WAIFEM Opens Financial Analysis Training for Journalists, Analysts

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Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Executive Governor Milton A. Weeks says the shortage of knowledgeable professionals in economic and financial analysis especially in the sub-region is a challenge that needs to be addressed.

Observing that individuals often assumed the ability and responsibility of analyzing and commenting on government’s economic and financial policies without understanding the basic economic theory underpinning the polices, which he said informs the adoption of such policies and planning for such projects and programs, Gov. Weeks said “This sometimes results either in under-reporting or over-reporting of government policies and programs.”

He made the remarks yesterday when he delivered the keynote address at the opening of a weeklong regional workshop on Economic and Financial Analysis that is currently held under the auspices of the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), held at the Central Bank of Liberia.

Weeks reiterated the CBL’s promise to provide knowledge enhancement programs to help the country’s economic journalists as well as Legislative support staff toward enhancing capacity in economic and financial analysis in the media.

Gov. Weeks, who also currently chairs WAIFEM’s Board of Governors, stressed the need for the participants to report timely, accessible and quality data for economic and financial analysis and policy implementation of the sector.

Governor Weeks said these principles are needed in several key financial areas, such as the gross domestic product (GDP), inflation and unemployment rates, external and the financial sectors.

As for the lessons learnt from the recent global financial and economic crises, Governor Weeks recalled the support to the provision of data by borrowing countries to meet standards for dissemination of data.

He added: “National statistical agencies should enhance provision of comprehensive economic and financial data, and aggregated risk exposure information of financial institutions made public,” noting that such reliable data would form the bedrock for economic and financial analysis.

Professor Akpan H. Ekpo, WAIFEM Director General, commended the Liberian government and the CBL for hosting the workshop, and expressed the hope that participants will utilize the knowledge acquired to enhance their skills in economic and financial analysis. He said WAIFEM was established as a collaborative sub-regional capacity building organization in July 1996 by the Central Banks of the five Anglophone countries of West Africa, namely: The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

WAIFEM’s mission is to develop, on a sustainable basis, expertise in the fields of Macroeconomic, Debt and Financial Management among the staff of central banks, ministries of finance and economic planning and other public sector bodies with core economic management responsibilities, he said.

It also has the mandate to conduct research and consultancy in macroeconomic policy management and promotion of best practices.
So far, the institute has successfully executed 431 courses since its inception, and these have benefited more than 12,112 participants from the sub-region and beyond.

Prof. Ekpo said WAIFEM has also established collaborative arrangements with world class training organizations and capacity building institutions to ensure best practices in the delivery of its programs.

The weeklong workshop is spearheaded by senior financial and banking executives of central banks from member countries. Participating are journalists, as well as economic and financial analysts from central banks in the Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra-Leone and Liberia.

WAIFEM is now coordinated through a governing board of the six central banks that constitute the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The training is currently ongoing at the CBL auditorium and is expected to come to close on Wednesday, October 26.

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