29 January 2016
The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) is developing an innovative pan-African standard in Good Financial Grant Practice (GFGP) for research and academic institutions and not for profit organisations.
The GFGP is an initiative being implemented under the AAS’ Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) and in partnership with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency and the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO).
GFGP seeks to reduce the burden of multiple audits for grant recipients who often have a number of funders and also provide real assurance that funds are well managed.
The initiative was launched with a ground breaking two-day workshop that saw 32 senior finance officials from 11 African countries gather at the AAS headquarters in Nairobi this week. These participants have started to map out what should be included in the new standard based on the good practice they have developed within their organisations over decades of working with a range of international funders.
Building support from key funders
AAS has already secured support for the development of the pan-African standard from two key funders: the Wellcome Trust and the UK’s Medical Research Council. Other key stakeholders like EDTCP, Inside NGO and Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) were observers at the workshop. The AAS is also holding a range of meetings and workshops in both the USA and Europe to engage other funders in developing the standard.
The GFGP standard will support the harmonisation of donor requirements, and include a web-based self-assessment tool for research and academic institutions and NGOs to rank their grant management capacity.
The GFGP will also involve the creation of a database to register grant recipients that meet the requirements to allow for funders to search for recipients that have already been assessed. The finance professionals from the 11 African countries at the first GFGP workshop, identified the following benefits that the initiative will bring to funders and grant recipients:
· The self-assessment tool will support local NGOs and research and academic institutions to recognise areas for improvement and take steps to build their grant management capacity and resilience.
· Donors will save time and money currently spent on pre-assessment audits, and have a wider pool of potential partners to work with at local level.
An African standard that aims to be adopted internationally
AESA Director Tom Kariuki says the initiative is Africa driven to build world class grant management capacities across the continent.
“This is an African driven agenda to address obvious shortcomings of financial governance but with the potential for a global impact.”
“A certification tool that will require organisations that receive grants to demonstrate the requisite professional and financial capacities to assure the funding partners and host country regulatory authorities will make African organisations even more attractive to funders and reduce the administrative burdens of having to undertake numerous separate annual audits demanded by a myriad of funders. Funders will, in turn, be assured that their funds are going to recipient organisations with certified capacities to manage the grants.”
AAS also announces strategic partnership with Mango
Alongside this inaugural workshop, the AAS and Mango, (also known as Management Accounting for NGOs), announced the launch of a strategic partnership. Mango is a NGO and charity dedicated to strengthening the financial management and accountability of NGOs and their partners worldwide. Mango will support the GFGP by contributing their extensive experience and expertise in training and capacity building of NGO across Africa and the world. Mango also aims to encourage other global initiatives, such as the World Humanitarian Summit, to consider supporting AAS and the GFGP as well.
Tim Boyes-Watson, Executive Director of Mango, said “Funders in diverse sectors like medical research and humanitarian aid have realised they need to work more with local organisations, but are wasting too much time and money getting the assurance they need. The solution to this global problem is coming from Africa. We are delighted to be able to contribute our experience and expertise to help AAS develop a standard for Africa, which will eventually be adopted globally.”
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Editors notes and contacts
About the AAS
The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) is a pan-African organisation headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, that recognises individuals who have reached the highest level of excellence in their field of expertise and have made contributions to the advancement of the field in the continent. These individuals are recognised on merit and designated as fellows of the Academy.
There are about 350 AAS Fellows and Associate Fellows who are proven science, technology and innovation leaders, policy advisors and thinkers most of whom live and work throughout the continent.
AESA is a platform for developing science strategies and funding health research in Africa that runs calls for proposals and proposal writing workshops, manages international and African grants and mentors grantees. It also serves as a think tank, setting and aligning an agenda for developing science in Africa. The AAS and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency created AESA.
About the NEPAD Agency
The NEPAD Agency is a technical arm of the African Union that works to promote pan-African socio-economic development. The agency played a key role in the development of the African Union’s Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa.
The African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) is Africa’s intergovernmental standards body formed by the African Union and UNECA to develop tools for standards development, standards harmonisation and to implement these systems to enhance Africa’s internal trading capacity, increase Africa’s product and service competitiveness globally, and uplift of the welfare of African consumers as well as standardisation forum for future prospects in international trade referencing.
Mango is a NGO and charity dedicated to strengthening the financial management and accountability of NGOs and their partners worldwide. They deliver award-winning financial management training, recruitment and consultancy services across the globe. They offer a wide range of free online tools, as well as a training bursary scheme for national NGOs. Mango also plays a key role in thought leadership and advocacy on sector-wide financial management issues.