The island gains a raised profile in the rest of the world and it costs us nothing extra, that’s the view of the Chief Minister on the Small Countries Financial Management Programme.
The scheme, which helps small nations around the world, has been running for a number of years now and the latest one is about to be launched, welcoming 24 participants from as far afield as the Caribbean, Africa, the Pacific and Indian Ocean, for the start of the seventh round of lectures and seminars.
Allan Bell said the government budgeted around £3 million per year in its international development budget which funds the programme.
‘So it’s not costing us any more than it would anyway,’ he said.
‘This is just more targeted and offers the countries long term benefits. One of the benefits to us is the political kudos that we get out of it. It’s not just third world countries, but those that have been beset by war, for example,’ he said.
‘They go away with warm feelings for the Isle of Man and that helps to show us in a positive light around the world.’
The education programme started yesterday, (July 6) and aims to promote the growth and prosperity of small state economies by helping them to build their expertise in government financial administration. The plan is to give the participants a more powerful voice on the internationl stage by improving their negotiating skills and knowledge of best practice in areas such as rsk assessment, debt and cash managment and regulatory collaboration. In some instances the countries have populations of perhaps only 40 or 50,000 people and lack the expertise of a larger jurisdiction.
The government supports the SCMP in conjunction with the World Bank, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Small States Network for Economic Development and Oxford University. Funding is provided from the International Development Committee of the Council of Ministers.
The island charity the Small Countries Financial Management Centre is responsible for the organisation of the programme which involves some of the world’s leading practitioners and professors.
The experts use real life case studies to demonstrate how other small countries can tackle common challenges.
Mr Bell was instrumental in launching the Small Countries Financial Management Programme in 2009 when he was Treasury Minister.
Mr Bell said: ‘The Isle of Man’s own economic journey from a declining tourist resort with increasing unemployment and emigration into a flourishing international business centre has really struck a chord with participants. We have experienced and overcome a number of challenges that are currently being faced by other small nations.
‘The programme provides small developing countries with something that was not previously available to them. In a constantly changing world, this example of friendship and mutual support is an encouraging reminder of what can be achieved when countries work together.’
Participants in the SCFMP, representing regulatory bodies, central banks and ministries of finance has started an intensive fortnight of study at the Nunnery in Douglas before switching to Oxford for the final week.