Exploring the “Unknown Unknowns” – Public finance experts deliberate on Good Financial Governance in Africa


Exploring the “Unknown Unknowns” – Public finance experts deliberate on Good Financial Governance in Africa

July 2017,by Friedmut Abel


Access to public services such as education, healthcare and sanitation are essential for the overall wellbeing of people.  Public services provide the most common interface between people and the state, and their functioning shapes people’s sense of trust in and expectations of government. In order for governments to provide such services, public funds need to be managed well. Yet many African countries face great challenges when it comes to the good governance of public finances.


The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Government and other commissioning parties like the European Union provides numerous services for sustainable development, including projects on Good Financial Governance (GFG). About 40 GIZ projects worldwide assist countries in improving their Public Financial Management (PFM) in order to foster welfare and progress for a decent life.


As a way of keeping up to date with national and international developments, GIZ public finance experts from twelve African countries gathered in Pretoria, South Africa, to deliberate on good financial and resource governance. During the two-day workshop, current trends, experiences and lessons learnt were shared. In addition, synergies for cooperation and joint actions between the projects were explored.


A central theme was the mutual exchange on common challenges and opportunities in African public finance reforms. This included discussion with the four partner networks of the regional GFG in Africa programme: the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI), the African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI) represented by its English-speaking language group AFROSAI-E as well as the African Organisation of Public Accounts Committees (AFROPAC).


The workshop also provided a platform for presentations and discussions on topical issues of public finance and GFG. The participants exchanged views and experiences on tax and transfer systems diagnostics, transfer pricing risk assessment tool in the mining sector, and the effects of population dynamics on local public finances.


Much attention was given to the link between the Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and public finances in Africa. It included a presentation on the role of taxes to achieve the SDGs, as well as experiences from the GIZ programmes in Benin and the regional GFG in Africa programme on the mainstreaming of the SDGs. This was followed by an expert panel discussing the role of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for budget, oversight, and resource mobilisation.


The GIZ Cooperation Workshop on GFG in Africa enabled public finance experts to have a concrete, work-related exchange so as to explore synergies and potentials to coordinate and leverage work on the bilateral and regional levels. It further allows GIZ and its partners to continue developing solutions for better PFM systems in order to meet the high demand for basic public services on the African continent.


For further information on the GFG in Africa programme please visit our webpage or click here to view our video.


Contact: Dr Barbara Dutzler (


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