Improving financial governance in Africa


Speaking as a panellist at a High Level Seminar on Good Financial Governance in Africa,  How to Graduate from Aid, the Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), Steve Freer, emphasised the importance of governments striving to implement accrual accounting in accordance with modern international standards.

The Seminar discussed a draft Declaration on Good Public Financial Governance for consideration by African Ministers of Finance. The high level seminar was chaired by Komla Dumor of BBC Network Africa. The Panel comprised:

  • Hon. Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan, Finance Minister, South Africa,
  • Maria Kiwanuka, Finance Minister, Uganda,
  • Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB),
  • Steve Freer, Chief Executive, CIPFA.

Mr Freer welcomed the proposed declaration but stressed the importance of individual governments developing and publishing detailed implementation plans so that there is transparency about the planned pathway to better public financial management, and a clear basis for measurement of progress.

Mr Freer said,

“The similarity between 'accounting' and 'accountability' is not a coincidence. If we are serious about delivering real improvements in accountability, it is critically important that governments adopt and implement accounting standards which inspire confidence and enable comparability.”




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Notes to Editors:

  • The High Level Seminar was organised as part of the African Development Bank Group's Annual Meeting held in Arusha, Tanzania.
  • The African Development Bank Group Annual Meeting featured four high level seminars focusing on the following themes:
    • Opportunity and challenges of the global financial crisis
    • Greening the economy: Opportunity for growth
    • Emerging issues in African economies
    • Good financial governance in Africa: How to graduate from aid
  • Good public financial governance is recognised as a critical theme because it is a prerequisite for Africa to mobilise its own revenues and grow out of aid. It is intrinsic to development, economic growth and poverty reduction in African states. The responsive, prudent and effective management of the continent’s financial resources is what ensures that Africa’s citizens can access health, education and basic services, work and live in safe environments and conduct their business knowing that they are protected by the rule of law. Above all, good financial governance is essential for development effectiveness.



CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. Our 14,000 members work throughout the public services, in national audit agencies, in major accountancy firms, and in other bodies where public money needs to be effectively and efficiently managed. As the world’s only professional accountancy body to specialise in public services, CIPFA’s portfolio of qualifications are the foundation for a career in public finance. They include the benchmark professional qualification for public sector accountants as well as a postgraduate diploma for people already working in leadership positions. They are taught by our in-house CIPFA Education and Training Centre as well as other places of learning around the world. We also champion high performance in public services, translating our experience and insight into clear advice and practical services. They include information and guidance, courses and conferences, property and asset management solutions, consultancy and interim people for a range of public sector clients. Globally, CIPFA shows the way in public finance by standing up for sound public financial management and good governance. We work with donors, partner governments, accountancy bodies and the public sector around the world to advance public finance and support better public services. This includes the development of local professional qualifications in African countries like Lesotho and Nigeria and in Europe in post conflict states in the Balkans.