What role should Auditors-General in African countries play to make inclusive growth a reality in the African Development Bank’s efforts to promote development for all , the central theme of its 2011 Annual Meetings which open in Lisbon, Portugal on Thursday?
In an interview, Mr. Ouko explained that for the most part, development in many African countries is driven by extractive industries and the proceeds hardly trickled down to the critical mass. This non-inclusive growth naturally resulted in persistent unemployment.
Noting that the theme of the annual meetings was both relevant and timely, as it touches on the issues of accountable governance and appropriate deployment of resources which are the bases of equitable development.
He observed that lack of good governance; corruption and misuse of resources were a threat to Africa’s development and by extension, to the achievement of inclusive growth. This, he added, “is detrimental to our economies.”
“General Auditors have the responsibility of providing oversight on accountability and good governance in the public sector by giving assurance to the legislators in the regional member countries regarding the transparent and proper utilization of public finances,” Mr. Ouko said.
The Bank´s management has, over the last decade strengthened the auditor general functions, in a bid to have broad control over comprehensive programs and provide independent assurance to the Board of Directors on the utilization of funds related to projects and programs funded by the Bank. “Focusing discussions on inclusive growth during the Annual Meetings is a clear demonstration that the Bank has gained ground,” he stressed.
He also added: “Auditing at the Bank is an essential oversight mechanism in ensuring that resources provided to finance development are utilized for the intended purposes and to the benefit of the poor in Africa.”
The Bank´s Auditor-General is a full member of a wider group of internal auditors that includes the United Nations Agencies. Their forums engage in collective efforts in shaping the development of internal audit and to network. The Bank in June 2010 in Tunis, hosted the MDBs Auditors-General meeting, during which these leading institutions brainstormed on strengthening their functions. The Asian Development Bank will host the next meeting in July this year. “We shall rack our brains and think of ways to raise our sight to make the AfDB’s agenda on inclusive growth a key development objective at he meeting,” Mr. Ouko concluded.