The UK Department for International Development (DFID) is to supply the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) with £4.935m ($8.254m) over seven years to strengthen professional accounting organisations (PAOs) in at least 10 developing countries from Asia, the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa.
Under the agreement, IFAC will facilitate, coordinate and supervise capacity building programmes and technical support, including peer-to-peer support by more established PAOs, including those in the UK.
IFAC chief executive officer Fayez Choudbury said that well-functioning PAOs ensure a sustainable supply of professional accountants.
"They support enhanced confidence in business and transparency in use of public funds, giving rise to increased foreign investment and donor funding and improved government accountability and transparency — and therefore are essential to economic growth and stability," Choudbury said.
The DFID has also agreed to work with the five global professional accountancy bodies from the UK to develop international accounting standards and skills, as part of its Investment Facility for Utilising Specialist Expertise (IFUSE) scheme.
IFUSE, managed by the DFID’s managing agent PwC, provides UK experts to developing countries to facilitate the development on a targeted sector. These assignments are short term, and IFUSE covers the deployment expenses.
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At a roundtable held in London attended by the international development secretary Justine Greening, three accounting projects were agreed upon and announced, all due to start in May.
First, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants will train the Ethiopian Ministry of Education in accountancy practise to ensure more officials are trained to international professional standards.
Second, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy will aid efforts to stop corruption in Nigerian government procurement, by training government bodies.
And third, the Institute of Charted Accountants England and Wales will review Zambia’s audit regulation to ensure it complies with the latest international accounting systems.
The other two UK global accountancy bodies, the Institute of Chartered accountants Scotland and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, are also members of IFUSE.
Commenting on these developments, Greening said the UK’s financial sector experience could boost development across the world.
"By helping developing countries to manage their own resources better and attract investment we can create the jobs and growth needed to lift people out of poverty," Greening said.