In this first edition the Vrije Universiteit Brussel will be training thirty highly-qualified officials from the National and Provincial Treasuries of South Africa in collaboration with the Belgian Development Agency. The training method for the course will follow a theoretical approach towards the most relevant topics in public finance to an applied perspective to real problems faced by the current South African economy, includinginfrastructure management, rural development, and financial sustainability. The course intends to further develops the analytical skills of participants, helping them to plan and review key elements of public sector budgeting and financial management.
The common denominator underpinning all these issues is related to the worldwide economic tendency: fiscal decentralisation. This paradigm is well known in countries such as Belgium or Switzerland, but it is relatively new for countries which have undergone great political or economic changes. Trends in fiscal decentralisation shift the focus of public finance from the national government to lower political levels. This shift normally implies more effectiveness in the delivery of public services but at a loss in efficiency in its funding. The aim of the course is to establish a baseline scenario and strengthen it with capacity building and best practices learned from similar experiences worldwide.
The lecturers and experts involved in this two-week intensive programme come from national and international universities and different European economic organisations. The course also includes a visit to the headquarters of the OECD in Paris and the European Parliament in Brussels to see first hand how an institution devoted to foster prosperity through economic growth and financial stability operates.
The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is a well-known university regarding research and education. The course on Public Finance and Management joins these two aims and highlights its internationalisation and networking philosophy.