Feb 3, 2020

CEF - An Effective Platform for Knowledge Sharing

Ms. Peprone Margaryants from the Statistics Department at the Central Bank of Armenia shares her reflections on her learning experience at the CEF. She joined her peer colleagues from across SEE to discuss ways to improve the compilation and dissemination of high-quality monetary and financial statistics (MFS), harmonized with the latest international and European statistical standards.

I attended the workshop on Monetary, Balance Sheet Analysis, and Financial Statistics, organized by the Center of Excellence in Finance (CEF) in Ljubljana from September 30 to October 4, 2019. The workshop program was highly relevant to countries’ needs and priorities, as it was focused on the methodological and practical aspects of the compilation of and latest developments in monetary and financial statistics, balance sheets analysis and FinTech.

The importance of comprehensive, high-quality and timely macroeconomic and financial statistics became vital and key data gaps and the need for broader data sets were identified particularly in the aftermath of the recent global financial crisis, as highlighted by the G20 Data Gaps Initiative (DGI). As a result, key data outputs from the DGI have been incorporated in the IMF’s SDDS Plus that prescribes nine data categories, including OFC survey, sectoral balance sheets and debt securities. Overall improvements in macroeconomic and financial statistics will contribute to assessing economic developments and financial stability risks in a timely and accurate manner, supporting the formulation and implementation of sound economic and financial policies.

The workshop had a well-structured and rich content with a comprehensive overview, fairly in-depth covered topics and up-to-date information of the subject matter that illustrated the well-balanced and effective combination of lectures, practical exercises, country experiences and group work with follow-up discussions. The expert lecturers from the IMF Statistics Department and the central banks of Slovenia, Belgium and North Macedonia made a great effort and an outstanding job by presenting and sharing their expertise and country practices with the participants during a short period of time.

The lectures and best country practices enriched our professional expertise, deepened our understanding of the compilation processes and development of national financial accounts, and gave a broader picture of further steps underlining the importance of stronger cooperation and coordination of data producing agencies. Moreover, the workshop provided insights into new developments in technological innovations in the financial sector and the impact on monetary and financial statistics, especially taking into account the accelerating pace and growing widespread usage of fintech.

Currently, I am planning to draft a report on the compilation of financial accounts in Armenia, outlining the areas where steps need to be undertaken for further development. While the monetary and financial statistics in Armenia is broadly consistent with internationally accepted standards and good practices, and the OFC subsector is mainly covered, the development and compilation of complete financial accounts and balance sheets calls for more work to be done. Given the multifaceted character of those data sets, the progress towards compilation is challenging.

Taking into account the growing importance of constructing robust financial accounts, continued efforts are needed for enhancing coordination and greater internal consultations, and assessing own processes and areas that need to be improved by strengthening inter-agency collaboration among data producing agencies. Thus, setting priorities and designing action plans and timelines should be the primary objectives.

Overall, the workshop was designed, structured, organized and delivered perfectly and its productivity was due to the contribution and support of many people who turned this workshop into a smoothly running event with interesting presentations and a good atmosphere for discussions and networking. Organization of such an event involves tremendous amounts of time and energy, and indicates the professional approach of the CEF staff, particularly Ms. Nina Agić and Ms. Bensu Tulgar who gave us active support throughout the workshop. The CEF as a knowledge hub has formed an effective platform and a conducive atmosphere for sharing knowledge, expertise and best practices focused on the countries’ needs.

The established culture of sharing knowledge and best practices is powerful, as it strengthens capacity building, empowers collaborative problem-solving, supports regional cooperation, and promotes better economic policies. As a result, it can lead to stronger economic development and higher level of progress domestically and globally, consequently enabling the general public to thrive. International organizations, governments, central banks and other partner institutions clearly invest great effort and support in strengthening the capacity development of CEF member countries.”