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In June 2019, IFAC and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) visited the Institute of Certified Public Accountants (ICPAR) in Kigali, Rwanda to mark the launch and first exam sitting of the new Certified Accounting Technician Qualification supported through the IFAC Capacity Building Program, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

The qualification is the latest achievement under this project, and the broader partnership between ICPAR and ACCA. In 2015, ACCA was selected through the Capacity Building Program to become ICPAR’s twinning partner to grow its capacity and continue the institute’s progress, ensuring long-term success and sustainability. ICPAR and ACCA also signed a long-term partnership agreement to further support the project’s goals.

Developing the ICPAR strategy in 2016 highlighted the need for a new accounting technician qualification as a strategic priority: to further ICPAR’s contribution to the broader Rwanda county strategy and begin to build a pipeline of qualified accounting professionals able to support ICPAR’s stakeholders across the public and private sectors. This internationally benchmarked, locally bespoke qualification also responds directly to the need for 5,000 certified accountants in the public sector.

Rwanda may be small, but it is a beacon of ambition and economic transformation; one of Africa’s fastest growing economies with average growth rates of around 7% and aspirations to reach Middle Income Country status by 2035 as a finance and technology hub. Research shows a positive correlation between the number of accountants in employment and per capita GDP and the United Nations Development Index score. The partnership with ACCA, and support from DFID and IFAC, has helped to facilitate ICPAR’s ambition and determination to play its part in meeting this important goal.

“ICPAR is an ambitious institute for an ambitious country and we recognise how vitally important accounting technicians are to fuelling Rwanda’s growth. Every school, hospital, business and government department needs the skills which this new qualification will provide.” — Amin Miramago, ICPAR CEO

Together with the public sector specialization, the qualification will provide accountancy students with the professional skills, ethical thinking and information and communication technology skills equally relevant to both private and public sector employers. This helps strengthen the local employment market and position its important contribution to the growth of the Rwandan economy.

Tailored online learning materials, developed in partnership with BPP LM will provide students providers with the best chance of success in their examinations—complemented by a comprehensive train the trainer program, delivered in Kigali by ACCA experts to over 80 local tuition providers from across both urban and rural provinces.

Our visit in July 2019 focused on the sustainability and continued improvement of this important milestone. Numerous, important stakeholders were consulted to ensure feedback from across sectors on the efficacy of the first round of examinations. A technical review of the exam sitting was also held.

“The IFAC Capacity Building Program reflects IFAC’s commitment to serving the public interest by working with professional accountancy organizations, donors and other stakeholders to develop accountancy professionals who contribute to strong, sustainable organizations, markets, and economies. The ICPAR-ACCA partnership delivered a high-quality sustainable future-focused accounting technician qualification that will provide a pipeline of certified accountants to meet the needs of the Government of Rwanda and position ICPAR as key education partner to the government in implementing the Public Financial Management Competency-Based Learning Development Plan.” Darlene Nzorubara, IFAC Senior Technical Manager

The team also met with the Workforce Development Agency, which confirmed accreditation on the Rwandan National Qualification Framework (RQF) at levels 4, 5 and 6.

“The accreditation of the new CAT on the RQF is an important milestone and evidence of the robustness and level of the qualification. Providing access to the qualification within TVET centres across Rwanda—under a partnership between WDA and ICPAR—will provide access to an even broader pool of potential students who can benefit from this certification, enhance their employment opportunities, and strengthen the pipeline of qualified accounting technicians.” — George Njari, ACCA Head of Education & Development, East & West Africa

Following our visit, the partnership continues to go from strength to strength—and stakeholder feedback has helped to shape the next iteration of the project and effective use of the on-going funding from the UK Government. 

Felicity Rylands

Programme Manager, Capacity Building Projects, ACCA

Felicity Rylands is Programme Manager of Capacity Building Projects at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

Based in the UK, Felicity manages a portfolio of donor-funded development projects to build capacity in finance and accounting organisations, strengthening the profession around the world.

This portfolio includes projects across Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean to implement international standards, develop strategy, and strengthen qualifications and regulation – as well as supporting partner bodies in their journey to IFAC membership.

Felicity’s background is in international development and capacity building. Prior to joining ACCA in 2018 she worked as part of a small management team to set up and establish Prince’s Trust International; Prince Charles’ newest charity, focused on capacity building partner organisations  across the Commonwealth and Middle East to support young people on their journey from education to employment.

Felicity has a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies and Swahili from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and has lived, studied and worked across East Africa for many years.