Nineteen mid- and senior-level government officials from countries around the world visited the Town of Cary on Friday, July 10, to observe local government in action. The officials are at the Duke Center for International Development (DCID) at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy for a three-week executive training Program on Fiscal Decentralization and Local Government Financial Management (PFD).

During the visit, they learned about the town’s revenue structure, expenditure responsibilities and citizen participation from Karen Mills, finance director; Karl Knapp, budget director; and Susan Moran, public information officer.

“What impressed me the most was the amount of volunteer activity they had in the town, which builds community ownership while cutting down administrative costs,” said Grace Ntereke, chief finance officer for the Government of Botswana. “They are also very transparent and customer-focused, helping citizens stay informed and involved.”

The group has a second field visit planned to Wake County Government on Friday, July 17.

During the annual program, which began on July 5, participants learn from Duke faculty and other leading experts about specialized topics in fiscal decentralization, including governance, performance budgeting, debt management and reform efforts.

Dr. Roy Kelly, professor of the practice at DCID, serves as program director. He is joined by experts such as Lili Liu, lead economist and cluster leader on Subnational Finance at the Economic Policy and Debt Department; Anwar Shah, director of the Centre for Public Economics in Chengdu, China, and non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; Jamie Boex, senior research associate with the Urban Institute and adjunct professor of economics at Georgetown University; Greg Allison, senior lecturer in public finance and government, and Bill Rivenbark, professor of public administration and government, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

More than 250 people from over 50 countries have been trained through the PFD program since it began in 2001. This year’s participants hail from Bhutan, Botswana, Cambodia, Cameroon, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines, Rwanda and the United States.

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