The European Union’s Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, recently presented an ‘Agenda for Change’; designed to increase the impact of EU development policy and introduce a new approach on EU budget support.
To whom is a private sector consultant accountable, the donor paying their bill or the country to which they are providing technical assistance? Private sector consultants are widely used in managing and implementing Public Finance Management reform, yet questions of accountability, and consultants' role in influencing the reform agenda is under examined.
When you think about development challenges, a lack of trained accountants might not immediately come to mind. Yet poor public sector financial management is often at the root of patchy service delivery in other sectors, from health and education to transport. South Africa recognised this underlying issue, and with EU support embarked on a capacity development programme.
A European Commission programme of budget support in Paraguay has enabled the government to address weaknesses within the country’s financial administration systems, according to Sergio Forte, Deputy Minister of Finance.
Several European Commission evaluations confirm that Budget Support can be a useful instrument to support policy implementation and reforms in developing countries. But it can only contribute to positive change, experts warn, if there is a strong political commitment from partner governments.
Over the past couple of years a number of donor agencies have adopted Political Economy Analysis tools to assist development practice. The European Union Delegation to Zambia recently carried out two pilot political economy studies. Their experience provides lessons for developing an EC tool.
Some 1,000 development practitioners, policy makers and representatives from donor and partner countries are arriving in Warsaw, Poland, for this year's European Development Days on the 15 and 16 December 2011.
Raising taxes is at the heart of nation-building. Nations cannot own their development processes if a great part of the efforts behind them is funded by external agencies. Moreover, as many donors now face increasing budget constraints, raising funds through taxation is more important than ever in developing countries.
Over the last ten years or so, the Caribbean island nation of Jamaica has implemented a broadly successful programme of tax reform, offering an interesting case study that stresses the importance of capacity development for long-term success.