The Swiss government has thrown its sustained support into the promotion of strong and respected public finance management throughout Africa.
In terms of a three-year agreement, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), within its Economic Co-operation and Development Division, is to make a contribution of CHF2-million (more than R26-million) to the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI), a peer-learning and exchange network for senior budget managers working in African finance and planning ministries.Thirteen African countries are official CABRI members, and around 30 others interact regularly with the organisation.
A contract will be signed today, 31 July 2015, between Neil Cole, CABRI’s executive secretary, and Markus Schrader, head of the Swiss Economic Co-operation and Development to South Africa.
This contribution will assist CABRI to implement its bold 2015-18 strategic plan, which prioritises support to African senior budget managers to improve budget credibility, develop and share good practices in the region, develop common African positions on public finance management reforms, and build capacity through peer learning and knowledge development.
“Robust and transparent public finance management is crucial for countries to make economic headway, and offer their citizens a better life. For that to happen, budget officials have to be empowered with the appropriate knowledge and skills, and have the correct structures in place – and that’s where CABRI comes in,” says Cole.
“CABRI’s vision is to ensure that public financial resources are managed with integrity, transparency and accountability for efficient and effective service delivery, sustainable economic growth and development across Africa.
“For the past decade we have built public finance management knowledge and capacity across the continent, and we are now expanding our efforts substantially, both geographically and in terms of our three-year strategic plan. This generous support from SECO, for which we are most grateful, will assist us to give effect to our ambitious strategy.”
CABRI aims to support strong public finance management and deepen its influence across Africa through:
● Promoting efficient and effective financial management within budget planning and spending on public programmes
● Strengthening budget transparency and accountability throughout the public finance management cycle
● Improving budget credibility by building finance ministries’ organisational, implementation and analytical capabilities
Says Schrader: “One of SECO’s five priorities is to strengthen economic and financial policy, which in turn underpins the other four – improvement of urban infrastructure, supporting the private sector, promoting sustainable trade and fostering climate-friendly growth.
“Encouraging good public finance management derives a variety of positive results: budget officials devise robust systems that are appropriate to their context; well-established processes ensure that budgets have credibility, in turn promoting fiscal credibility and transparency, and thus greater investment and public compliance; and service delivery improves thanks to better tax collection.
“Through an organisation such as CABRI, SECO is able to spread its support for strong public finance management far and wide. And as CABRI understands the contexts of its members – who also all play their part in positively influencing and teaching each other – it is best placed to make a critical difference.”