International Journal of Government Auditing – January 2009
The African Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI) held its 11th General Assembly in Pretoria, South Africa, October 13–17, 2008. Hosted by the Office of the Auditor General of South Africa, the assembly drew delegates from English-speaking SAIs (AFROSAI-E), French-speaking SAIs (AFROSAI-F), and Arabic-speaking SAIs (AFROSAI-A) and Portuguese-speaking SAIs. Over 50 countries sent delegates and/or observers. Participating countries included Algeria, Angola, Austria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Norway, Poland, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Swaziland, Sweden, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, the United Kingdom, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Guests and observers included ministerial officials and representatives from the INTOSAI Secretariat, the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), this Journal, the Institute of Internal Auditors, and various international donor organizations.
Kimi Makwetu, Deputy Auditor General of South Africa, welcomed the mayor of Tshwane (Pretoria) and the delegates at a ceremony and reception held at Freedom Park the evening before the official opening. Mr. Makwetu informed the delegates that this location was chosen to launch the assembly because it was, in the words of Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa, "the fulcrum of our vision to heal and reconcile our nation." The hosts hoped that this venue would serve as a "platform for the creation of a common vision for the supreme audit institutions on the continent of Africa."
Ziriyo Bogui, Auditor General of Cote d’Ivoire and outgoing AFROSAI President, and Terence Nombembe, Auditor General of South Africa and incoming President, warmly welcomed the delegates at the opening ceremony at Pretoria’s CSIR International Convention Center. Mr. Bogui thanked the delegates for the honor of serving as President and discussed AFROSAI’s accomplishments during his tenure, including: the transfer of the AFROSAI General Secretariat from Lomé, Togo, to Tripoli, Libya; the development of AFROSAI’s strategic plan; and the adoption of amended statutes. Mr. Bogui thanked the African Development Bank for supporting the development of the strategic plan, the Libyan government for its financial support, and the South African government for hosting the 11th assembly.
Mr. Nombembe recognized the significant advances during Mr. Bogui’s tenure and presented an award to the SAI of Cote d’Ivoire in recognition of its contributions to AFROSAI during the past 3 years. After formally accepting the AFROSAI presidency, Mr. Nombembe pledged that "in my capacity as President of AFROSAI, I shall endeavor to work with you to increase even further our collective efforts to contribute to enabling oversight and accountability in the public sector, not only in the interest of promoting good governance but also, in however small a way, in the interest of the African Renaissance, an initiative aimed at alleviating poverty, opening opportunities, and developing and achieving reconciliation through transformation on the African continent." Mr. Nombembe also announced that the 2010 INCOSAI in Johannesburg, South Africa, would be the first INTOSAI congress held on the African continent.
Invited speakers delivered presentations of interest to the assembly. Monika González-Koss, representing the INTOSAI Secretariat General, summarized the highlights of the November 2007 INCOSAI in Mexico. Magnus Borge, the IDI representative, reported that IDI has strategically shifted its mission from training to helping SAIs build capacity; he also detailed plans for the AFROSAI region for 2008–2010. Kenneth Dye, former Auditor General of Canada, discussed the importance of SAIs understanding the media and offered specific suggestions for working effectively with the media to influence policymakers (see the article based on his talk on p. 6 of this issue).
Freeman Nomvalo, Accountant General of South Africa’s National Treasury, spoke on the value of consultation and good communications between the South African Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Auditor General and stated that such consultations need not encroach on the Auditor General’s independence. The twice yearly meetings between the ministry and the Auditor General help promote mutual understanding and respect for their respective mandates, ensure proper management and clear communications, and provide regular review and feedback.
Terence Nombembe presented the AFROSAI Governing Board’s reports on the organization’s activities and financial condition.
The 11th AFROSAI General Assembly was organized around three themes: audits of public health; management, training, and retention of audit staff; and the role of SAIs in combating corruption. Plenary addresses introduced each theme and were followed by delegate discussions and debates on the professional and technical issues discussed in the principal papers and other presentations. Guest speakers for the respective themes included Lorraine Mashiane, Chairperson of South Africa’s Association of Public Account Committees; Bernard Agullas of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors; and Veronica Du Preez of the Institute for Internal Auditors. The assembly adopted the South African Accords containing recommendations for all three themes.
During the general business session, the assembly elected a new Governing Board. The assembly unanimously approved the transfer of the presidency to South Africa. Other members of the Governing Board are Cote d’Ivoire (First Vice Chair), Gabon (Second Vice Chair), and Libya (General Secretary). The delegates also elected the SAIs of Mauritania, Sudan, Senegal, and Cameroon to join Gambia and Tanzania on the Governing Board. The SAI of Egypt was affirmed as the editor of the AFROSAI Comprehensive Journal and will, therefore, continue to serve on the Governing Board. The SAIs of Algeria and Mali will serve as the auditors, with Ethiopia and Benin as alternates. Burkina Faso was appointed to the Chair on Resolutions and will be supported by Mauritania, Cameroon, and Kenya.
Mr. Nombembe reported that the Governing Board had reviewed AFROSAI’s financial condition during its October 13 meeting and agreed to monitor spending. The assembly approved the adoption of the auditor’s report and support for the Governing Board to establish a standard framework to help AFROSAI function effectively. The assembly also approved the establishment of a finance and administration committee and an institutional capacity-building committee.
The 12th AFROSAI General Assembly will be held in 2011 in Gabon.
Throughout the conference, the Auditor General of South Africa and his staff treated participants with generous hospitality. They introduced participants and guests to an aspect of South Africa’s diverse culture by hosting a "shebeen" evening at the Bondev House that provided a taste of local township cuisine, music, and entertainment. Following the conference, delegates had the opportunity to attend a performance of South Africa’s Lipizzaner horses. As part of the closing ceremony, the host treated participants to a formal dinner and entertainment at a government house once occupied by former South African President Nelson Mandela.
Information on the 11th AFROSAI General Assembly, including presentations and papers, are available on http://afrosaiassembly.com. For additional information, contact the AFROSAI General Secretariat: