rapidly in recent years, driven by member country demand.
At the JVI, capacity development is a joint effort, and Ms. Grasso expressed gratitude to the Austrian Authorities and the JVI’s other international partners for their steadfast financial support and intellectual leadership. The JVI has had wide-ranging impact—since 1992, some 25,000 public sector officials from over 30 countries have participated in JVI courses. Moreover, as of December 2015, 19 current governors and ministers from the JVI target region—and one president—had attended courses at the JVI.
Ms. Grasso noted that success stories of IMF capacity development could be found worldwide. For instance, IMF technical assistance helped Nicaragua to prepare to tap international capital markets for the first time, supported the efforts of the central bank of Uganda to modernize its monetary policy and boost financial stability, and was instrumental in helping Nepal to create a Single Treasury Account to facilitate timely and transparent reporting of budget data.
She also emphasized that capacity development will continue to evolve in response to developments in economic policy and learning about best practices among IMF members. The IMF Institute for Capacity Development (ICD) has been revamping its curriculum to streamline and update its course portfolio. Training has become more interactive, with more workshops and hands-on applications, and online training has become an integral part of the ICD curriculum.
Strengthening capacity-building activities also requires the effective monitoring of results and outcomes. The IMF, Ms. Grasso said, has been updating its results-based management framework to cover all IMF technical assistance and training activities in a comprehensive and unified fashion. This will help ensure that IMF capacity development is cost effective, of high quality, and results focused.
The discussion that followed touched upon the role of online learning; how the IMF should incorporate new topics—such as climate change, gender issues, or income inequality—into the training curriculum; and how the IMF cooperates with other international organizations and academia in building capacity.
Adam Gersl, Senior Economist, JVI