Strengthening the Public Accounts Committees in Southern and Eastern Africa (SADCOPAC and EAAPAC).

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This is a blog post by Paulina Biernacka of the World Bank Parliamentary Strengthening Programme.

In 2010, the World Bank Parliamentary Strengthening Program and the GIZ launched a four year long program titled the “Capacity Building to Strengthen Good Financial Governance in Southern and Eastern Africa” to support the Southern African Development Committee Organisation of Public Accounts Committees (SADCOPAC) and the Eastern African Association of Public Accounts Committees (EAAPAC). 

The program intended to contribute to good financial governance, accountability and transparency in African countries by strengthening the capacities of Public Accounts Committees (PACs). It aimed at enhancing the exchange of experience and peer learning among PAC members and their staff to contribute to the effectiveness of PACs’ overall work, including their relation with the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI).  The specific objectives of the program were: (i) improve the individual capacity of the PAC members; (ii) share good practices and innovation, harmonize and standardize where appropriate; (iii) conduct research on new good practices; (iv) enhance working relations with the Supreme Audit Institutions; and (v) develop strategic planning.

To enhance the learning and exchange of experiences between and within the two networks, the development partners integrated various methodologies into the program framework, such as: peer learning, coaching and mentoring; establishing a Community of Practice; and specific action learning processes. The program also incorporated into its operations a Peer Review Assist mechanism, a Clerk Attachment Program and network Secretariat strengthening mechanisms.

During the four year program, the various activities brought together more than 600 participants who took part in more than one event. The highlight of each year was the Annual SADCOPAC/ EAAPAC Accountability Conference where the member states adopted a set of Resolutions and developed country specific Action Plans.

Throughout the duration of the program, the development partners monitored the resolution implementation status, as well as collected value creation stories  in order to find a direct connection between the program activities and the improved PAC/ SAI performance thus identified the outcomes which could be directly connected to a specific network activity.

The program has contributed to the enhanced performance among the SADCOPAC and EAAPAC member states in the following areas: developing partnerships with relevant accountability stakeholders; PAC Operations; performance audits; audit reports; PAC recommendations follow up procedure; procurement; budget process and Parliamentary Budget Offices; public hearings; anticorruption; PAC and the Executive relations; SAI independence; and South-South learning/ Members’ capacity building.

For specific country examples, please click here.