The Government of Zimbabwe has scored another first by becoming the first country to sign up for the African Professionalisation Initiative that aims to drive the success of Public Sector Accountants and Auditors Professionalisation. This will result in the achievement of an African public sector capacitated with competent, ethical, and influential professionals who support accountability, transparency and good financial governance thereby growing the capacity of accountancy professionals in the African public sector for enhanced service delivery.
Zimbabwe was also the first country to roll out the IFAC and DFID-UK (Now FCDO) Public sector professionalisation program, an initiative resulting in the holding of the graduation ceremony for the first batch of public sector professional accountancy graduates during the signing of the MOU between the Public Accountants and Auditors Board of Zimbabwe (PAAB) and the African Professionalisation Initiative (API). The API will play a key role in the Professionalisation of public sector accountants and auditors across Africa and the success of the initiative in Zimbabwe will provide crucial lessons for ensuring seamless and accelerated success in the rest of the African continent.
Future Ready Public Sector Accountants and Auditors
The ceremony was sponsored by AICPA-CIMA in line with its current strategy and policy of supporting public sector accountants professionalisation in Africa and across the world. We are grateful to AICPA-CIMA for the generous support for the professionalisation program. The signing of the MOU with Zimbabwe provides an additional pathway for Public Sector Accountants professionalisation which compliments the ongoing professionalisation initiated a few years back through a partnership between the Public Accountants and Auditors Board of Zimbabwe, IFAC and the DFID-UK (Now FCDO). These noble initiatives provide a solid foundation for developing future ready professionals who will facilitate the successful development of sustainable and future ready institutions.
Participating Organisations and Stakeholders
This successful event was organised and coordinated by the PAAB and was graced by invited guests and key stakeholders such as: The Ministry of Finance; The Public Service Commission (Employer of choice in Zimbabwe); The Deputy Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Zimbabwe; The Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) of Zimbabwe;The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC); The Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA); The African Supreme Audit Institution from English Speaking Countries (AFROSAI-E); The African Association of Accountant Generals (AAAG, formerly ESAAG); The Auditor General; The Accountant General; The World Bank; The Chairman of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB); The Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA); The ICSAZ Leadership; The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe; The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in Zimbabwe (ICSAZ now IGCA); Ordem dos Contabilistas e Auditores de Moçambique (OCAM); The Accountant General of Liberia; The Namibia Institute of Public Accountants; among other participants.
Lessons from Zimbabwe
A key lesson from the engagements in Zimbabwe is that collaboration and partnership is essential for the success of reforms initiatives such as the Public Sector Accountants Professionalisation program. Another lesson is that leadership on Public Sector Accountants Professionalisation and any other initiative, therefore, should starts at the top. Participants were delighted by the perfect example set by the Auditor General, Madam Mildred Chiri (who graduated alongside her deputies (Mrs Magadza and Mrs Kujinga), Accountant General of Zimbabwe, Mr Edwin Zvandasara (and his deputy Mrs Mukondomi and chief Director Mr Shumbarimwe) and senior policy leaders in the public service of Zimbabwe who successfully undertook the professionalisation program launched by PAAB, IFAC and DFID (FCDO) a few years back.
Zimbabwe has set a deadline of the year 2025 for transition to Accrual based International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) and this initiative will no doubt support realisation of this objective towards increased transparency and accountability for public resources.
A Partnership That Works
To stay relevant, sustainable and future ready, Accountants General (ESAAG now transitioning to AAAG); African Auditors General (AFROSAI-E & CREFIAF), and Professional Accountancy Organisations (PAFA) have partnered under the API to develop high-quality learning resources (Online learning platform – OLP – and internationally benchmarked and locally relevant study materials) to enhance public sector accounting and auditing competencies development in Africa. This will support countries to implement public sector accountancy certification programmes which are aimed at upskilling existing capacity while also developing a pipeline of future talent. The API will facilitate realisation of an African public sector capacitated with competent, ethical and influential professionals who support accountability, transparency and good financial governance to sustainably facilitate Africa’s Socio-Economic development.
Public Sector Professionalisation of Accountants and Auditors
Most national governments development plans prioritise human resource development as a core driver for national success. To ensure this focus becomes a value creating practical commitment, there is a need for allocation of resources for the priority goals of professionalising public sector employees and in particular public sector accountants and auditors. The regular accountant with a professional qualification likely hasn’t covered competency driven lessons on public sector planning; public sector budgeting; public sector procurement; public sector accounting and reporting and public sector auditing, among some of the core public sector focused competency areas. To this end, all professional accountants that have not been professionalised for the public sector environment and needs should take advantage of the resources at the African Professionalisation Initiative working through the national Professional Accountancy Organisations (PAOs) and the Accountants General and Auditors General offices to realise this desirable objective.
The African Union Agenda 2063
We look forward to realising the success of the public sector accountants professionalisation initiative and deliver high quality benefits to the citizens of Zimbabwe and Africa as API will open a trusted pathway for trade in accountancy professional services across the continent – thus contributing to the success of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA); The African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 seven aspirations and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Donors and Development Partners Support
The success in the realisation of key milestones for the professionalisation initiative has been possible through the help and support of generous donors and development partners. We do acknowledge and express sincere gratitude to the following development partners and donors for their continued support for the Public Sector Accountants and Auditors professionalisation program for Africa: The Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency – SIDA; IFAC and its partners under the memorandum of understanding with development partners like GAVI, The Global Fund, USAID, and the broader group of MOSAIC signatories; The African Development Bank; GIZ; among others.
We are grateful to the Minister for Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Prof. Mthuli Ncube; The Parliamentary Accounts Committee, Hon. Edwin Mushoriwa; The Public Service Commission Chairman, Dr Vincent Hungwe; The PAAB chairman, Brian Njikizana; The PAAB secretary, Admire Ndurunduru; The Auditor General, madam Mildred Chiri; The Accountant General, Mr Edwin Zvandasara; The leadership of ICAZ, The leadership of CGIAZ (formerly ICSAZ); and all PAOs in Zimbabwe for successfully engaging stakeholders and enlisting their support for a partnership that will realise desired socio-economic benefits for the citizens of Zimbabwe and Africa.