By Ahmed Ashaybani, General Director of Technical Cooperation, Central Organization for Control and Auditing (COCA) of The Republic of Yemen.
“If it was not for a collective effort of my father, mother, cousin and his friend, I would not have been able to start my education and reach this level. When I was a lad of 6, my mother wanted to take me to school which was relatively far away from my little village in my country Yemen. I would not have been able to go to school without the assistance I got from my cousin and his friend. They promised my mom that they would take care of me and accompany me on the long daily journey to school and back. In some instances, they had to carry me on their backs to reach the school. From that starting point, I was able to continue my education to reach the level of a master’s degree from the United States of America. If it was not for the concerns, sincere help and support of my people, I would have been left behind without education and maybe have a different career.
This personal experience could easily apply to our mother organization, INTOSAI, and its member SAIs. Since its inception, many SAIs have grown up thanks to the sincere cooperation with and knowledge sharing from the sister SAIs. For example, our SAI, the Central Organization for Control and Auditing (COCA) of The Republic of Yemen, has gained a lot of improvement and enhancement in its institutional capacity building as a result of direct and indirect cooperation with other sister SAIs like the Netherlands Court of Audit, the French Court of Audit, the Morocco Court of Audit, the Canadian SAI, and the SAI of the United States, just to name a few. I, myself, besides a number of my colleagues, got the opportunity to participate in the International Auditor Fellowship Program, in Canada and the United States, which gave us the leverage to be more effective staff in our SAI. That cooperation and support, in turn have added value to my SAI, COCA.
In reflecting on my SAI that was established in the early 1970s as per legislation outlining the objectives and mandate of the SAI of Yemen, COCA had to borrow ideas and experiences from other Arab world SAIs. In our case, we mainly drew from the Egyptian SAI. We had to recruit some experts from SAI of Egypt to help us get started to perform our duties and responsibilities.
Some years later, we had the chance to modify the previous legislation to enhance our organization’s independence and autonomy. We drew experiences from more advanced sister- SAIs and come out with a better and more relevant SAI. For example, we gained more financial independence. That is, our COCA’s budget is included in the government budget as a number (with no classification as applied to other government departments) and the Ministry of Finance, or the government should submit it to the Parliament for approval as is.
Now, we are an active member of INTOSAI and its relevant regional groups coping with, and adding to, the INTOSAI motto ” Mutual experience benefits all”. This indicates the value and essence of support of peers to reach our goals. It is a wonderful feeling, when you live in a professional, supportive and fully cooperative community with continuous willingness not to leave anyone behind.
With this in mind no SAI will be left behind”.