“One does not force a pregnant woman to give birth” – African Proverb.
The 6th of July 2023 will be remembered for centuries as the birthday of The African Association of Accountants General – AAAG. On this day, a special ceremony was held to welcome a new baby – The AAAG. Accountants General play a critical role in the success of public financial management reforms. The decision by the Eastern and Southern Africa Accountants General – ESAAG to fold and support the formation of a continental body of Accountants General aligns with the progressive African spirit of realising prosperity through unity, inspired by the African Union Agenda 2063 aspirations. The conception of AAAG was spearheaded by the African Union, ESAAG and the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA).
In her keynote remarks during the Launch, Edith A. Lumor, the Finance Director of the African Union noted that the success of the AU Agenda 2063 aspirations would be possible if the African institutions such as Accountants General work together collaboratively. She noted that the AAAG launch wasn’t just a ceremony, but a symbolic manifestation of our commitment to fostering a future of accountability, transparency and integrity across Africa.
The Launch was a bold leap towards fortifying the structure of public financial management – PFM – across our dynamic continent .
Seventeen countries signed on the constitution of AAAG. Efforts will be made and mechanisms will be put in place through the various channels such as the African Union member states channel to bring all the remaining African countries under the AAAG with a view to achieving inclusiveness, solidarity and complementarity.
AAAG will contribute greatly to supporting countries to realise the seven agenda 2063 aspirations articulated below;
- Aspiration 1: A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.
- Aspiration 2: An integrated continent, politically united and based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance.
- Aspiration 3: An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.
- Aspiration 4: A peaceful and secure Africa.
- Aspiration 5: An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics.
- Aspiration 6: An Africa, whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children.
- Aspiration 7: Africa as a strong, united, resilient and influential global player and partner.
The AFROSAI-E made a presentation on the role of audit. The presenter, Josephine Mukomba, a senior executive at AFROSAI-E articulated the need to strengthen the working relationship between the AGs and Accountants General. The ongoing investment in performance audits was highlighted as an emerging area that will add value to the PFM reforms.
Josephine highlighted some of the challenges observed in the use of IFMIS (Integrated Financial Management Information Systems) in the public sector such as: Making the IFMIS business case; Adequate understanding of the business processes; Controls for financial management; Cyber resilience; Business continuity; and Oversight of systems.
Performance audits look at areas that can create real impact such as implementation of SDGs; environmental audits (extractive industries is a big area); agriculture; education for the underprivileged; audit of performance information; Disasters and disaster preparedness (Covid -19, Floods, Famine etc); and Infrastructure audits. There is a need to have enforceable consequences for transgressions.
The PAFA CEO, Alta Prinsloo, made a presentation to the Accountants General and outlined PAFA’s purpose, vision and mission. PAFA’s vision is outward looking – Sustainable value creation to benefit the citizens of Africa. Alta outlined the need to leverage partnerships. She gave an example of the API four-legged stool partnership that aims to advance greater accountability/good finance governance in the public sector.
The session chair, Marcel highlighted the need to utilise the opportunity under the institutions available to address existing technical issues. AFROSAI-E, CREFIAF, AAAG, PAFA and API exist to help the Accountants Generals realise their capacity objectives. Learn more about PAFA.
The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board – IPSASB – made a presentation on the state of adoption and implementation of IPSAS across the world. The good news is that in coming years, more countries are showing signs of making progress in significantly adopting the IPSAS for accounting and reporting for governments.
An update was provided on the ongoing work to develop sustainability standards for the public sector, an initiative that the IPSASB has embarked upon. Climate change presents a significant challenge for humanity and governments will be investing in programs to address climate change. Sustainability reporting is therefore going to be integral to government’s disclosures and reporting to its stakeholders. The climate will form the first area of focus for the sustainability reporting. Other areas will follow in due course. Funding has been secured to commence the development of the sustainability standards. Forty percent of global funding is made up of public sector debt. Demonstrating sustainability will give confidence to the providers of capital.
The API team addressed the accountants’ generals and highlighted the benefits of professionalisation of public sector accountants and auditors. There are good opportunities for API to work with accountants’ generals to advance the cause of strengthening capacity for complying with finance laws and effective implementation of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards – IPSAS. After the presentation, the API had an opportunity to engage with the accountants General on a one-to-one basis. Numerous mechanisms were considered for operationalisation in affording accountants general’s the support needed to advance the cause of realising successful PFM reforms across all the African governments.
The API is organised around the five houses below:
- House 1 – Incumbents – Ready for occupation
- House 2 – Specialisation – Ready for occupation from 2024
- House 3 – Students – Ready for occupation in 2025
- House 4 – Micro credentials – Ready from 2024
- House 5 – Continuing Professional Development (CPD) – Ready
Our Vision: An African public sector capacitated with competent, ethical and influential professionals who support accountability, transparency and good financial governance.
Our Mission: To grow the capacity of accountancy professionals in the African public sector for enhanced service delivery.
The API is an independent non-profit organisation whose primary objective is to strengthen the capacity and knowledge base of accounting and auditing professionals in the African public sector to enhance accounting and auditing service delivery to the citizens of Africa.
The API Learning Programme aims to achieve the above institutional goal as a partnership between the accountancy profession (represented by the Pan African Federation of Accountants (“PAFA”)), accountants general or their equivalent (African Association of Accountants General – “AAAG”)), and supreme audit institutions or courts of auditors (represented by the English (“AFROSAI-E”) and French (“CREFIAF”) language sub-groups of the African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (“AFROSAI”))