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Iraq : Public Financial Management Project

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Introduction to Audit workshop delivered - Photo Credit: Mona El-Chami, World Bank

Boosting Governance by Building Expertise at the Board of Supreme Audit


Iraq faces steep challenges in improving governance and accountability and combating corruption, and the World Bank is helping through a project to help improve training programs for staff at the Board of Supreme Audit (BSA). Iraq’s BSA, with staff of 2,500, has turned to the World Bank-administered Iraq Trust Fund and a Bank public financial management program to better understand its training needs and put in place appropriate measures that should help improve its capacity to fight corruption.


BSA’s huge training program has suffered in the past from being overly-large and not well targeted. As a result, efforts to develop the capacity of BSA as an institution, and capacity building of BSA staff, was not efficient nor effective questioning the ability of BSA to fulfill its role and mandate.


The BSA “training-the-trainers” program has been designed to provide it with a more systematic capacity building approach, primarily through the training of 25 master trainers. Previous training initiatives with various partners had been undertaken, however the value and impact of those initiatives was not apparent, and the need for major capacity building continued. The Bank followed an approach that includes: (i) self-assessment of the BSA capacity and training needs with support by the Bank for more objectivity; (ii) consultative relationship and mutual trust built between the Bank and the BSA; (iii) engaging a local consultant (for easy and efficient access to the BSA) and an expert in Supreme Audit Institutions (iv) using real cases from the BSA work to explain and document the adopted approach and practice; (v) simultaneous interpretation facilities and video recording during workshops; and (vi) developing training impact measurement skills.


The BSA program was designed to provide a sustainable and measurable systematic training capacity, but this effort, like many others, faces considerable obstacles in the form of security and institutional capacity problems in Iraq. Every step therefore is a considerable achievement. Results so far include:

  • Capacity and training needs assessment conducted in record time and adopted by BSA ;
  • A multi-phased training-the-trainers program agreed upon and launched ;
  • Twenty-five qualified master trainers on board ;
  • Two workshops conducted so far and thus 200 training days delivered.

Bank contribution

The Bank believes that Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) are key country partners uniquely situated to combat corruption, enhance transparency, and sharpen attention on economic efficiency and effectiveness. The Bank has therefore continuously played a capacity building role at the SAIs at the country, regional, and international levels. The Bank’s overall financing to support SAIs has reached US$150 million. In Iraq, the Bank’s contribution to social and economic development is around US$100 million over the last six years, out of which over US$25 million has been allocated to public financial management, including over US$2 million to help the BSA develop a sustainable train-the-trainer program.


The Bank liaised with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to get its assessment of the BSA capacity following a separate UNDP training program. This program was financed through an Iraq Trust Fund grant of US$4.5 million. The Bank had coordinated with the National Audit Office of the UK, which provided the BSA additional training. The BSA is contributing by financing the participation of a supervisory commission from among its top managers in all workshops and through the translation of documents.

Toward the Future

The BSA program has not been concluded yet, and the next step will entail the 25 master trainers starting training programs with others in the BSA. The adopted practices will be documented and used as the basis for new manuals. The BSA is building a training center and the training department manager will receive instruction on how to measure training impact and evaluate the benefits.


In addition to the BSA staff that will benefit from the improvement in training standards and approaches within the organization, the people of Iraq themselves stand to be the ultimate beneficiaries if the BSA can play its part in combating corruption through the more rigorous auditing of government expenditures.

For more information, please visit the Projects website.

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