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IIA Chairman Optimistic About Internal Auditing in Africa

During July and August, IIA Global Chairman of the Board Phil Tarling spent 22 days in Africa visiting established and prospective IIA Institutes and meeting with key internal audit stakeholders and government officials. Prompted by recent developments that highlight the need for strengthening the professional practice of internal auditing in the region, Tarling’s trip included visits to eight countries: Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, and Mozambique.

“Africa is on the verge of massive economic development,” explains Tarling, who describes Africans as the consumers of tomorrow. “Many of the countries are performing extremely well, business is expanding, and government organizations are beginning to recognize the need for internal auditing and good governance.”

During Tarling’s tour, he met with a number of government officials who voiced an eagerness to expand the presence of internal auditing in the region. In Zimbabwe, for example, the Minister of State-owned Companies said he planned to pursue mandating internal auditing for all state-owned companies. In Ghana, the Public Accounts Committee chair pledged to become a member of The IIA and encourage other local secretaries and ministers to do the same. The Mozambique Minister of Finance acknowledged that developing internal auditing in the country would be an important step in bringing accountability to government during this critical time, when the country’s government resources are growing rapidly. “It’s clear that the message is getting through that internal auditing is needed, that it’s a key component of good governance,” says Tarling.

However, that acknowledgement is merely the beginning of great things to come out of Africa, he predicts. “With guidance from IIA Global and more mature Institutes around the world, we will be able to help the Institutes in Africa, who are at the beginning of their journey, influence the way that internal auditing is adopted in a number of countries. In fact, African countries are well positioned to avoid the mistakes of the developed world — the company scandals that prompted legislators to elevate the need for internal auditing and good governance — and go straight to implementing effective internal auditing and embracing its key role in helping to achieve good governance.”

View the AuditChannel video in which Tarling describes his trip to Africa.