• Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

AfDB Urges Inaugural Graduates of Public Finance Management Academy for Africa to Champion Accountability and Transparency

— “Africans must unite to mobilize and effectively manage the resources needed to increase productivity and create wealth in Africa for Africans,” says Vice President Urama

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) on Thursday, December 14, charged the first cohort of graduates from its Public Finance Management Academy for Africa (PFMA) to serve as standard-bearers for embedding accountability across Africa.

Kevin Urama, the Bank’s Chief Economist and Vice President, made the charge at a milestone graduation ceremony in Abuja for 51 public officials from 26 countries. He called on African countries to come together to mobilize and effectively manage the resources needed to increase productivity and create wealth “in Africa for Africans”.

The participants underwent 18 months of rigorous training to complete the Public Finance Management Executive Training Series on the public finance management cycle and ecosystem. The training’s six modules comprised: Domestic resource mobilization; Macro-fiscal modeling and forecasting public budgeting and expenditure management; Debt Management and Transparency; Public-Private Partnerships in PFM; and Accountability, Transparency, curbing Corruption and Illicit Financial Flows.  

The graduates now meet the requirements to be certified by the Bank Group and its partners as public finance management experts in their countries. The PFMA works to strengthen African countries’ capacity in economic governance and knowledge management to enhance wealth creation and prudent management of public finances to improve the quality of life of Africans.

Mr. Tope Fasua, Special Adviser to the Vice President of Nigeria on Economic Matters, attended the graduation ceremony.  He commended the Public Finance Management Academy for Africa for providing a platform for pooling knowledge from relevant institutions and making it available to African public financial management officials.

“I find this very innovative in capacity development and should be extended to other areas of capacity development needs in our governments beyond public financial management,” said Fasua.

In his remarks, Bank Vice President Urama stressed that poor public resource management is costing Africa dearly. “Currently, African countries lose nearly $90 billion a year to illicit financial flows, and much more to illicit resource flows and theft, poorly implemented fiscal incentives, and excessive reliance on commodity exports for foreign exchange earnings.  This exposes countries to highly volatile global market prices and highly vulnerable supply chains. This situation is unacceptable.”  

He said poor practices include ineffective mobilization and the use of domestic revenues for unsustainable borrowing and lack of prudence in using borrowed funds.

Isaac Kurasha of the South African National Treasury, a graduate of the program, recalled the extensive knowledge imparted by the training and its impact on his work. “This program has enriched my knowledge of the entire public financial management cycle,” Kurasha said. “Being in public finance, I am only in one component of the cycle. Before this training, I had a basic understanding of the other components that make up the public finance management cycle. Today I am more knowledgeable.”

He said the training had taught him to allocate resources where the return on investment was greatest.

Other graduates shared Kurasha’s enthusiasm.  Stephen K. Moore, an assistant director in the Budget Finance Department of the Central Bank of Liberia, said the training had benefited his career progression, leading to a promotion within the 18-month training period.

“The training has been instrumental in refining my skills and providing a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of public financial management,” Moore said. Looking ahead, he expressed optimism about the promising avenues that his enhanced expertise will open in his career.

“My expectations are fueled by the belief that the skills I have acquired will not only enhance my professional standing, but will also make a meaningful contributor to my country’s development agenda,” Moore continued.

Elounissi Guebli Nafissa, a civil servant from Algeria, said: “Over the past 18 months, we have been on a fascinating journey, exploring key areas of the PFM cycle in practice. Today marks the end of this exceptional training, an experience that has not only been enriching but also offers significant opportunities for our professional futures.”

 “This training was not just a series of academic sessions, but a deep immersion into the complex dynamics of public finance,” she added.

“Digital transformation is inevitable nowadays and the integration of modern technologies in public finance management could significantly optimize the efficiency and transparency of processes,” she said.

Lubaki Nzalakanda Ange from the Democratic Republic of Congo said that participating in this PFMA was both a great opportunity and a challenge for the participants.

“On the one hand, it has allowed us to acquire sufficient knowledge to understand the management of public finances.”

To ensure the reduction of poverty and inequalities on the continent now and in the years to come, African countries should accelerate the implementation of appropriate public financial management policies. In this regard, he urged his fellow graduates to live up to the quality training they have received over the past 18 months.

“Africa and our respective countries are counting on all of us,” he said.

Approved by the African Development Bank Group’s Board of Directors in June 2022, the PFMA aims to provide African countries with high-level structured capacity development such as training, peer-to-peer learning, technical assistance, advisory services, institutional support programs, and policy dialogue in public financial management.

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