Connecting Voices: Financial Management in the Arab World

Posted by Hisham Waly1


The World Bank’s Financial Management Unit in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region recently launched the Connecting Voices initiative (CV MENA) to promote improved financial management practices in both the public and private sectors. Its aim is to support the demands of citizens throughout the Arab World for better governance, a voice in public affairs, and social and economic inclusion. CV MENA plans to take advantage of the windows of opportunity for change that are now opening in the region. It will support capacity building in the area of financial management, facilitate the development of a professional community, and support the sharing and transfer of knowledge both within countries and across the region as a whole.

The CV MENA journey started in April 2013 with a Boot Camp in Lebanon "Control, Audit and Inspection in the Middle East" with participants from Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Morocco. Another Boot Camp in Egypt covered "Good Practices in Supreme Audit Institutions." Then, our two main events — “Public Financial Accountability in a Changing Environment” in Abu Dhabi, and “Strengthening Accountancy as a Foundation for MSME2 Sector Growth and Job Creation” in Jordan — drew nearly 500 participants from across the region.

To help communicate beyond those who attend CV MENA events we have launched a magazine Connecting Voices that is available electronically ( and in a print edition published four times a year. 5,000 copies of the magazine are being distributed around the MENA region and to select locations across the globe. This magazine is designed to share knowledge about public financial management, corporate financial reporting, and governance, together with features on current developments, articles, and books from around the region and the world.

The latest issue of the magazine includes an interview Richard Allen about his new book, The International Handbook of Public Financial Management, and his views on the status of PFM reform in the developing world. We also interview Renaud Seligmann, Manager of the World Bank’s West and Central Africa Financial Management Unit, to discuss PFM reform from the front lines of development. Manuel Vargas, Lead Financial Management Specialist in MENA, reflects on the development of financial management systems, specifically the internal audit function, for social safety net programs. And we also review two PFM Bank-funded operations in MENA.

We would welcome your feedback as we tweak and fine-tune the magazine over the next few issues. Please share your thoughts with us at


1 Sector Manager, Financial Management Unit, Middle East and North Africa Region, World Bank.

2 Micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises.

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