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MISSUE NO. 3616  

April 19 - 24, 2013

 

 Coastweek   Kenya


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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

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Central Bank commend excellent
I.M.F. regional technical center

Member countries acknowledged that they
needed to play their role more effectively to
enhance East AFRITAC’s overall performance

SPECIAL REPORT BY XINHUA CORRESPONDENT Chrispinus Omar

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s central bank CBK commends the overall track record of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Regional Technical Assistance Center for East Africa (East AFRITAC) which he said has scaled up activities in the region. 

CBK Governor Professor Njuguna Ndung’u on Monday said AFRITAC has scaled up its support for member countries over the past year and continues to deliver high-quality capacity building that is relevant and effective.

“I wish to commend the overall track record of East AFRITAC and its contributions to the achievements of its member countries in building their institutional capacity and implementing effective reforms,” Ndung’u told East AFRITAC’s Steering Committee meeting in Naivasha, about 90 km southwest of Nairobi.

According to the statement released by the CBK late on Monday, the meeting reviewed recent activities, endorsed the work plan for the financial year to April 2014 (FY 2014), and discussed an external evaluation of the Center’s work.

Officials from six of the seven member countries attended together with representatives from Canada, Germany, and Switzerland and IMF staff.

During the meeting, Ndung’u stressed the critical support of East AFRITAC in Kenya’s implementation of recent public financial management reforms that followed the adoption of a new constitution, and East AFRITAC’s role in CBK’s successful implementation of consolidated bank supervision.

He praised the Center’s flexibility and demand-driven approach, and looked forward to further effective contributions in helping member countries face new challenges.

Kenya’s Treasury Economic Secretary Dr. Geoffrey Mwau and the Chairperson of East AFRITAC’s Steering Committee, and Xavier Maret, the Center Coordinator issued a joint statement at the end of the meeting, expressing satisfaction with the scaling up of East AFRITAC’s capacity building activities and the successful execution of the work plan in FY 2013 (May 1, 2012–April 30).

They commended East AFRITAC for the results that have been achieved and for the progress in strengthening donor coordination, outreach, and dissemination of technical assistance (TA) advice.

Milestones achieved in FY 2013 include the effective implementation of consolidated bank supervision and passing of a new public Financial Act in Kenya, updates in national accounts methodologies and price indexes in several member countries, and the introduction of high-frequency indicators of economic activities in Rwanda and Uganda.

“Further steps have been achieved in restructuring and modernizing tax administrations, strengthening cash management, implementing program-based budgeting, and improving public finance reporting across the region,” the statement said.

East AFRITAC’s regional workshops focused on frontier issues, such as mobile payments, and technical assistance activities were complemented by courses run by the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development on monetary and exchange rate policy and economics of monetary integration.

The committee welcomed progress in the implementation of a results-based management framework and acknowledged the challenges faced by East AFRITAC in scaling up further its activities, such as turnover of resident advisors which needs to be addressed to enhance effectiveness, the need for further strengthening of collaboration with member countries, and management of short-term experts.

It provided guidance in addressing these challenges and making further progress in results-based management.

The committee also emphasized the critical importance of enhanced support to member countries in the area of statistics. Member countries acknowledged that they needed to play their role more effectively to enhance East AFRITAC’s overall performance.

“The Steering Committee endorsed the work plan for FY 2014, which reflects continuity and follow up activities for many ongoing technical assistance projects, as well as new projects, such as implementation of individual capital requirements for banks under the Basel II framework.”

The Center has effectively built on the achievements of previous phases and delivered “technical assistance that is of excellent quality, high relevance and strongly owned by its member countries”.

A number of ongoing initiatives, such as the introduction of results-based management, are viewed as important means to strengthen East AFRITAC’s effectiveness by enabling better definition and planning of activities, as well as improved tracking of results.

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Kenya urged to invest more in ICT engineering

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A global engineering body on Tuesday called on Kenya to invest in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to take the East African nation to the next level.

President of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics (IEEE) Engineering Peter Staecker told journalists in Nairobi that Kenya should invest more in faculty development to make teaching more attractive as well as in alternative approaches to learning, including the use of massively open online courseware and interactive classroom environment.

“IEEE is in the early stages of identifying how it can best play a role in supporting the development of engineering capacity in Africa and, more specifically Kenya. The financial and human resource investment will be sized according to what is needed for IEEE to help Africa and Kenya accomplish its goals,” Staecker told journalists in Nairobi.

Staecker said innovation is a driver of economic prosperity, adding that Kenya’s reliance on modernization to achieve its digital vision will be crucial.

He said Kenya has the promise of a talent harvest that can leverage technology to grow a knowledge economy, inspire innovation, and improve quality of life for Kenya’s people while also enhancing the country’s economic prosperity IEEE can help Kenya mission.

“We can help by providing technology professionals with events content, tools and educational resources to do their work. IEEE can also connect these professionals to a larger global community of innovators,” said Staecker who is on a five-day visit to Kenya.

He said as an organization of individual members who actively participate in a global technology community, IEEE, instead of focusing on relationships between countries, centers on enabling knowledge transfer and acquisition by its members to support their efforts to discover, develop and deliver technology for collective benefit.

Saying that they have come to Africa and particularly to Kenya to observe, listen and learn more about how IEEE can contribute to building engineering capacity and developing future workforce of innovative and contributing professionals, Staecker said Africa is poised for tremendous strides in ICT and all technology related areas.

“It is an exciting time for Kenya, a time of great promise and possibility, and if IEEE can play a role in helping Kenya to maximize those possibilities, we welcome the opportunity.”

IEEE Staff Executive Matt Loeb said for over 40 years, IEEE has brought acceleration of engineering and has supported a number of activities in technology transfer to improve quality of life and intoned that the involvement of women in engineering has been really good.

“On average percentage, women in engineering constitute 15 percent and rising slowly each year. Demand for engineering varies from country to country but commonly being produced with proper training to do the job. Education is the number one issue,” Loeb said.

The chairman of the Kenya Section of IEEE Vincent Kaabunga said the local chapter has taken advantage of the parent organization’s magnanimity to form a chapter for women to drive support of more women in innovation.

The institute is the world’s largest professional association advancing technology for the benefit of humanity with a membership of over 400,000 in more than 160 countries, about half of whom are based in the United States.    

In February, Kenya launched a policy document that will guide the country’s ICT direction in the next five years.

The three pillars of the master plan will establish Kenya as a leading African ICT hub; to establish robust accessible and affordable ICT infrastructure; and delivery of open and efficient government delivering value through ICT.

The master plan is focusing on connecting every Kenyan to the internet by “guaranteeing every Kenyan 1 Mbps of connectivity” and hopes to register more than 500 new companies, create over 50,000 jobs in the sector and have every homestead connected to high speed and affordable internet over the next few years.

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