The African Professionalisation Initiative – API – team took part in the African Accounting and Finance Association – AAFA – annual conference in Cairo, Egypt from the 5th to the 9th of September 2022. The Conference was officially opened by the Minister for Finance of Egypt. He was accompanied by the country’s minister for Education and other government dignitaries.
The API coordinates the efforts of accountants general, supreme audit institutions, professional accountancy organisations and academics across the African continent to systematically address the shortage of adequate professional accounting and auditing skills in the African public sector. This is in recognition that whereas the continuing call to achieve public financial reforms is noble and welcome, it will not be achieved on its own without the right people (competent, ethical, and influential public sector professionals) to do the work of implementing the reforms.
During the conference, interesting research papers and other presentations were covered by seasoned professors, subject experts and doctoral students. The Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA) – was represented by Lebogang Senne who made a presentation on the “Accountancy Profession in Africa: The state of play”. The IFRS Foundation was represented by Bruce Mackenzie who spoke movingly about “the IASB agenda and Implications for Africa” and encouraged academics to engage more with the IFRS foundation by providing thought leadership through research on many of the issues being addressed by the Foundation.
The API facilitates long-term change through solutions that are contextually relevant and aligned to the African Union Agenda 2063. The API team made a presentation on the API learning program and the change it aims to realise for Africa’s citizens. Professor Ahmed Kumshe, the CEO of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) highlighted the need for the API to engage closely with in-country stakeholders and ensure alignment of the API implementation approach to the unique context of each country. The API was represented by Evans Mulera and Neo Hlatshwayo.
The conference provided a rich platform to deepen partnership between accountancy researchers and educators on one hand and public sector employers and global standards setters on the other. This collaboration both foster development of thought leadership while focusing research by academicians on addressing the pressing issues employers, standards setters, policy makers and society at large faces in the quest to drive greater accountability, transparency and good finance governance in both the private and public sector.
The API is operated by its partner organisations (AFROSAI-E, CREFIAF, ESAAG (AAAG) and PAFA), overseen by its Oversight Board and supported by committees and academics, collectively providing the people who work for the API, a regional, multi-lingual, digital and future-focused environment within which to create and innovate to enhance citizen services across Africa.
The API is exploring opportunities to forge closer and stronger collaboration with public sector employers and accountancy educators to realise successful outcomes that will contribute to enhancement of citizen services while addressing success on key milestones such as the Africa Agenda 2063, The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
During this conference, over 80 research papers were presented via plenary and breakout format with delivery in English, French and Arabic languages. Below is a sample of some of the research topics the conference addressed:
- The Role of Board Gender Diversity in Reducing Abnormal Accruals
- Impact of transitioning to net zero on companies’ going concern and assets impairment
- Corporate social responsibility and real earnings management:
- The effect of loan restructuring on profitability of clients’ projects
- The sociology of exclusion: A knowledge synthesis of anti-Black racism in accounting
The API is grateful to the leadership of the AAFA – Dr. Mariaan Roos, Prof. Stephen Nkundabayanga, Prof. Teerooven Soobaroyen, Prof. Philippe Lassou and Dr. Yinka Moses – for the opportunity to take part in the conference.