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The 20th AFROSAI-E Governing Board Meeting and 2024 Strategic Review, a pivotal moment in our collective journey

The Office of the Auditor General of Uganda played a crucial role in hosting the 20th AFROSAI-E Governing Board Meeting and 2024 Strategic Review from 6 to 9 May at the picturesque Speke Resort Munyonyo on the shores of Lake Victoria. Over 130 delegates attended the event, including the Auditors General from member SAI, their delegations of senior staff, and representatives from institutional partners, donor organisations, and key external stakeholders.

20th Governing Board Meeting

The event kicked off with a closed meeting for the members of the Governing Board on 6 May.

During the meeting, member Auditors General had the opportunity to not only reflect on the daily challenges but also propose innovative ways to address them. The external challenges, such as declining functional independence and political will to support SAIs, together with the requirements of ISSAI 140 (quality management for SAIs) and ISSAI 150 (auditor competence), necessitate a fundamental shift in our thinking. As leaders, we have the power to professionalise our organisations, implement strategic plans, develop staff competencies, and prioritise our development needs. Members engaged in a thoughtful discussion about the crucial role of organisational culture within the workplace. A robust culture ensures that employees are aligned with the institution’s goals, committed to upholding ethical standards and motivated to deliver high-quality audits. Furthermore, a positive culture fosters collaboration, innovation, and continuous improvement, which is vital for adapting to evolving challenges in the audit landscape.

When employees feel valued, respected, and supported, they are likelier to perform at their best. This, in turn, translates to greater performance for the SAI as it results in enhanced organisational effectiveness and ultimately contributes to the credibility and trustworthiness of the audit process. Therefore, investing in and nurturing a positive organisational culture is necessary for SAIs to fulfil their crucial role in promoting accountability and good governance.

The Governing Board made important decisions and approved the various annual reports and subcommittee resolutions to ensure that, as a region, we lead by example and comfort our donors and partners that the money and support they give are utilised effectively and in the best possible way.

2024 Strategic Review

The theme for this year’s Strategic Review was Vision 2029. Over the two days, we saw the benefit of shared knowledge in action. From the insightful addresses by our guest of honour, the Minister of Finance Planning and Economic Development, Hon Henry Musasizi, and influential keynote speakers to the stimulating panel sessions and breakaway discussions, participants delved into crucial issues and collectively envisioned the opportunities and challenges that the next five years will bring. These discussions have set the course for our future endeavours and will undoubtedly shape the direction of our organisation.

The insightful remarks and positive provocations by the honourable guests during the opening ceremony were highly relevant to our discussions this week. They urged us to deepen our engagement with stakeholders to close the expectation gap, enhance audit impact, especially around service delivery, and contribute to anti-corruption efforts in our region.

These sentiments were also echoed by the perspectives from the Civil Society, the African Union Commission, and Afrobarometer, who all urged us to consider the data they have access to on citizens’ needs and real-world experiences regarding service delivery and the progress made on the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union Agenda 2063.

Outcomes of our Meeting

The theme of engaging our stakeholders effectively to increase our impact and strengthen our independence emerged as a cornerstone of our discussions. These engagements are pivotal in fostering effective collaboration with our donors and partners, ensuring a mutual understanding of each other’s mandates, challenges, and reporting requirements. The formal and informal discussions between SAIs and donors this week have bolstered our commitment to implementing the 2023 SAI-Donor Audit Conference resolutions, underscoring the importance of delegate contributions.

As we deliberated on the emerging technologies, we were again reminded that digital transformation is not a choice but a critical necessity. It’s about leveraging technology to drive efficiency, enhance transparency, and improve accountability. From embracing data analytics and artificial intelligence to adopting cloud computing and automation, we must harness the power of digital tools to fulfil our mandates effectively.

The pace of technological change is unprecedented, reshaping the way governments operate and citizens receive public services. To stay ahead of the curve, we must embrace innovation and adapt to new methodologies and techniques. This entails investing in digital skills development, fostering a culture of continuous learning, and adopting agile approaches to auditing.

By embracing digital transformation, we can enhance our audit methodologies, increase audit coverage, and deliver greater value to stakeholders. Whether through real-time data analysis, predictive modelling, or interactive reporting, digital tools enable us to provide timely insights and recommendations that drive meaningful change.

Furthermore, by harnessing technology, we can strengthen our engagement with citizens, foster transparency, and build public trust and confidence in the integrity of government institutions. By leveraging digital platforms for communication and outreach, SAIs can ensure that their findings are accessible and understandable to all stakeholders.

The outcomes of our discussions this week, especially the breakaway discussions on these two key issues, will be important contributions to the new AFROSAI-E Strategy for the region, which will drive our capacity-building efforts over the next five years.

Conclusions

In her closing remarks, the AFROSAI-E Chairperson, Ms Nancy Gathungu (Auditor General of Kenya), said: “This annual event gives us a springboard to continue delivering on our mandates through sharing best practices and learning from each other. It motivates us to continue giving our best. I urge you, therefore, to let us use what we have gained from these interactions to improve our SAIs. Let us continue building synergy together. Remember, as the saying goes, if you want to go fast, walk alone. If you want to go far, walk together. As AFROSAI-E, let us continue walking together.”

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to AG John Muwanga and the Office of the Auditor General of Uganda team for their phenomenal hospitality, synonymous with the Pearl of Africa.

Our next Governing Board and Strategic Review Meeting will be held in Seychelles from 12 to 16 May 2025.

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