The Good Financial Grant Practice (GFGP) iS a new PROGRAMME under the AESA platform that will involve the development of a pan African standard.
An International Financial Governance Consortium (IFGC) was founded in January2012 by some major funders of medical research and international aid in Africa, namely the Medical Research Council (MRC,UK), the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), the Wellcome Trust (WT) and the Swedish Development Agency(Sida). The consortium subsequently expanded to include many European and US funders of research and not-for-profit development aid programmes in Africa.
The objectives of the IFGC were to identify, and agree ways for funders to have a more integrated approach for addressing the financial management challenges faced by both funders and fund recipients in Africa.
Common challenges identified included funders independently carrying out pre –award assessments, having different reporting requirements, and separately undertaking post project audits. This resulted in recipients having multiple assessments, multiple audits, and inconsistent requirements from funders. All of which puts additional strain on recipient institutions’ finance functions which are typically under-funded and under-resourced. The obvious deficiency in the whole ecosystem is that there is no universally accepted version of what constitutes “best practice” for the management of funds awarded to recipients.
As a consequence, the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council (UK) have agreed to fund a new initiative within the AESA platform, called the “Good Financial Grant Practice” Programme.
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) has endorsed the GFGP Programme as a key enabling capability for African fund recipients and the development of the new pan African standard of Good Financial Grant Practice has been adopted as a New Work Item by the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO).
Key deliverables of this initiative
• A pan-African standard of “Good Financial Grant Practice (GFGP)” will be developed and agreed by a quorum of funders and recipients, which is suitable for implementation in recipient institutions in Africa.
• A Financial Management Assessment Tool (GFGP - FMAT),will be developed, which recipients will use to self-assess their capabilities against the GFGP standard.
• Funders will have access to a searchable data base of these FMAT assessments.
• Commercial audit companies will obtain accreditation of their GFGP certification process.
• Pan- African adoption of the GFGP standard will ultimately lead to a process of certification of the financial functions of institutions. This will enable funders to be confident that an institution is operating to GFGP standards and thus reduce the burden of multiple audits and financial assessments.
• It is planned that the GFGP Standard and GFGP - FMAT tool will be equally applicable across all sectors such as Governmental and Charitable funded national and international aid programmes in Africa and other Low to Middle Income Countries.
• Reduction in the burden of audits and associated costs for fund recipients and their institutions.
• Recipients and Institutions will have uniform guidelines and standards to follow.
• Institutions will be able to assess their financial capability and competency and apply for capacity development funds to strengthen their finance functions.
• A mechanism for sharing the GFGP - FMAT information amongst funders which will not only avoid replication of pre-award assessments of recipients but also provide a resource for identifying common needs for financial capability training and development.
• Reduction in administration costs for funders and increased assurance that their funding is being used as intended.
• Harmonisation and standardisation of pre award assessments and financial governance should lead to identifying opportunities for standardising a significant proportion of funder reporting requirements.
The Final Draft African GFGP Standard will be published and ready for adoption on a pan-African basis towards the end of 2017. Subject to securing additional funding, the GFGP-FMAT tool and associated dbase will be available for the launch of the new standard.