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Audit of the Canadian High Commission, Harare

(August 2001)

Executive Summary

An audit of the Political, Economic Reporting and Public Affairs (PERPA), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Harare during the period February of 19 to March 1, 2001. Concurrent with this audit, the Audit Team visited the spoke missions of Lusaka and Maputo. A previous audit of the Consular and Administration Programs took place in Harare in June 1995.

Mission Management

The Head of Mission (HOM) is doing an effective job of managing a very competent and knowledgeable staff. He is very supportive of his staff and communications within the Mission are excellent. Morale at the Mission is high despite the deteriorating economy and the security situation in which the Mission operates. This is not an easy Mission to manage in that responsibility extends to four countries - Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana and Angola. The staff reductions being proposed by the Audit Team is a matter that is sensitive and will have to be carefully managed by the HOM.

Mission Management - Detailed Report

Political, Economic and Public Affairs Program (PERPA)

The PERPA Program is well managed by an experienced Counsellor and supported with competent staff. The Counsellor is very professional and staff enjoy the working environment. The volume and quality of political reporting, according to the Eastern and Southern Africa Division (GAA), is considered to be excellent. A Political Officer was assigned to cover Angola for a period of two years. His workload will be distributed amongst the remaining staff when his position sunsets in June 2001.

Political, Economic and Public Affairs Program - Detailed Report

International Business Development (IBD)

The IBD Program is managed by the Counsellor and supported by a Commercial Officer and a Commercial Assistant. *** Harare currently is responsible for business development in three countries, in addition to Zimbabwe. Canadian commercial interest is limited. The expansion of the Johannesburg Mission as a Regional Trade Hub for South Africa and the Southern Cone, as called for in the Africa Bureau's (GGD) business plan, may impact considerably on the workload of the Mission. As this is currently causing some confusion, it is important that this issue be sorted out quickly.

International Business Development (IBD) - Detailed Report

Consular Program

The Consular Program is effectively managed by the Management Consular Officer (MCO) with the assistance of a Consular Officer. The Program was very active over the last year, due to political unrest within the country, and as such has updated all key documents and records. Wardens are regularly contacted. The Mission is very satisfied with the Honorary Consuls in Angola and Botswana.

Consular Program - Detailed Report

Administration Program

The Administration Program is well managed by a competent MCO. The Section is heavily resourced, with a strong CBS presence. The continued need for three CBS positions in this Section will have to be reviewed in light of the downsizing at the Mission. The Audit Team is of the opinion that the FI position in Harare cannot be justified and, therefore, should not be retained. The Accounts Section should be reduced by at least two Accountants to bring it in line with missions of similar size.

The Mission has been saving approximately $250,000 per year by purchasing its local currency via a travel agency.

All Mission properties are Crown-Owned and in excellent condition. Given the extent of the grounds at the Official Residence, the Audit Team questioned whether this Residence is appropriate for Canada's presence in Zimbabwe. The Mission needs to review the two SQs it has identified for disposal in order to ensure that an appropriate mix of housing is retained. The number of official vehicles at the Mission is excessive and will need to be reduced. This will affect the number of Mission Drivers. More effective control also needs to be placed on fuel consumption of the vehicles.

Administration Program - Detailed Report

Mission Resources Fact Sheet

Human Resources (FTEs)

ProgramCBSLESTotal
Total113041
HOM Office246
IBD0.522.5
General Relations1.512.5
Development358
Immigration0.10.50.6
Consular/Administration3.917.521.4

Note: Honorary Consuls are located in Angola and Botswana.

Physical Resources

AssetsOwnedLeased
Chancery10
OR10
SQs11*0
Vehicles100

* includes one transit flat

Financial Information 2000/2001

Operating Budget (N001)$857,984
LES Salaries (N012)328,259
CBS Overtime (N011)23,000
Capital (N005)160,098
Total$1,369,341

Mission Management

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The Mission is operating under the effective leadership of a HOM who is highly respected by his staff. He is on his first assignment as a HOM. He is surrounded by competent and knowledgeable Canada-based (CBS) and Locally-engaged staff (LES). Despite the fact that Zimbabwe is one of the fastest declining economies in the world, morale at the Mission is high. This is not an easy Mission to manage in that responsibility extends to four countries - Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana and Angola. Harare is also the Hub Mission for Lusaka and Maputo. The relationship with Lusaka, which currently is limited to Harare inputting financial data into IMS, is expected to end shortly when IMS goes live in Lusaka. A formalized Hub and Spoke Agreement with the Maputo Mission is under development.

1.1.2 Internal communication within the Mission is excellent and there is good sharing of information amongst Programs. The HOM meets regularly with individual Program Managers. There is a weekly meeting of the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) which deals with Administration issues, Program issues as well as upcoming visits. Committees at the Mission include Classification, Housing, Occupational Safety and Health, and an LES Committee. There is also a Contract Review Board. All committees are properly constituted and minutes of all meetings are kept and circulated. The Mission would benefit from having a Technology Committee to discuss technology, training, web site and upgrades or new products proposed for purchase.

1.1.3 The Mission is lacking a training plan. There is one for informatics training which was developed by the Systems Administrator (SA) for his purposes only. A Mission-wide training plan would involve all Programs and would identify the training requirements. A budget can be planned out, more efficient group classes can be organized, and requests can be made to HQ for assistance in certain circumstances. This training plan could then be linked to the annual appraisal process of LES. It should also include the LES in the Maputo Mission.

Recommendations for the Mission

1.1.4 Form a Technology Committee to consider such issues as training, software and hardware purchases and web site design and content.

1.1.5 Develop a training plan embracing all operational functions for LES, including those employed in Maputo.

Mission Responses

1.1.4 A Technology Committee will be formed in the second quarter of this fiscal year. It will consist of the MCO, SA, and one other CBS.

1.1.5 A training plan will be developed with a target completion date of August 31, 2001. The MCO will manage the development of the plan. The HOM, program managers, Maputo CBS, and the LES Committee will be consulted in the process.

Political, Economic and Public Affairs Program (PERPA)

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The PERPA Program in Harare is headed by an experienced FS-02, a Counsellor, who reports directly to the HOM. This Program Manager is also responsible for the IBD Program. The areas of accreditation for which this Mission is responsible include Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana and Angola. The Counsellor is supported by a Second Secretary (FS-02) and a Public Affairs and Education Officer (LE-06). In addition, a Political Officer (FS-02) has been assigned to Harare to monitor, analyse and report on the conflict in Angola. The assignment of this Officer was to assist in contributing to Canada's participation on the UN Security Council and the Angola Sanctions Committee. Now that Canada, as of January 2001, is no longer sitting on the UN Security Council, the position, allocated to Harare since September 1999, will sunset in June 2001. The attendant Angola workload will be assumed by the Counsellor and the Second Secretary.

2.1.2 The PERPA Program is well supported by the HOM and is managed by the Counsellor in a professional manner. Staff employed in the Program enjoy the atmosphere within the Section. They have a high respect for the Counsellor who allows them the flexibility and discretion to effectively manage their workload. The significant volume of regional political reporting is considered by GAA to be highly analytical and of excellent quality. Full coverage of all countries of accreditation is apparent as a result of the numerous visits made by the HOM (eg. seven trips to Mozambique in the last year), the Counsellor, the Second Secretary and the temporarily assigned Political Officer, who has been to Angola six times and is planning more visits before his departure.

Political Program

2.1.3 The workload within the PERPA Program, except for the Angola file, is divided between the Counsellor and the Second Secretary with assistance from the LES Public Affairs and Education Officer. The Counsellor, in addition to his managerial responsibilities and with his in-depth network of contacts, reports on items of significance within Zimbabwe and the region. The Second Secretary, who is on her initial posting after four years in HQ and various short-term assignments abroad, is responsible for domestic politics, reporting on Botswana issues, supervising the Public Affairs Section and participating in the IBD Program. She works closely with the Counsellor. She has travelled on numerous occasions to Mozambique and Botswana and, according to the Counsellor, has a good grasp of the issues facing these countries. For a first posting as Second Secretary, she is exposed to a wide variety of challenging issues which should assist greatly in her professional development.

Public Affairs Program

2.1.4 The Public Affairs component of the PERPA Program, as in many African missions, has been marginalised in recent years. Notwithstanding that there is no funding under the Post Initiative Fund (PIF), the Program has secured some funding from the Mission's operational budget. This year $5,000 has been made available from the Mission's subscriptions monies to be used to fund arts, film and music festivals, a book fair and to purchase a small amount of promotional material. The Public Affairs and Education Officer also spends a significant portion of her time serving as an educational specialist dealing with numerous students each week (as many as 40) who are interested in studying in Canada. This Officer also helps the Counsellor and Second Secretary in researching information, obtaining information from government departments and undertaking some political analysis on an assigned basis. ***

2.1.5 The Public Affairs and Education Officer position, which is classified at a LE-06 level, appears to be under-classified relative to other missions of similar size. The position description needs to be reviewed and submitted to the Mission's Classification Committee for re-evaluation.

Recommendation for the Mission

2.1.6 Review the job description for the Public Affairs and Education Officer position and submit it to the Mission's Classification Committee for re-evaluation.

Mission Response

2.1.6 Political Counsellor will pursue job reclassification after it is determined that incumbent successfully passes her probationary period.

Priorities and Planning

2.1.7 The strategic and operating priorities for the Mission are set out in the HOM's Accountability Agreement. It is from this document that the goals and objectives for the PERPA Program are established. The goals and objectives for individuals employed in the Program are decided following consultation between the individual and the Counsellor. All employees within the Program contribute to the development of a workplan which is reviewed and updated semi-annually.

2.1.8 The PERPA Program could benefit from using a report similar to that currently used in the IBD Program which encapsulates where the Program is at a given point in time. This "snapshot" of the Program could be used to apprise HQ of where the Program is targeting its efforts and resources, what the upcoming calendar of events and visits is, issues of importance that are being tracked, as well as success stories, particularly as they relate to the Public Affairs area. This report could be retained on the Mission's "I" drive and updated regularly. The Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) views this type of report as a "Best Practice" and highlights this report on the its "Horizon" web site. We believe a similar type of report has application in the PERPA Program.

Recommendation for the Mission

2.1.9 Adopt the use of a snapshot report to keep management at the Mission and at HQ abreast of the activities within the PERPA Program and its achievements.

Mission Response

2.1.9 Agreed. Use of snapshot report for PERPA program will be adopted at the Mission.

International Business Development (IBD)

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 The IBD Program is managed by the Counsellor who is also responsible for the PERPA Program. Day-to-day Program responsibilities are carried out by a Commercial Officer (CO) with support provided by a Commercial Assistant. The Second Secretary also participates in the Program.

3.1.2 *** The Commercial Assistant is new to her position, having been on strength only two weeks. The departure of the two long-term employees from the Mission is symptomatic of the deteriorating economic climate in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe, which previously offered good trade and investment opportunities, is no longer on the radar screen for many Canadian companies. Inflation is currently over 60 percent, foreign exchange reserves are dangerously low and the value of the Zimbabwe dollar is falling at a rapid rate. The CO, despite maintaining a high energy level and working hard, has found the environment a frustrating and difficult one in which to promote Canadian business and investment. A good part of the CO's time is now spent on trouble-shooting which involves having to intervene on behalf of Canadian companies to secure payment in hard currency. Notwithstanding the economic encumbrances that plague Zimbabwe, some Canadian companies have recently shown interest in investing in this country.

3.1.3 The void created by the departure of the CO and the Commercial Assistant will be difficult to fill. The Counsellor will be required to take more of a "hands on" approach in managing the Program when the CO departs. We saw strong evidence that the CO was endeavouring to impart to the new Commercial Assistant her knowledge of the job to the best extent possible. The Counsellor will need to ensure that the issues of handover and corporate memory have been appropriately addressed before the CO departs the Mission.

3.1.4 The Trade activities in which the CO is involved include three of the four countries for which the Mission is accredited - Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Botswana. The Political Officer, assigned to analyse and report politically on Angola, is also responsible for trade promotion in that country. Currently, the CO divides her time in the following manner: Mozambique - 50 percent; Zimbabwe - 40 percent; and, Botswana - 10 percent. As Mozambique is currently a favourite with most Western donors, there are now many international financial institutions (IFI) funding projects there. This requires that a good deal of information *** be forwarded to Canadian companies interested in bidding on these projects. It is also anticipated there will be a MINT led telecommunication mission to Maputo in September. Mozambique is a difficult market for Canadian SME's (small and medium entrepreneurs) to penetrate because of the heavy competition, particularly from South African companies, and the language difficulties.

3.1.5 The CO seems well organized in undertaking her day-to-day activities. The Program is clear on its objectives and has in place a well developed workplan for each of the four countries indicating the priority sectors to be targeted and the planned activities to achieve the objectives. The CO makes effective use of technology using a number of Internet sites including Industry Canada's Strategis, UN Development Business On-Line, World Bank, African Development Bank, IFI Net, and EIU (Economic Intelligence Unit). She also refers frequently to TCS's Horizon site and makes full use of WinExport to enquire about companies and to track companies visiting the region. Excellent information on the Trade Program can be found on the Mission's "I" drive including a monthly calendar of events, a register of incoming and outgoing correspondence, a listing of the visitors and missions managed, the Program's workplan and the planned activities. The "snapshot" report of the Program's activities which is strongly encouraged by TCS is prepared and circulated internally. Distribution of this report should include HQ's Sub-Saharan Africa Trade Division (GGTT).

3.1.6 An issue that concerns the Mission is the expansion of the Trade Office in Johannesburg and what it means to Harare's workload. The Africa Bureau's (GGD) Business Plan for FY 2001-2002 suggests that, in an effort to develop improved commercial and economic relations with South Africa and the Southern Cone, a Portuguese speaking LES Commercial Officer be added to Johannesburg. This is part of the African Trade Strategy whereby Johannesburg (along with Nairobi and Abidjan) will become a regional hub to assist Canadian companies wanting to do business in most South African Development Community (SADC) countries (Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe). South Africa is the first and often only "port of call" for many Canadian companies doing business in the region. The Mission sent a message to GGD in early February asking what the expansion of the Johannesburg mission will mean to its Trade operations. It is critical that this issue be sorted out as early as possible to ensure that the roles and responsibilities for commercial support in the region are clearly enunciated.

Recommendation for GGD

3.1.7 The Bureau should apprise the Mission of the impact of adding an incremental LES Commercial Officer position to Johannesburg as recommended in the Africa Bureau's Business Plan for 2001-2002.

GGD Response

3.1.7 Current regional trade projections do not justify the creation of the position at the moment. Should the situation change, the Mission will be consulted concerning the impact that this position would have on its operations.

Consular Program

4.1 Management of the Program

4.1.1 The Mission is providing timely and effective Consular services. The Consular Program is under the supervision of the MCO with daily operations the responsibility of a dedicated and competent Consular Officer (LE-07) who has been in the position for 18 years. Back-up is provided by the Administrative Assistant (LE-05). Both have received Consular training. Cosmos entries are up-to-date. The MCO is planning visits to Mozambique, Botswana and Angola.

4.2 Service to Canadians

4.2.1 The Consular Officer is responsible for the provision of services to Canadian citizens as well as passport and citizenship services for Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana and Angola. There are 654 registered Canadians in Zimbabwe, 248 in Mozambique, 219 in Botswana and 133 in Angola.

4.2.2 There are no prisoners in the countries of accreditation; however, one Canadian, currently in Canada, will be standing trial in Zimbabwe. Agreements have been reached and documentation signed to ensure that this individual will be returning to Zimbabwe for his trial date.

4.2.3 The Consular Contingency Plans are current. Given the political situation in Zimbabwe, the Mission has been particularly active in remaining in contact with the registered Canadians and well as with the 16 wardens for the country.

4.2.4 During the run up to the last election in Zimbabwe, many applications for citizenship and passports were processed. As a result, most of the Consular work has been completed and most likely very little will be required in the areas of passport and of citizenship should political instability increase.

4.2.5 Zimbabwe has been experiencing hard currency shortages since February 2000. The Mission does not have an emergency cash parcel.

Recommendation for the Mission

4.2.6 Contact PAM, SMF and JPD to obtain an emergency cash parcel.

Mission Response

4.2.6 Mission will contact PAM, SMF, and JPD in June 2001 and begin the process to establish a cash parcel of US $10,000.

4.3 Passports

4.3.1 Between 20 to 25 passports are issued each month. Revenues are not being deposited when they reach the $500 level. A working supply of passports and labels is secured ***. No discrepancies were noted in the physical count of passports. The Consular Officer has been issuing "unofficial receipts" for those Canadians requesting a receipt in addition to their passport.

Recommendations for the Mission

4.3.2 Ensure that revenues are deposited when they reach $500 or weekly.

4.3.3 Issue only official receipts upon receipt of revenues.

Mission Responses

4.3.2 Implemented.

4.3.3 Implemented.

4.4 Honorary Consuls

4.4.1 The Mission has two Honorary Consuls, one in Botswana and the other in Angola. The Mission has expressed a high level of satisfaction with both of these individuals. The Mission is in regular communication with the Honorary Consuls. They are refunded their expenses upon submission of an expense claim. This system is working well.

4.4.2 Revenues in Angola are collected in US dollars. The Honorary Consul processes approximately 20 passports per year. The Honorary Consul's Assistant issues a "complimentary slip" for these revenues which are held until such time as a CBS from Zimbabwe can collect them. The funds are not deposited in a bank account. This has been a long standing practice. While the revenues relating to the issuance of Emergency Passports can be reconciled, the same cannot be said for Consular revenues as official receipts are not used and funds are not deposited into a bank account.

Recommendations for the Mission

4.4.3 Provide the Honorary Consul with official receipts and with the appropriate instruction on their use.

4.4.4 Ensure that the Angola Consular revenues are deposited into the Honorary Consul's bank account and appropriately accounted for.

Mission Responses

4.4.3 Implemented.

4.4.4 Agreed. Mission will discuss options with the Honorary Consul in Angola and implement system by July 31, 2001.

4.5 Admission to Canada

4.5.1 The Consular Officer is occupying a CIC "fenced" position. Half of her time is spent on Immigration matters and the other half on Consular. She has received Immigration training in Pretoria and Nairobi. She reports to the MCO who takes his direction from Pretoria on Immigration issues. Currently, Canada has not imposed a visa requirement on Zimbabweans so the CIC workload is not heavy. The visas are well secured. A physical count of visas was conducted and no discrepancies were found.

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Date Modified:
2008-11-11