IMF Lauds Strong Partnership with Austria on Capacity Development

SUMMARY

Developing economic policymaking capacity in its member countries is one of the IMF’s most critical jobs—and a key means of preventing crises, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in Vienna, Austria.

 
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  • Joint Vienna Institute is a leading regional center for building policymaking capacity
  • More than 20,000 public sector officials have taken its courses since 1992
  • Basic goal is to help improve economic policies, institutions, and outcomes
  • Speaking to course participants at the Joint Vienna Institute (JVI), the oldest of the IMF’s regional training centers established with partners, Lagarde said that the IMF’s efforts to build macroeconomic policymaking capacity in its members is less well known than other aspects of its work, such as lending and surveillance. Spanning a period of years, capacity development rarely makes headlines.

    But cultivating a country’s capacity through training and technical assistance is crucial to bring about more favorable economic outcomes.

    “Building the human capital to develop and implement sound policies for sustainable growth is one of the IMF’s most important functions,” Lagarde told about 60 participants in two ongoing JVI courses during her visit. “If we get it right, lending in crisis situations may be less often needed.”

    Joint effort

    The JVI—funded jointly by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB), and the IMF—was created 24 years ago to assist countries in the region, including the former Soviet Union, with their transition from planned to market economies. It offers an extensive array of courses of a hands-on, applied nature on macroeconomic policy formulation and management and related topics.

    During her visit, Lagarde thanked the Austrian authorities and the JVI’s international partners for their generous financial and intellectual support as well as the JVI’s staff for their dedication and commitment. “Our cooperation has been immensely successful,” she said.

    This success is borne out in the numbers. The JVI delivers about 70-80 courses each year, and since its founding, more than 20,000 public sector officials have participated, many of them visiting the JVI several times, resulting in an overall training volume of close to 40,000 course participants. They are mostly from central banks and ministries of finance from 30 target countries in the JVI region.

    The JVI has fostered the development of strong networks across the region, with many alumni in senior government positions and close to twenty currently serving as Governor or Minister.

    Innovation is key

    Innovation in training is key, Lagarde emphasized. As the global economy evolves, so too do...

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