The Bank joins forces with other donors to strengthen oversight institutions
At a ceremony in Brussels on 20 October 2009, the Bank joined forces with 15 other donors to strengthen good governance and independent oversight of public finances through enhanced support to supreme audit institutions. The Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), along with other development partners such as the World Bank, the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and bilateral donors.
The purpose of this global partnership is to coordinate donor support to oversight institutions and audit offices, consistent with the commitments under the Paris and Accra declaration. Strengthening country systems for managing public resources and encouraging domestic accountability is particularly important as donors, including the Bank, make greater use of budget support and other forms of program-based approaches. “Support to budget oversight systems and audit institutions is a central thrust of the Bank governance strategy” said Carlos Santiso, AfDB Manager of the Governance Division, and “this global partnership will provide an international platform and forum for greater harmonization of efforts to strengthen them”.
Supreme audit institutions are key pillars of integrity in the fight against corruption and waste. Independent and empowered audit offices “provide the necessary fiduciary assurances to ensure that public resources are used for the intended purposes”, says John Muwanga, Auditor General of Uganda. “We are committed to this challenge” he added. Koos Michel, Director General at the European Commission, underscored that audit offices have a key role in the wider reform of the public financial management systems in which they are embedded.
Sound management of all public funds, including aid, is even more important today in the context of the global economic crisis. Since 2007, the Bank has been scaling up its support to countries committed to strengthen their public financial management systems, by encouraging reform, building capacities, and providing advice. The Bank is finalising an joint operational strategy with the World Bank to further enhance synergies and complementarities in this area. INTOSAI will be holding its triennial congress for the first time in Africa in 2010, hosted by South Africa. This will provide an opportunity to further underscore the importance of independent, credible and effective oversight of public finances.