​The Amazing Growth of Internal Audit in Africa​

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In my role as the Global CEO of The IIA, I have the great privilege of traveling and meeting people in different sectors and industries from all over the world. Today I embark on a journey to Africa, where I will address the national conference of IIA–Zimbabwe and assist in various programs at IIA–South Africa, among other things. I'd like to dedicate this blog to our colleagues in Africa, who have every reason to be proud of how far the profession has come in the last 10 years alone.

The story of the past decade has been remarkable. As IIA 2012-2013 Global Chairman Phil Tarling reported on his visit to Africa last year, the internal audit profession is thriving in almost every country on the continent. Consider these impressive statistics:

  • The number of IIA institutes on the continent (24) has doubled since 2002.
  • Membership (16,062) has quadrupled.
  • There are 4,109 individuals in Africa with IIA certifications including: 2,827 Certified Internal Auditors (CIAs), 733 Certifications in Control Self-assessment (CCSAs), 335 Certifications in Risk Management Assurance (CRMAs), 122 Certified Financial Services Auditors (CFSAs), and 92 Certified Government Auditing Professionals (CGAPs).
  • Among the countries where there is an IIA institute, 14 have laws or regulations that mention The IIA's International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing.

The African Federation of Institutes of Internal Auditors (AFIIA) was formed in 2009 to share information and address common concerns and issues. This kind of collaboration is a good example of the depth and quality of the internal audit profession on the African continent.

And that, as they say, is just the tip of the iceberg. Dr. Claudelle von Eck, CEO of IIA–South Africa, writes that the University of Pretoria this year launched the equivalent of an MBA program for internal audit leaders, in partnership with one of the country's premier business schools and Erasmus University in the Netherlands. Entry into the program requires a CIA certification. They currently have 58 students enrolled.

IIA–South Africa also holds a seat on the South Africa Public Sector Audit Committee Forum's (PSACF) executive committee, the body responsible for training audit committees, providing guidance to audit committees, and maintaining a database of individuals eligible to sit on public sector audit committees. The PSACF issued its first set of guidance this year, including one devoted exclusively to internal audit.

IIA–South Africa also has been granted official professional body status by the South African Qualifications Authority, a prestigious recognition with an extensive vetting process.

We at The IIA are proud to be part of the efforts to grow the profession in Africa. A strong internal audit function and strong internal controls, particularly those addressing key risks such as corruption in the public sector, are critical to maintaining the confidence of citizens and the capital markets. I think our institutes in Africa are doing an amazing job of spreading the word.

I'm looking forward to meeting with our pioneering colleagues in Africa, and I plan to check in during my travels with my firsthand observation while I'm there. I hope you will join me in celebrating their success by responding with your words of congratulations and encouragement.

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