Building stronger institutions: Mano River Union (MRU) Adopts International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS)

Building stronger institutions: Mano River Union (MRU) Adopts International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS)
June 5, 2018 1:37 pm Blog

Increasing demand from stakeholders for greater transparency and accountability of public sector entities has fueled interest in financial reporting reform. The current global shift is towards the adoption of a more effective financial reporting framework relevant to the public sector. International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) is globally recognized as the preeminent accounting standards for public sector bodies. Adopting IPSAS enhances relevance, comparability and consistency in public sector financial reporting.
The Mano River Union (MRU), a regional body and partner to the USAID-funded West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) program, is part of this drive for reform and is set on achieving higher operational standards. This prompted MRU to request support from the WA BiCC program to help upgrade its institutional accounting system to incorporate increased transparency and compliance, which would also help attract donor funding.

To do this, WA BiCC first conducted a Gaps Assessment of the institution’s current accounting and financial management system to identify the issues that need to be addressed, before transitioning to the new IPSAS compliant accounting system. Next, WA BiCC helped develop the MRU International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) Guidelines to serve as a reference point on technical accounting issues for the secretariat and satellite offices. The Revised Accounting and Financial Procedures Manual details all the policies relevant to the financial operations of the organization for MRU to guarantee that its operations are in accordance with sound and internationally acceptable practices.

To ensure the new IPSAS procedures are implemented according to the manual, WA BiCC hosted a three-day training workshop, which was attended by the MRU Secretary General, Ambassador Wesseh, the three Deputy-Secretaries General, the three 3 MRU Country Field Coordinators and staff from the Accounting and Finance, Procurement, Administration and Human Resources departments.

The training drew attention to the changes made to the MRU Accounting and Financial Procedures Manual and to highlight the new IPSAS Procedures Guidelines and provided guidance to MRU staff involved in financial management on the application of the IPSAS procedures in general.

Participants at the training session
Participants at the training session


The manual and the training enabled the establishment of a robust accounting system for MRU and ensured its staff have sufficient knowledge of IPSAS. The training was participatory and inclusive as participants interacted through group exercises and discussions which enabled the participants to acquire a deep understanding of international accounting standards.

Looking ahead, WA BiCC will help MRU with ensuring a smooth and efficient transition to the MRU upgraded Accounting and Finance system in compliance with IPSAS. WA BiCC has commissioned the procurement of an accounting software system for the secretariat, and will train accounting staff on its use.



The Mano River Union (MRU) is a sub-regional body established in 1973, with the mandate to promote economic and regional integration through trade liberalization, under peaceful and politically stable conditions. Its objectives include fostering international trade between its members, developing common projects (industry, transport, financial, energy, resources, and food security) and to promote  peace and security in the MRU region. Its members are Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Ivory Coast. MRU is one of the core regional partners of WA BiCC. The regional program is implemented in the trans-boundary forest areas of Gola (between Sierra Leone and Liberia), Tai-Grebo-Sapo (between Liberia and Ivory Coast) and Wologizi-Wonogizi-Ziama (between Guinea and Liberia). WA BiCC also works in the four coastal regions (Yawri Bay, Sherbro River, Scarcies River and the Sierra Leone River Estuaries) of Sierra Leone and in the Fresco Coastal landscape of Ivory Coast.

Related Documents