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IFAC and Development Agencies Focus on Economic Development in African Nations

Oct 3, 2006 | New York | English

Continuing to combat poverty and develop stable economies remain two fundamental and interrelated challenges facing African nations according to participants representing 37 African countries at the Africa Region Learning Workshop held in Nairobi, Kenya on September 28 and 29. Sponsored by the African Development Bank and co-sponsored by the World Bank and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), the Workshop attracted over 200 participants, including representatives of the accountancy profession, governments, donor community, and academia. Discussions focused on achieving quality financial reporting, the needs of the accountancy profession in the region, the role of the government in accountancy and accountancy development, and the importance of sustaining good governance and ethics.

Participants contributed pan-African recommendations to:

  • Reform and strengthen institutional frameworks for corporate reporting;
  • Build accountancy capacity in the private and public sectors, including the development of established educational guidelines for accounting technicians;
  • Establish contact and begin development of the accountancy profession in those African countries where the profession is not yet established;
  • Assist regional and national professional bodies to access donor funds; and
  • Support the "Nairobi Declaration", signed by over 30 professional bodies, which calls for the creation of a Pan-African Federation of Accountants.

"This Workshop represents the first major collaborative effort between IFAC and development agencies to address the development of the accounting profession on the African continent. It is essential that the organizations represented at the Workshop work together to address the recommendations that have been put forth," says Ndung'u Gathinji, Chairman of the IFAC Developing Nations Committee.

One of the major outcomes of the Workshop was the establishment of an Africa Focus Group which will coordinate dissemination and follow-up activities for the recommendations identified at the Workshop. The Africa Focus Group will have representatives from the African Development Bank, the World Bank, IFAC, the Eastern Central and Southern African Federation of Accountants, the Association of Accountancy Bodies of West Africa, and the Fédération Internationale des Experts-Comptables Francophones.

Russell Guthrie, IFAC Director, Quality Assurance and Member Body Relations, commented, "This Workshop is a vital part of IFAC's efforts to support economic development in Africa and to strengthen professional accountancy bodies. IFAC's Developing Nations Committee will be focusing a significant portion of its efforts on mentoring and guiding the establishment and strengthening of professional accountancy bodies in the 33 African countries where IFAC is not currently represented."

About IFAC

IFAC is the worldwide organization for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. IFAC's current membership consists of approximately 160 professional accountancy bodies in 120 countries, representing more than 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry and commerce. IFAC, through its independent standard-setting boards, sets international standards on ethics, auditing and assurance, education, and public sector accounting. It also issues guidance to encourage high-quality performance by professional accountants in business.