News Column

'Over 13, 800 Officials Benefit From Waifem Programmes'

August 5, 2014

Bekai Njie

The director general of the West African Institution for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) has disclosed that over 13,800 officials from the central banks, ministries of Finance, statistics offices, national parliaments, mass media and other public private sector agencies, as well as civil society organisations across West Africa have benefited from the institution's numerous capacity building programmes since inception in 1996.

Professor Akpan H. Ekpo was speaking Monday morning at a local hotel in Banjul during an official opening ceremony of a regional course on Productivity Enhancement for Executive Assistants and Personal Secretaries of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of WAIFEM member countries.

Organised by the WAIFEM in collaboration with the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), the course, among other things, was designed to build the capacities of these participants with the critical knowledge and skills necessary for effective and enhanced job performances.

Participants are expected to cover techniques of management and impact of change in today's organisation, office administration, leadership in office management and planning and goal setting among others. Akpan said WAIFEM's outreach programmes have now expanded to include countries in East, Central, Northern, Southern-Africa and Latin-American.

"In pursuit of our mandate and to ensure high standards in our programmes, we collaborate with relevant global, regional and national capacity building organisations with a view to promoting the adoption of contemporary best practices in the field of macroeconomic, debt and financial sector management," he disclosed.

Some of the gains in the capacity building on the global stage, he outlined, included the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Institute and its statistic department, the World Bank and African Development Banks, amongst others. He informed that two years ago WAIFEM established a business development unit to build the capacity of the private sector as well.

The WAIFEM DG explained that the course on the productivity enhancement has become increasingly popular because of the urgent need to bring to the fore the important support role of secretaries and personal assistants in institutions and governments given the highly demanding and busy schedules of the CEOs.

He pointed out that the course will enable participants to learn and understand the roles, duties and responsibility of the executive assistants/secretaries, personal assistants and senior secretaries, and boost their knowledge and skills in office administration and management essential for the effective discharge of their responsibilities.

"This course will help develop and upgrade interpersonal skills for office management; and update their knowledge of latest office technologies," Akpan assured.

The second deputy governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, Oumie Samba-Savage at the meeting, described the participants as essential part of the workforce in all organisations providing critical role support to the executives.

"In the past, the role of the secretary was limited to typing using a typewriter, answering telephone calls and taking notes. The secretary was seen as a person employed to take orders, write letters, carry out dispatches and keep records. The expectations were all about the critical aspects of secretarial work and this was the job description that floated around up to the 1970," she stated.

Samba-Savage further explained that over time, the expectations of executive assistants have changed a great deal, and their roles and responsibilities in organisations have also evolved. While the clerical component is still an essential part of what executive assistants do, she said, routine secretarial duties are low in priority and much more is expected from them today.

The CBG top economist opined that some of the key expectations from the modern executive assistants could include good knowledge of the business; the value and importance of knowing the working environment and exceptional organisational skills; entailing the ability to balance diaries and commitments for the executive, amongst a host of others.

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Source: AllAfrica

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