India – Africa Strategic Partnership : Opportunities for the accounting profession

India – Africa ties

India and Africa have always shared a multifaceted relationship since ancient times. The geographical proximity between the two continents separated by an easily navigable Indian Ocean brought the people of the two regions nearer to each other through trade, commerce and human migration.

India and Africa also share a colonial past and a bright future – India is one of the world’s fastest growing economy and Africa is the continent where a number of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are located. In a rapidly evolving world, a country as diverse as India should be a partner of choice for a continent as diverse as Africa.

In an interaction with journalists as part of Media outreach for the Third India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS), Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi highlighted India’s approach towards partnership with Africa as one driven by the aim of empowerment, capacity building, human resource development, access to Indian market, and support for Indian investments in Africa, so that the people of Africa have the capacity to make their own free choices and the capability to shoulder the responsibility of their continent’s development.

About ICAI

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament of India, viz. The Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 to regulate the profession of Chartered Accountancy in India. The Institute, functioning under the administrative control of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India is the second largest professional body of Chartered Accountants in the world, with a strong tradition of service to the Indian economy in public interest.

ICAI in Africa

The ICAI already has chapters in six countries of the African continent, namely Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) have unilaterally recognised the Chartered Accountant qualification offered by the ICAI.

The international affairs committee of the ICAI continues to endeavor to facilitate technical co-operation and provide technical support to accounting regulatory bodies in the developing countries around the world.

The ICAI took small steps in this regard in 2011, when a statement of Bilateral Cooperation was entered into between the ICAI and University of Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti to assist them in establishment of a department of accountancy to offer a mid-tier certification programme on the lines of Accounting Technician Programme offered by the ICAI in India and an appropriate framework for establishment of a chartered accountancy programme was also presented. The successful execution of Djibouti Pilot Project was to provide a springboard to ICAI to catapult ICAI’s efforts in the African countries more vigorously.

Opportunities for ICAI – Africa cooperation

The  development  cooperation  between India  and  Africa is multidimensional and covering fields  such  as  agriculture,  small  and medium   enterprise,   science   and   technology,   health,   education, culture,  infrastructure,  energy,  communications,  civil  society,  and governance.

Capacity building measures & Technical co-operation

ICAI can assist the accounting regulatory bodies in the African continent by sharing capabilities in capacity building on the African continent including by way of technical assistance and training to personnel under the umbrella of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme of the Government of India.

Facilitation of delegation level meetings

ICAI regularly hosts delegations of accounting regularly bodies in India and sends it delegations to countries abroad in the spirit of enhanced cross-border people to people ties.

e-Governance

Electronic governance (e-governance) is the application of information and communication technology (ICT) for delivering government services, exchange of information, communication transactions, integration of various stand-alone systems and services between government-to-customer (G2C), government-to-business (G2B), government-to-government (G2G). India is one of the few developing countries where e-Governance has been holistically adopted by the Federal, Regional and local governments across governance practices especially in regulation of taxes and compliance of economic laws. ICAI owing to its experience in collaborating with various stakeholders in the Indian e-Governance ecosystem can effectively partner with African accounting bodies in development and implementation of e-Governance projects in African continent.

Conclusion

India-Africa partnership is beyond mere strategic and economic considerations and it extends to the human dimension through people to people interactions. To end it succinctly, “The 21st century belongs to India and Africa and the future is ours to shape and build.”

References

  1. Dubey, Ajay Kumar, “India-Africa relations: Historical goodwill and a vision for the future”.
  2. The Wire, “The India-Africa relationship is beyond strategic considerations”.
  3. ICAI Website, http://www.icai.org/.
  4. International Affairs Committee of ICAI, http://www.ia.icai.org/.

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