A regional training programme to empower officials from West African nations with skills in project appraisal and economic management commenced in Abuja on Monday.
The programme, organised by the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM), has 35 participants from financial institutions across English speaking West African countries including Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone and will last for a week.
Okon Umoh, a senior programme manager, who represented the Director-General of WAIFEM, Akpan Ekpo, explained the importance of the event.
“A project as an investment activity upon which resources-costs-are expended to create capital assets that will produce benefits over an extended period of time must logically lend itself to planning, financing and implementation. However it is difficult to accurately estimate the quantum of resources required for a project because of uncertainty of happenings in the future. So also are the benefits that are likely to accrue as a fallout of a project.
“Project appraisal assists in ensuring that projects are properly managed through the application of adequate financial and monitoring systems, provision of contingency plans to deal with risky developments, and the provision of guideposts for the evaluation of progress. Project appraisal is, therefore, central to the effective management of projects. Project appraisal refers to the process of assessing in a structured way, the case for proceeding with a project.
“It is a systematic and comprehensive review of economic, environmental, financial, social, technical and other aspects of a project to determine if it is feasible to undertake. It often involves comparing various options, using economic appraisal or some other decision analysis technique,” he said.
In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES after the opening ceremony, Mr Okon said WAIFEM has trained over 16,000 participants since its inception and that this training hopes to ”enhance macroeconomic management, financial sector management, and debt management”.
“This course is run under the macroeconomic management department of WAIFEM and our focus is to enhance participants understanding on knowledge in project appraisal to enable them have the skills to manage their economies better,” he said.