The Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Asia is a program for graduate studies in macroeconomics or related fields at various universities in Japan. The program is aimed at promising, young officials in central banks or in ministries of finance, economy, or planning in the Asia, Central Asia, and Pacific regions.9 The program, which is operated under the JSA, offers 12- and 24-month scholarships and is in the process of being expanded from the previous 25 scholarships per year to about 50 scholarships each year. For the academic year 2002, 31 scholarships were awarded.10 There are two forms of scholarships. Scholars accepted under the “partnership track” participate in specially designed courses offered by one of four participating universities,11 while the “open track” is available to candidates who have already been accepted to a graduate-level program in macroeconomics or a related field at any leading university in Japan. The program is currently administered by the IMF’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Tokyo.
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 technical assistance activities grew even more rapidly in the early 1990s. The demand increased further in the late 1990s as significant technical assistance 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. Currently, the IMF devotes some 350 person years to technical assistance activities, plus some $10 million for training and scholarships annually.5 The delivery of IMF technical assistance over the period FY1998–FY2003 is shown in Figure 1.
The IMF, an international organization of currently 184 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.
Japan has provided grant contributions to support the IMF’s technical assistance to member countries since 1990. In 1997, the administered account was amended in order to widen the scope of activities for which contributions could be made to finance other IMF activities in Asia and the Pacific carried out through its Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Tokyo.
This paper discusses Fiscal Year 2003 Annual Report for Japan Administered Account for Selected IMF Activities (JSA). The report consists of a brief description of the IMF and its activities, with a particular focus on its technical assistance activities. It provides greater detail with regard to the JSA and the scholarship programs. It also describes the objectives, size and scope, and use with a focus on fiscal year 2003. The report highlights that in FY2003, JSA financing accounted for 18 percent of total IMF technical assistance, 33 percent of the assistance delivered in the field, and 66 percent of the total external financing.
In 1990, Japan agreed to provide financial support for the IMF’s 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 also finances two scholarship programs, one under the JSA and the other under a separate account, the “Subaccount for Japan Advanced Scholarship Program.”
This chapter presents policy statement on IMF technical assistance (TA) programs. The TA programs provide a cooperative framework for the sharing of knowledge and international experience, in a lasting manner, with member countries. The IMF seeks to provide technical assistance as efficiently and effectively as possible in its core substantive areas of competency namely macroeconomic policy formulation and management among others. Technical assistance is provided in a variety of forms. These include IMF staff missions from headquarters; the placement of experts for periods ranging from a few months to a few years. Technical assistance is provided only when requested by a country's authorities. Since the demand for such assistance normally exceeds the resources available from the IMF, a number of considerations are considered in prioritizing country requests. The IMF encourages member countries who have not yet done so to consider providing such complementary financial support to enhance the resources available for technical assistance, preferably in a manner that is as unrestricted as possible.
In accord with the IMF’s first Article of Agreement, the objective of the IMF’s technical assistance 1 program is to contribute to the development of the productive resources of member countries by enhancing the effectiveness of economic policy and financial management. The IMF’s technical assistance program works to achieve this objective in two ways. First, much of the IMF’s technical assistance seeks to support the efforts of members to strengthen their capacity—in both human and institutional resources—to formulate and implement sustainable, growth-oriented and poverty-reducing macroeconomic, financial, and structural policies. Second, the IMF assists countries in the design of appropriate macroeconomic and structural policy reforms, taking account of the lessons learned by other countries in addressing similar economic policy concerns. In both ways, IMF technical assistance provides a cooperative framework for the sharing of knowledge and international experience, in a lasting manner, with member countries.