Griffith University has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Central Bank of Timor-Leste (CBTL). This makes it the fifith agreement with the South Pacific central banks. Existing MoUs are with the central banks of Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The agreements are geared towards developing capacity for research and policy formulation at the region’s central banks.

The “research to policy” developing capacity program, facilitated by the South Pacific Centre for Central Banking (SPCCB), endeavours to “entrench rigour and evidence in economic policy making at the South Pacific central banks through research, training and policy outreach”. In witnessing the signing of the MoU, SPCCB’s founding Program Convenor, Dr Parmendra Sharma, commented that “the program is unique for universities and central banks and that a similar program would be very hard to find elsewhere in the world”.

The program covers a wide range of research-related activities, including joint working papers, journal publications, in-house central bank seminars, annual regional conferences, training, research grant application, etc. The program not only has strong support of the central banks but also several stakeholders such as DFAT, RBA, RBNZ, ADB, WB, IFC, IMF and others. Among others, these stakeholders participate at the regional conferences as panellists, moderators, speakers and otherwise.

“The inclusion of CBTL in the program is a significant milestone”, notes Professor Caitlin Byrne, the Director of Griffith Asia Institute, where SPCCB is housed.

“CBTL brings enormous significance for regional banking collaboration, capacity building and policy impact.”

CBTL will join the region’s other central banks in producing and publishing research policy working papers jointly with Griffith from 2020. Griffith’s role involves mentoring, guiding, coaching as well as co-authorship.