This paper presents a description of the IMF and its activities, focusing in particular on its technical assistance (TA) activities. The report then describes in greater detail the Japan Administered Account for Selected Fund Activities (JSA)—including its objectives, size, scope, and use, as well as assessments of its activities, with a focus on fiscal year (FY) 2007—and the TA activities and scholarship programs that it finances. The IMF’s technical assistance is delivered mainly by its Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD), Monetary and Capital Markets Department (MCM), and Statistics Department (STA). Japan provides grant contributions for two scholarship programs. In 1996, the Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Advanced Studies, which is administered by the IMF Institute, was established. JSA resources can be used to cover the cost of short- and long-term TA experts and other costs associated with conducting seminars and workshops, such as room rental fees. Although TA activities financed by the JSA can take place in all areas of the world, the Japanese authorities place high priority on funding TA activities in Asia and the Pacific, Central Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and countries of the former Soviet Union.
The IMF, an international organization of currently 185 member countries, was established in 1946 to promote international monetary cooperation, exchange stability, and orderly exchange arrangements; to provide temporary financial assistance to countries with balance of payments difficulties; and to foster economic growth and high levels of employment. To achieve these objectives, the IMF carries out three types of operational activities: surveillance, financial assistance, and technical assistance.
The IMF began to provide technical assistance to its member countries in the early 1960s in response to requests from newly independent nations in Africa and Asia. By the mid-1980s, resources devoted to technical assistance had nearly doubled. As a result of the expansion of the IMF’s membership and the adoption of market-oriented economies by a large number of countries worldwide, IMF TA activities grew even more rapidly in the early 1990s. The demand increased further in the late 1990s as significant TA resources had to be directed to countries hit by financial crisis. In addition, in recent years, the IMF has had to mount significant efforts to provide prompt policy advice and operational assistance to countries emerging from conflict situations. In FY2007 the IMF devoted some 438 person years to TA activities—an increase of more than 13 person years from FY2006 and over 140 person years more than a decade ago.5 The delivery of IMF technical assistance over the period FY2000–FY2007 is shown in Figure 1.
Japan has provided grant contributions to support the IMF’s technical assistance to member countries since 1990. In 1997, the scope of the administered account was widened to allow for financing of other IMF activities in Asia and the Pacific, carried out through the IMF Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Tokyo.
In 1990, Japan agreed to provide financial support for IMF technical assistance to its member countries to strengthen their capacity to formulate, implement, and maintain macroeconomic and structural adjustment programs. Since then, Japan has been, and continues to be, the largest contributor to the IMF’s technical assistance (TA) activities.1 Japan’s contributions are provided through the Japan Administered Account for Selected Fund Activities (JSA).2 In addition, Japan finances two scholarship programs—one under the JSA and the other under a separate account, the Subaccount for Japan Advanced Scholarship Program.
The Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Asia is a program for graduate studies in macroeconomics or related fields at several leading universities in Japan. The objective of the program is to contribute to institutional capacity building of transition and developing economies, by providing educational opportunities to promising junior officials in central banks or in ministries of finance, economy, or planning in East and Central Asia and the Pacific region.14