CAPE TOWN, November 19, 2012: Over 140 delegates from 34 African countries gathered in Cape Town for the Pan African Federation of Accountants (PAFA) conference to discuss ways to improve professional standards in accounting. PAFA, which was launched on May 5, 2011 in Dakar, Senegal, is the umbrella body for Professional Accountancy Organizations (PAOs) in Africa. This conference was hosted by PAFA in partnership with the World Bank and African Development Bank.
PAFA believes that good governance, accountability, good financial management and transparency are principal pillars in the acceleration of economic development and reduction of poverty,” said Major General Sebestian Owuama, PAFA President.
PAFA brings together 39 professional accountancy organizations and aims to accelerate the development of the accountancy profession in Africa and strengthen its voice within the continent and globally.
“The accountancy profession already plays an important role in improving the quality of financial reporting and fostering transparency in the private sector in Africa, said Edward Olowo-Okere, World Bank Director for Core Operations Services for the Africa Region. “These factors contribute to improved corporate governance, efficiency of economic institutions, stability of the financial sector and country competitiveness, which are very critical for economic growth.” In addition, he challenged participants to become more involved in the public sector in order to improve public financial management and accountability, necessary to improve service delivery and the well-being of citizens.
This content-rich conference discussed PAFA strategic objectives for 2012-2016, the role of PAOs in contributing to the achievement of economic growth, and shared good practices on strengthening accountancy profession in Africa by focusing on funding opportunities for PAOs, the principles of effective PAO leadership, professionalization of public sector, and mutual recognition arrangements.
When opening the conference, Honorable Nhlanhla Nene, Deputy Minister of Finance underscored the role of the accounting profession in supporting Africa’s economic growth.
“The accounting profession has a critical role to play in Africa’s growth story,” Nene said. “Africa has shown dramatic growth and resilience in recent years, both economically and in terms of the accounting profession. The continent continues to have a growing influence in the global economy and its businesses are increasingly attractive as an international trade proposition. Professional accountants can help build capacity and develop capital markets on the continent.”
Delegates expressed their support for establishing a Regional Knowledge Center on Corporate Financial Reporting, and called for greater support for PAOs so that they can engage more effectively with the public sector. The need for improving standards leading to sound financial reporting and framework for micro entities was highlighted, including the establishment and strengthening of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)-compliant PAOs in all African countries.