Rising Africa: 3rd ACOA event encourages collaboration to improve quality of life in Africa
Mauritius had the honour of hosting the 3rd Africa Congress of Accountants (ACOA), a platform for finance professionals to share accounting and auditing best practices and innovations to increase accounting credibility in Africa, together with growing their network and sharing their experiences with professionals all over Africa and the rest of the world. (Image: Wazna Gunga)
Mauritius hosted the 3rd Africa Congress of Accountants (ACOA) on the 11-14 May 2015 at the Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre (SVICC), with delegates hailing from 42 countries across Africa.
As many as 133 delegates hailed from Nigeria, followed by Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, which accounted for 75, 52 and 50 delegates respectively.
The event was organised by the Mauritius Institute of Professional Accountants (MIPA) with the conference being a perfect fit for the government’s vision and ambitions for Africa.The ACOA event also served as a golden opportunity for Mauritian accountants and auditors to share best practices, network with and learn from professionalsacross Africa and the rest of the world.
The theme, “Rising Africa: Partnering for results”, had eminent accounting experts debating hot topics relating to Africa and proposing solution-based reforms along the lines that the profession should partner with the public and private sectors institutions to accelerate its contribution to Africa’s economic growth with the ultimate aim of improving the lives of African citizens.
Mauritius’ Deputy Prime Minister, Xavier-Luc Duval, inaugurated the Congress by declaring that accountants and auditors must use their time at the event to think about their role and how they can improve upon their skills. He added that robust financial institutions play a vital role in the success of a country and emphasised how it affects future growth. He referred to Africa as the most prominent continent in the world, and noted that Mauritius must partner with other African economies for mutual development.
The plenary session comprised discussions pertaining to managing Africa’s resources for the benefit of Africans with public sector accountability, with panelist members declared that Nigeria and Angola are the main producers of oil and gas in Africa, accounting for over 85% of production.Overall, Africa is well endowed with natural resources, but accountants have not taken responsibility to accelerate progress and prosperity.
The panelists also discussed the two main resources that create wealth in Africa — agriculture and mining —but also noted that abundance of natural resources by itself cannot transform an economy.Technology and knowledge are also needed to take an economy to great heights, with China being taken as an example, with BCC News having announced at a global level that China has successfullyundertaken the journey from resources to wealth.
Caption from left to right: General Sebastian Owuama,Dr Mathias Mpande Zambia, Matthews Kunaka and Tonay Hegarty.
Finally there was a question mark on “Africa resources, whether are for Africa or not”, with objective for Africa resources remains for African indigenous. The discussion closed with saying that skill and capital formation are the most important acid to manage.
Moving to the panelist discussion on public sector governance and reporting in Africa, the session focused on effective public sector governance and how it contributes to improved decision-making and the efficient of resources.
Caption from left to right: Ian Ball, Pius A.Maneno, Anthony Robinson, Pretorius Wessel, and Fayez Choudhury
Africa needs creative leaders and must forge a strong partnership between private and public sectors,noted the members of the panel.In addition, accountants must provide useful insights on what could happen in the future with certain systems and processes in place, rather than simply comment in hindsight on what has happened in the economy.
For such in-depth analysis, information must be made available, and the role of the government is to achieve the requisite outcome, address issues and amend regulations by the necessary interventions.
Finally, Africa must demonstrate its commitment to change, said the members during the course of the discussion.
Another concurrent session revolved around Africa’s role in international standard setting, with panelists highlighting that there is a need to set up a discussion around financial standards like IFRS and challenge the process. A country does not need to be big in size to voice out its concerns, where there is only one chance to make an impression and brainstorm the solution that answers all concerns.
Caption:Chishala Kateka, Cedric Gerald, Nambayo Kalaluka, Darrel Scott,Erna Swart
Finally, the panels also noted that, as the world becomes a global village, there is the added comfort that results in one area are easily comparable with other areas, with Africa being in a position to leverage auditing and accounting expertise from other regions of the world.
Besides, there were other panel discussions as well pertaining to public finance management, regional cooperation, mutual recognition agreements and the future of corporate reporting and corruption in Africa.
The key takeaway from this Congress is that the success of a country depends on the strength of its institutions.An emerging continent must rise to challenges such as the right leadership to convert economic growth into sustainable development for the future, and must comprehend the importance of public sector and private sector cooperation.
In conclusion, this conference opens up new horizons for the accounting profession and allows it to have another perspective on accounting,the African perspective.Through this Congress, Mauritius was fortunate to position itself well on the continent, in particular as a platform to help the accounting profession develop in Africa.It was decided at this event that the next ACOA will be held in Uganda in 2017.
By Wazna Gunga