July 2017, by Hugo Winters
Good financial management in sector ministries is essential for the delivery of services and to ensure ‘value for money’ in public expenses, especially in sectors that are key to a country’s development such as agriculture, education and health. Against this background, GIZ’s Good Financial Governance (GFG) in Africa programme, together with the African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI), has developed a training programme designed for professionals working in the management of public finance for agriculture, education and health.
The innovative approach forms country teams of participants from selected key Public Financial Management (PFM) institutions. These teams from Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and The Gambia will function as small networks for change, during and after the training course. The working environments of the 21 participants cover all aspects of the budget system, including ministries of finance, health, agriculture and education as well as supreme audit institutions, internal audit functions, and accountant generals, civil society organisations that focus on budget matters, and parliamentary budget offices.
The training programme is being implemented in cooperation with a European and an African university and consists of face-to-face as well as distance learning phases. The programme kicks off at the end of August 2017 with a four week stay at the Hochschule für öffentliche Verwaltung (University of Public Management) in Kehl, Germany. Thereafter, participants will return to their jobs and begin with the implementation of their transfer projects which are developed in a country-specific way during the training. The second contact training session takes place at the School of Public Leadership at the University of Stellenbosch in Cape Town, South Africa from mid-November for four weeks. The Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) will carry out an additional learning unit at the start of the South Africa phase.
In preparation of the training, a workshop is being conducted in each of the four countries for participants and their institutions to discuss the country’s PFM environment, its specific challenges and how the training can help to address these challenges. The results inform the finalisation of the course curriculum by ensuring a clear focus on participants’ actual needs. At the same time, the workshops serve to foster the commitment and buy-in of participants’ institutions and their leadership, with a view to utilisation of the knowledge gained for the development of the institution. Superiors are invited to express their expectations and give guidance with regard to actual needs and transfer projects. A memorandum of understanding between GIZ and institutions is signed as an expression of this commitment.
While covering all strategic areas of PFM, the training will – in accordance with the composition of the group and in line with the holistic thinking of the GFG approach – put a focus on linkages between various actors and levels. This includes issues like:
How do sectoral development policies and plans translate into realistic budgets?
How do budgets translate into services in a transparent and efficient way?
How can audit institutions contribute to a more effective management of public finances?
How can the involvement of parliaments and citizens in the budget process be strengthened and how can this involvement improve the system?
In terms of methodology, a large share of group work and group presentations will enable participants to drive their learning process. Some of these sessions will be organised along the lines of the country groups, while others will be structured by sectors. Based on active participation and performance, participants will receive a certificate. The course approach and results will be evaluated in view of its further development in years to come.
The first in-country workshop took place in June in The Gambia. Take a look at the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) coverage of the event: GRTS video clip
The GFG in Africa programme is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Union.
For more information, please contact Dr Hugo Winters (firstname.lastname@example.org).