The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has hailed the East African Community( EAC) for the steady progress it has made toward the establishment of the East African Monetary Union.
The statement came on the sidelines of meetings between EAC and IMF held during the Annual Meeting of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, DC, United State of America.
The annual meeting usually brings together central bankers, Ministers of Finance and Development, Parliamentarians, Private Sector executives, representatives from civil society organizations and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness.
The EAC Team led by Eng. Steven Mlote, the Deputy Secretary General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, Samuel Njuru, Senior Statistician, and Dr. Pantaleo Kessy, Principal Economist from the EAC Secretariat attended the meetings.
The EAC team held different bilateral meetings with the Deputy Director of Monetary and Capital Market (MCM) Department of the IMF, Christopher Erceg and the Deputy Director of the African Department (AFR) of the IMF, Madam Catherine Pattillo.
The EAC team also met with World Bank officials to discuss preparations for the Eastern Africa Regional Digital Integration Project (EARDIP).
Erceg commended the EAC for the progress made so far in integrating the region, adding that the MCM is committed to continuing providing support to the region in, among other things: the development of a harmonized monetary policy communication framework in the run-up to the East African Monetary Union; capacity development on macroeconomic analysis and forecasting in order to ensure sustainable capacity to operate the FPAS core models and produce medium-term forecasts
In addition, the IMF committed to supporting EAC on the harmonization of monetary policy operations and modernization of financial markets, including (i) developing harmonized framework for Standing Facility and Collateral Management; (ii) promoting cross-border trading of Government securities; and (iii) developing a harmonized framework for Market Makers for Government Securities
On his part, Eng. Mlote thanked the Deputy Director for the high level of commitment shown by the IMF staff, especially those from the African Department in providing the required Technical Assistance to the region.
Eng. Mlote also thanked the MCM for their support of the implementation of the East African Monetary Union (EAMU) roadmap, and in particular for supporting the EAC central banks in their efforts to adopt the forward-looking price-based monetary policy framework.
In a meeting with Catherine Pattillo, the Deputy Director in charge of the African Department (AFR), she re-affirmed IMF’s commitment to supporting the EAC integration, particularly in the following areas: (i) harmonization of regional Annual Public Financial Management (PFM) legislation and Fiscal Transparency (ii) capacity building on international tax treaties negotiation skills, harmonization of statistics as well as modernization and harmonization of monetary and exchange rate policies.
Pattillo hailed the progress made in the EAC integration agenda, specifically in the establishment of EAMU institutions, attainment of macroeconomic convergence criteria and coordination and harmonization of fiscal, monetary, and financial sector policies.
On his part, Eng. Mlote thanked the Deputy Director for the high level of commitment shown by the IMF staff, especially those from the African Department. He assured the Deputy Director that the IMF support has been very impactful to the EAC integration process and requested for continued support.
In the meeting with World Bank, the two parties discussed the status of the preparations for the Eastern Africa Regional Digital Integration Project (EARDIP). World Bank team presented an overview of the project and the priority activities to be implemented by the EAC.
The project is expected to offer an estimated grant of US$250 million, out of which US$230 million will be given directly to the Partner States and US$ 20 million to EAC Secretariat to facilitate Technical Assistance (TA) and capacity development.
The EAC Team also attended the “EAC Breakfast meeting” organized by the African Department of the IMF.
The meeting brought together Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from all EAC Partner States.