Press Release Center for Audit Excellence and USAID Sign First-of-Its-Kind Agreement to Strengthen International Accountability
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 25, 2016) – In a move to enhance accountability across the globe, representatives of the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) Center for Audit Excellence and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that establishes a framework for collaboration on training and technical assistance efforts. The goal of the agreement is to enhance the capabilities of audit organizations in developing countries and it was signed at a ceremony at USAID headquarters.
“Today’s memorandum of understanding will help GAO and USAID advance a shared interest in strengthening accountability institutions around the world,” said Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO.
“Independent, professional audit offices are a vital part of sound public financial management systems. This agreement will foster closer cooperation between our two organizations in order to help develop audit offices that are capable of fighting corruption, ensuring transparency, and promoting public trust,” Dodaro added.
The MOU will leverage the Center’s audit expertise as well as USAID’s in-depth knowledge of the environment in developing countries to help improve auditing capacity.
The goal is to help audit offices in developing countries hone their skills in order to produce high-quality work on a regular basis and assume an effective oversight role. Capable audit institutions can also assist national efforts to track the progress of government activities undertaken to support sustainable development goals.
The MOU notes that the Center and USAID are well-positioned to work together because they bring complementary expertise and skills to the task of building audit community capacity. A next step in collaboration will be the establishment of a mechanism, such as a committee comprised of representatives from both organizations, to coordinate activities, share information, identify capacity development opportunities, and explore financial, logistical and technical contributions to such efforts. The MOU was signed by James-Christian Blockwood, GAO Managing Director for Strategic Planning and External Liaison, and USAID Deputy Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt.
GAO’s Center for Audit Excellence was established last year to provide training, technical assistance, and related services to domestic and international accountability organizations. To ensure high-quality services while providing independence from GAO units doing routine audit and oversight work, the Center is staffed primarily by former senior-level GAO auditors and managers. Fees collected are used to support the Center’s operations.
Dodaro expressed his appreciation to staff at both agencies for their efforts to develop and finalize the agreement, noting the contributions of Blockwood, Lenhardt, and USAID Chief Financial Officer Reggie Mitchell.
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The Government Accountability Office, known as the investigative arm of Congress, exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities. GAO also works to improve the performance of the federal government and ensure its accountability to the American people. The agency examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. GAO’s commitment to good government is reflected in its core values of accountability, integrity, and reliability.
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