2nd ECOWAS AWBA Joint Congress Ends with A Call for Vital Actions to Stimulate Sustainable Development and Growth in West Africa
The congress acknowledged the pervasive ongoing disruption of the accountancy profession occasioned by the inevitable digital transformation associated with the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR)
By Jerry Laynumah Siakor, Liberia
LIBERIA: The 2nd ECOWAS AWBA Joint Congress, initiated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa (ABWA) in collaboration with the Liberian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (LICPA) Friday, March 19, 2022, ended with a call for vital actions to be taken to stimulate sustainable development and growth with the aim to attain prosperity in the West African region.
In a communique, the congress delegates acknowledged the global trend towards sustainability and the need for leaders and resource managers to place the survival of people and the planet above the drive for profit.
While noting the emerging negative challenges of climate change, the congress decried the situation in which corporate entities make abnormal profits and prosper at the expense of society.
This they said, has the ability to compromise the future generations in meeting their own needs.
It highlights the poor state of development of the West African sub-region despite its abundant natural and human resource endowments linking the said situation to the failure of leaders to leverage the unexplored huge potential of the sub-region to achieve its growth and development.
The congress communique urged the current political leaders to recommit themselves to the ideals of economic nationalism, service for the common good, and the promotion of people-oriented public policies, in order to change the narrative of the sub-region.
They recognized the strong positive relationship between the character of political leaders, good governance, and the pace of economic development as a keen factor in achieving holistic development. The delegates want citizens of the sub-region to become more socially active by playing a greater role in the recruitment process of their political leaders through the exercise of their franchise.
The communique called for political leaders to brace up to the reality of change both in terms of their attitude toward the practice of good governance, resource utilization and preservation of the environment and challenged citizens to take on the responsibility of holding their leaders to account. Noting “where there are no consequences for poor leadership, bad governance will thrive”.
On the issue of transparency and accountability, the delegates mentioned the need for open, transparent and accountable leadership as imperatives for sustainable development and regional prosperity.
“To avoid the possible emergence of the tragedy of the commons, the congress invites political and corporate leaders to embrace the idea of good governance, take responsibility for negative externalities, and stop the consumption of the region’s future in order to prosper on a sustainable basis. The current climate change makes this option inevitable imperative.” The communique indicated.
This congress held under the Theme: “Good Governance and Sustainable Development for Regional Prosperity,” also request professional accountants who are acknowledged experts in resource management to take up the challenge by becoming prime advocates for focused and purposeful leadership driven by open, equitable and inclusive governance and the observance of rule of law. Such an urgent strategic action by the accountancy profession is required to preclude the region from missing the train of economic and human progress the communique noted.
On the subject of illicit financial outflows and money laundering, congress recommends that nations in the sub-region continue to collaborate and collectively evolve strategies that will halt the pillage of their scarce resources and foreign exchange reserves, especially through illicit financial outflows and sharp practices.
The communique urged countries of the sub-region to leverage the huge resources of the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Inter-Governmental Action Against Money Laundering (GIABA) and other international agencies to reinforce their anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing strategies. And want governments of the sub-region to include the expertise of professional accountants in their respective countries to fight against these societal vices.
They also called for a collaborative effort between ECOWAS, ABWA and the African Union to tackle illicit financial flows as a crucial driver to achieving Africa’s financial independence as envisaged by the Africa Vision 2063.
The congress participants urged various governments in the sub-region to increase the productivity of their domestic resources, stir up trade and macroeconomic stability in order to eliminate poverty and inequality, vices that promote insecurity and inhibit investments.
They further urged professional accountants, as experts in share valuation and capital market practices, to facilitate inter-capital market cooperation so that they can finance huge capital-intensive projects in the sub-region. “We urged West African countries to leverage the instrumentally of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to accelerate the pace of growth of their capital markets to strive to be active players in AfCFTA in order to reap the associated benefits”.
They underscored the need for capacity building through training and retraining, especially of professional accountants as critical to the success of the transformation initiatives of governments of the sub-region.
The congress acknowledged the pervasive ongoing disruption of the accountancy profession occasioned by the inevitable digital transformation associated with the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) as well as the impact of COVID-19 pandemic-induced uncertainties and turbulence.
The communique urged professional accountancy organizations (PAOs) to engage in strategic thinking, revisit and update their pre-and post-qualification training curricula in order to technically empower new entrants and existing members for the emerging challenges that lie ahead.
Held at The Farmington Hotel in Harbel, Margibi County, Liberia, the congress lasted from March 16 to the 19 and attracted the attention of over 200 delegates comprising professional accountants, members of professional accountancy organizations (PAOs), knowledge experts, and related stakeholders and partners from 12 countries across West Africa.
In her closing remarks, ABWA president Madam Comfort Olu Eyitayo, thanked the LICPA for successfully hosting the 2022 congress and announced Ivory Coast as the next venue of the joint congress in 2024.
For his part, the president of the Liberian Institute of Certified Public Accountants Mr. Victor S.B.K Tanwone thanked the ABWA council for selecting Liberia to host the event for the first time ever which described a mark of historic achievement for the LICPA and Liberia as a country.
The Accountancy Bodies in West Africa was established in August 1982 in Lagos, Nigeria with the aim to develop and encourage professionalism in accountancy in West Africa, strengthen the accountancy profession in member countries, enhance technical competence and ethical standards of members among others.
ABWA is a member of the Pan-African Federation of Accountants (PAFA) a regional organization of professional accountants and accountancy bodies in Africa.