By Hugo Winters
After four months of rigorous planning including in-country preparatory workshops, 23 professionals from The Gambia, Malawi, Rwanda, and Uganda met in Germany on 28 August for the start of the Public Financial Management in Key Sectors training programme. While 12 of the participants hail from sector or finance ministries, the group furthermore includes officials from audit institutions and other oversight agencies like civil society or parliament.
The 18-week programme is structured in three phases: the first phase consists of a four week stay at the Hochschule für öffentliche Verwaltung (University of Public Management) in Kehl, Germany. Thereafter, participants will return to their jobs and start working on the implementation of transfer projects which are developed in a country-specific way during the training. As a third phase, a second four-weeks training session will take place at the School of Public Leadership, University of Stellenbosch in South Africa in mid-November.
GIZ in collaboration with its university partners conducted introductory workshops in each of the four countries for participants and representatives of their respective institutions. In these workshops, each country’s most salient PFM issues were analysed and discussed. Against this backdrop, all workshop participants formulated their training expectations; these were taken into account for the finalisation of the training’s content and methodology. The workshops therefore set the scene for a training that speaks to the specific needs of participants, their institutions and their countries. At the same time, they served to create a country-team spirit – these teams are considered a key element to ensure the effectiveness of the programme.
In Germany, the course schedule covers a broad variety of PFM issues, ranging from technical aspects like budgeting and accounting, to more systemic topics like the institutional setting of PFM and concepts of accountability. Many of the topics are being presented by expert practitioners during question-and-answer sessions that are carefully prepared by participants. In the first week, these expert sessions included a former finance minister of the German State of Baden-Württemberg, as well as budget reform experts from the federal and the municipal level. One of the four weeks is dedicated to visits to PFM-related institutions on the state level as well as to the European Parliament.
In an early round of feedback towards the end of the first week, participants from all country teams expressed their satisfaction with how things had started. Especially the peer exchange between countries and the engagement with experienced German practitioners were regarded as relevant and inspiring. But also the integrated approach to include all levels of the PFM system and the way the sessions are structured received much appreciation. Participants were looking forward to the weeks to come, expecting to acquire more PFM knowledge and new ways of thinking that can be applied to make a difference in their home countries.
For background information on the in-country preparation workshop, please read this article.
Contact: Dr Hugo Winters (email@example.com)