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TOP Congrès : a conference for TOP young people


On 28-29 June, the Association of Supreme Francophone Audit Institutions (AISCCUF) organised the first AISCCUF conference for young people. Approximately 50 people under 45 years of age with less than 5 years of experience attended; they were extremely motivated and came from more than 20 different SAIs.

Named the “Top Congrès”, this event was conceived by the General Secretariat of AISCCUF, run by the French Cour des comptes and endorsed by the World Bank and European Union.
The event was truly innovative for AISCCUF who have been organising ‘conventional’ professional seminars for over 20 years. Whilst having a convivial environment, “Top Congrès” still undeniably promoted the sharing of experiences and encouraged the younger participants to commit themselves to being the driver of change in their institutions.
There was a fantastic turnout: 22 Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI) sent a total of 48 participants. The First President of the French Cour (Secretary General of AISCCUF) was represented by Rémi Frentz, Director of International Relations, External Audit and Francophonie at the French Cour des comptes, who oversaw the co-ordination and the general organisation of the event.
During the conference, the wisest representatives presented their vision on the role of a Cour des comptes: Mr Sansan Kambile, Keeper of the Seals, Minister of Justice and Human Rights; Mr Moussa Sanogo, Secretary of State to the the Prime Minister, in charge of State Budget and Portfolio; Mrs Isabelle Niamkey, Lawyer, member of the Professional    Civil Lawyers Society, member of the Ivory Civil Society platform; Mr Gui Hervé Serode,  Deputy of the National Assembly, member of the Economic and Financial Affairs Committee (CAEF). Their outside perspective and professional experience provided great contributions to the discussions. As youths represent the future of our institutions, the wise representatives and the event organisers called for the creation of a network of young French-speaking professionals.
The impact of SAI activities on citizens was an overarching theme for “TOP Congrès”.  By means of four interactive and innovative workshops, this conference tackled central issues for citizens:

How can we explain the value added of our institution to our sister, neighbour or favourite merchant?

The first workshop was dedicated to the subject of communication and the candidates had to demonstrate their oratory skills. While it seems clear to everyone that good communication is an important objective, according to the participants, one must communicate wisely, carefully choose one’s targets and use specific and simplified language. As well as open days at the institutions, that are not yet widespread, awareness raising projects aimed at youths (specifically college or sixth form students) or more fun projects (“my musical report”) have been proposed.

Can we accept gifts from an auditee, audit a family member or express our opinions on social media?

The second workshop was dedicated to the subject of ethics. We asked each group to explain what they deemed acceptable in the context of a potential real-life scenario. This workshop, led by a representative of the Portuguese Cour des comptes who chairs EUROSAI (an organisation dedicated to ethics) discussed various ethical questions in a light-hearted way. The participants seemed very concerned about this question and were quick to offer solutions to situations with conflicts of interest. A bonus of this workshop was the fact that all the questions were sent to the President of the Chamber, who is the point of reference for our young colleagues.

How can our work enlighten policy makers?

The third workshop was dedicated to our relationship with Parliament. The candidates simulated a successful parliamentary hearing about adapting to the impact of climate change. An Ivorian parliamentarian contributed to the discussion by sharing his experience of the way the National Assembly and the Ivorian Cour des comptes interact.

How can we contribute to the bettering of our practice?

The last workshop was dedicated to innovations. The participants identified numerous key words to characterise their ideal version of the Cour des comptes in 2030: dynamic, progressive, relevant, efficient, communicative, inclusive, influential, connected, honest, independent, exemplary, and citizen-friendly! Many ambitious yet realistic proposals for planning, conducting of audits, and the monitoring of work all emerged from the discussions. Our participants hope that by 2030 a realistic yearly plan will finally exist accessible for citizens. For audits, they want to make all processes paperless and better integrate international standards into their work. Finally, for monitoring, they propose to appoint one person to monitor and implement the recommendations of each audit and communicate the results via more user-friendly video presentations that are easily accessible.
It should be noted that all the groups were very involved in the role-playing games within the different workshops. It was very difficult to choose a winner. The winning groups were awarded a prize and the best work will be shown to the General Assembly of the Association to be held in Niamey on 21-22 November 2018.
For more information on the conference, a Facebook page has been created (“AISCCUF Top Congrès”) and extracts of the best performances will be gradually uploaded to the page.

1 In French, « Tonique » « Opérationnel » and « Performant » the abbreviation signifies the best of their kind and the respective adjectives translate as vibrant, reliable, and efficient.

2 Algeria, Belgium, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, France, Gabon, Guinea, Haiti, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Portugal, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia, WAEMU.