The CEF, which is funded by the Government of Kuwait, began operations in 2011. It organizes and leads courses for officials from Arab League member countries at its offices in Kuwait. These courses are delivered in collaboration with the IMF Institute as well as the Finance, Fiscal Affairs, Legal, Monetary and Capital Markets, Research, and Statistics Departments, and other organizations, such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The primary purpose of the CEF is to build up regional skills in economic analysis and diagnosis and in formulating and implementing effective economic and financial policies. The IMF is the principal training provider for the CEF in macroeconomic and financial management. Training outside IMF core areas of expertise is delivered by other organizations. Pursuant to its objective of collaborating closely with other institutions in the region, each year the CEF conducts several joint training courses with the Arab Monetary Fund in the United Arab Emirates and other Arab countries, and with Bank Al-Maghrib in Rabat, Morocco. Courses are offered in Arabic or English (generally with interpretation into Arabic). The CEF also holds conferences, symposia, and seminars to foster general discussion of pressing economic policy challenges facing the Arab world.
Participation in courses is mainly by application. For courses open only by invitation candidates are nominated by government agencies upon receipt of an invitation letter from the CEF Director.
Candidates from international agencies and advanced regional countries who apply to attend IMF training events, if accepted, will be considered self-financed. Local staff in IMF Resident Representative offices selected to train at regional training centers and programs would also be self-financed. However, they are eligible to attend training at HQ as regular participants. Attending as self-financed provides the same access to course content and activities, but all associated costs (accommodation, travel, and per diem) need to be covered by the sponsoring institution.