IMF Managing Director’s Remarks at the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Mongolia Regional Capacity Development Center (CCAMTAC) Opening Ceremony

14


Thank you, Norbert. Honorable Governor Pirmatov, Executive Directors, Distinguished Guests,

I am delighted to welcome all of you to CCAMTAC! Our Caucasus, Central Asia, and Mongolia Regional Capacity Development Center.

We’re opening this Center to support our members across this diverse and dynamic region of close to 100 million people, as they navigate a range of economic opportunities and challenges. In areas spanning fiscal, monetary, and financial policy, and statistics, CCAMTAC will help members build stronger policies and institutions that foster inclusive growth.

What are the Center’s benefits? I see three big ones:

First, it provides direct, easy-to-access capacity development resources to the region, building on and complementing existing technical assistance and training from headquarters, the Joint Vienna Institute, the Singapore Training Institute for Mongolia, and other regional training centers.

Local access is so important because the region’s demand for capacity development services has been growing. This includes demand on traditional topics such as macroeconomic forecasting and policy scenario analysis, and new topic areas like central bank digital currencies and transitioning to a greener economy.

While the virtual tools that advanced so much during the pandemic have brought tremendous benefits, there’s no substitute for coming together and working in person.

Second, CCAMTAC helps its members learn from each other. It is a platform for peer learning that is needed in this region. We need this for issues such as climate and digitalization that are too complex and fast-moving for one country or institution to solve alone. So, we need to share our experiences openly and learn from each other.

This cooperation also brings another benefit—the third one I want to highlight: it helps us counter geo-economic fragmentation. Bringing together countries with common challenges, bilateral partners committed to their development, and global institutions such as the IMF fosters mutual understanding. That can help them avoid policies that seek short-term advantage at the cost of neighbors—and everyone’s future prosperity.

And let me mention one more benefit: the Center strengthens cooperation within each country. This helps the central bank, ministries, and agencies achieve greater policy coherence.

Given all these benefits, you can imagine that we have been awaiting this moment—the Center’s physical opening—with great anticipation. The video we just saw gave us a glimpse of the extraordinary work that had been done to set up CCAMTAC during the pandemic.

Staff had to be recruited remotely. Regional advisors worked from overseas. And the team here fought through supply chain disruptions to finish this beautiful space just a few months ago, allowing us to cut the ribbon today. Bravo to everyone whose hard work made this possible! We can’t thank you enough.

The opening of CCAMTAC could not have happened without the involvement and commitment of all member countries, including the host country and our development partners.

In December 2020, Mr. Dossaev, at the time Governor of the NBK and now mayor of Almaty, and I, gave a strong push to the project. Kazakhstan is contributing more than 40 percent of the Center’s first five-year budget.

CCAMTAC’s success will depend on the full commitment and ownership of all its member countries. Uzbekistan, Armenia, and Georgia have already contributed. Azerbaijan’s agreement has just been finalized. And the other regional members have told me they are enthusiastic about the Center, so I’m optimistic that they will contribute as well.

We are equally grateful to our bilateral partners Switzerland, Russia, China, Korea, the United States, the Asian Development Bank and Poland for supporting the Center. Discussions with the European Commission are advanced as well, and we hope that other partners will join over time.

And I would like to thank our dedicated IMF staff and Marcel Peter, Executive Director at the IMF. Far too many people have been involved to name them all at this occasion, but some of them are here today.

Please let me mention in the name of their respective teams Jihad Azour, the Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department and Dominique Desruelle, the Director of the Institute for Capacity Development. And of course, Norbert Funke, CCAMTAC’s first director.

I am confident that CCAMTAC will make a very strong contribution to capacity building in the region to support sustainable and inclusive economic development.

Thank you.

Source: International Monetary Fund