Overseas aid pays dividends

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THE future of a highly acclaimed international development programme has been secured thanks to renewed support from the government’s International Development Committee.

Formerly the Overseas Aid Committee, it will remain as the main sponsor of the Small Countries Financial Management Programme (SCFMP) and has committed £300,000 a year for three years.

It covers the cost of delivering an annual two-week programme which brings together officials from finance ministries, central banks and regulatory bodies in small developing countries for a learning experience designed to stimulate fresh approaches to the challenges they and their countries face.

Since its launch by island charity, the Small Countries Financial Management Centre (SCFMC), in 2009, 98 senior finance officials in the Caribbean, Pacific, Africa, and other regions, have completed it.

International Development Committee chairman Phil Gawne MHK said: ‘This approach reinforces our aim of providing nations with the resources and knowledge they need to help themselves, and strengthens the Isle of Man’s reputation as an internationally responsible and co-operative nation.’

SCFMC executive director Tim Cullen said: ‘Improving the capacity of small nations to manage their own financial sectors constitutes one of the most effective uses of overseas development funding, and we hope other countries will follow the island’s positive lead.’

In September, an independent evaluation rated the SCFMP as excellent in the areas of relevance, effectiveness and efficiency.

In the area of sustainability it was rated as modest, with concerns it was ‘not yet on a firm financial footing’.

Mr Cullen said in the longer term, the aim was to raise a further £400,000 a year, for activities endorsed by the evaluation, including annual regional ‘implementation/follow-up’ workshops. It would also enable him to move into an unpaid senior advisory role and appoint a paid executive director.

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