The African Development Bank (AfDB) has called on Africans to stand together and effectively manage the continent’s vast resources to create wealth and improve lives.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the first cohort of the African Development Executive Training Programme, Vice-President and Chief Economist, Kevin Urama, emphasized the need for collective action and efficient resource management.
“Africans must stand together to mobilise and efficiently manage the resources required to enhance productivity and create wealth in Africa for Africans,” Urama declared. He addressed the graduating class of 52 public officials from 26 African countries, who completed the 18-month program focused on enhancing accountability, transparency, and curbing corruption in public finance management (PFM).
The event marked the graduation of the inaugural cohort from the AfDB’s Finance Management Academy (PFMA), a pioneering initiative aimed at promoting transparency, accountability, and the curbing of corruption and illicit financial flows across Africa. Urama commended the graduates as pivotal figures in Africa’s mission to uphold transparency and accountability within the Public Financial Management (PFM) ecosystems across nations and the continent at large.
He underscored the program’s success, revealing that 52 public officials from 26 countries completed the 18-month Capacity Development program, certifying them as PFM experts. The PFMA, approved by the AfDB Board of Directors in June 2022, focuses on strengthening African countries’ capacity in economic governance and knowledge management, enhancing wealth creation, and ensuring prudent management of public finances to uplift the quality of life for Africans.
Highlighting the continent’s natural resource abundance but financial limitations, Urama outlined the challenges posed by the mismanagement of public resources. He expressed concerns about Africa losing nearly $90 billion annually due to illicit financial flows, resource theft, and poorly implemented fiscal policies, fostering vulnerability to global market fluctuations.
Moreover, Urama stressed the need for practical experiences and shared learning among African countries and experts to improve PFM practices continent-wide. He reiterated the AfDB’s commitment to fostering peer-to-peer learning, integrating PFM programs tailored to each country’s reality.
Dr. Tope Fasua, the Special Adviser to Nigeria’s Vice President on Economic Affairs, commended the program’s curriculum, asserting its alignment with the needs of countries in enhancing the capabilities of public officials working in financial and debt management roles.
“Especially for the needs of our countries in upscaling the urgently needed knowledge and capability of public officials who work in government’s public financial and debt management functions.
“This graduation of deserving participants, which we are witnessing today, is a testament to the commitment of the Bank in responding to the needs of the regional member countries.
“To fast-track capacity development towards the achievement of the Bank’s High 5’s Agenda, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063,” Fasua said.
Isaac Kurasha, a participant from South Africa’s National Treasury, lauded the training’s impact, urging his colleagues to drive implementation and positive change in their respective countries. He emphasized the importance of complementing PFM training with effective planning, performance monitoring, gender mainstreaming, and climate change adaptation, urging further capacity development in these areas.
“Furthermore, gender mainstreaming requires attention, especially with respect to women’s economic empowerment, and so does climate change and its financing.
“I believe we need more capacity in these areas. I hope the African Development Institute is also looking into these subject areas for capacitation,” Kurasha said.
The graduation ceremony witnessed the participation of mid-to senior-level officials from finance ministries, central banks, public financial management institutions, anti-corruption agencies, and statistical offices across African countries.