By: Thandiwe Kubere

With the aim of promoting a prosperous Africa through integrated public finance management, African Association of Accounting General (AAAG), in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and   Development planning is currently hosting an Annual Conference in Lesotho, scheduled to take place from 19th February 2024 to 22nd February 2024. The conference had visitors and participants from different countries reaching a record of 1200.

AAAG is a capacity-building non-profit organization that aims to build capabilities in the offices of the Accountants and Directors General responsible for budget execution and reporting for their governments. The AAAG focuses on supporting sound public financial management practices and good governance in its member countries. It brings together financial leaders, government officials, and experts in the field of public finance through events like the 1st AAAG Annual Conference. The East and Southern African Association of Accountants-General (ESAAG) is another regional association that supports the offices of Accountants-General in the region. Both organizations play crucial roles in strengthening financial governance and accountability in Africa.

Officially launched on the 6th of July 2023, AAAG was assured to be remembered for centuries as Accountants General play a crucial role in the success of public financial management reforms. The decision by the Eastern and Southern Africa Accountants General to fold and support the formation of a continental body of Accountants General, aligns with the progressive African spirit of realising prosperity through unity, inspired by the African Union Agenda 2063 aspirations. Moreover, the conception of AAAG was spearheaded by the African Union, ESAAG and the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA).

In her welcome remarks, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Hon. Dr Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane declared it is delightful to have accountants from both the public and private sectors come together to celebrate the remarkable intentions as well as achievements in the Public Financial Management within the Continent.

“As Public Financial Management Professionals across the African Continent, I wish to command you on a great move towards consolidating your efforts, your innovations, your expertise and networks in to the African Association of Accountants General. A lot is expected from you by your governments and by the world. In pursuit, of the Agenda 2063 – The Africa We want, we are all committing as African nations to make a greater impact for generations to come.”, she assured.

She noted that accountants are trusted with the responsibility of being the stewards of their nations’ taxes, and ensure that those effectively and efficiently drive service delivery for the citizens. This is because, there is an accountant from the Planning, to preparing the Budgets, in the Execution up to reporting.

“We trust in exchange of Ideas that is going to happen this week. The PFM tenets of Transparency, Accountability and Good Governance can be achieved from the excellence in the delivery of service by the professionals in this room. Compliance with the sustainability reporting and international public sector accounting standards is well within our interest as the Ministers of Finance as well as other decision makers and users of the financial reports of Countries”, she uttered.

She further affirmed that Public Financial Management laws are the guiding frameworks which always have to be compiled to, refreshed periodically to remain relevant and prosecution can be possible against the wrong doers.

Hon. Matlanyane enlightened that Financial Management Information Systems, in this era of technology, are the greatest enablers or disablers of Governments and it is essential to learn from each other especially those with a record of high levels of success in innovation, implementation and compliance. On that note, it is crucial to find a long lasting systems solution for Africa.

“As the users of the Integrated Financial Management Information Systems, I trust you will lead the way. Capacity building of the accounting professionals involves firstly unlearning some skills and re- learning new skills.”

She noted that to be relevant, learning the modern diverse skills is a matter of urgency, these range from technology, to financial modelling to leadership skills, putting an end to the time for debit and credit.

“There is need for analytical and big data consumption skill. We also trust the AAAG working hand in hand with Institutes of Accountants. With the high expectations that we have put to AAAG, and furthers demands that we put herein. I wish to register The Government of Lesotho and My Ministry to unwavering support to the initiatives of this organisations”, she said.

Lesotho Accountant General Mrs. Malehlohonolo Mahase, who has been elected as the Chairperson of the Continental body stated the day marked a great milestone in the history of the accounting profession in the African Continent and in the public financial management unit. She conveyed it a great honour to the nation for being the host of the first conference, particularly this year when Lesotho is celebrating 200 years of being founded as a nation.

“We have other regional bodies across the continent and in 2019, the African Union and other key stakeholders in the public financial management space, said they do not want to work with us as businesses, but as a continent. A resolution therefore, was made to form AAAG. Yesterday on the 17th of February, we had the first annual federal meeting in Maseru Lesotho”, she said.

Present at the event was Lesotho, South Africa, Eswatini, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Chad and Morocco.

AAAG will contribute in supporting countries to realise the seven agenda 2063 aspirations articulated below;

  • Aspiration 1: A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.
  • Aspiration 2: An integrated continent, politically united and based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance.
  • Aspiration 3: An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.
  • Aspiration 4: A peaceful and secure Africa.
  • Aspiration 5: An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics.
  • Aspiration 6: An Africa, whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children.
  • Aspiration 7: Africa as a strong, united, resilient and influential global player and partner.