Rationale for AGO
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has a mandate to support its Regional Member Countries (RMCs) to enhance efficiency, accountability and transparency in the management of public resources. In keeping with this mandate, AfDB has, over the years, played leadership role in developing capacity and shaping regional discourse on financial governance in Africa through a number of initiatives. The latest effort is the decision of the Bank to publish the African Governance Outlook, which is expected to be an authoritative voice on issues pertaining to financial governance in Africa.
When launched, AGO is expected to assert international recognition and reputation similar to the African Economic Outlook publication of the Bank, the African Governance Report of ECA among others.
Role of ACBF as a Partner
Within the framework of a memorandum of understanding (MoU), ACBF is tasked to lead in the implementation of the project. In this regard, ACBF is required to pilot the project in 10 countries (Algeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda); The purpose of the piloting is to determine, among other factors, the utility, ease of assessment and flexibility of the analytical framework prior to its full roll out. Lessons learnt from the piloting will inform the next stage of implementation of the project.
AfDB has designed a customized financial governance assessment framework which seeks to, among other things: (i) Monitor governance performance and trends in Africa over time; (ii) Support policy dialogue with RMCs; and (iii) inform the Bank’s country strategies, operational programming and results monitoring in the area of financial governance, and thereby enhance quality at entry of its operations.
Unlike traditional financial governance assessment frameworks, which mostly employ financial management tools for analysis, AGO assessment will use a customized political economy analysis (PEA) to drill down power relations and economic processes in African countries, with a view to determining political and economic factors and forces that shape successes and failures of development interventions in those countries.
The use of PEA in development analysis is fairly new and has been employed by institutions such DFID, USAID and NORAD. However, there is no such analysis focusing solely on financial governance, more importantly, in the African context.
Design of AGO’s analytical framework is informed by a two key factors in current governance assessments, namely: (i) the need to go beyond quantitative data to explain country financial governance performance by drilling down to the underlying political and economic factors; and (ii) a shift from general, comparative country assessments to more focused, targeted and contextualized analysis.
Expected benefits/value addition to current knowledge and development process
For both the Bank and ACBF, there is a high likelihood of significant serendipitous benefits from AGO. For these two institutions, a drill down discovery in power relations among the key players in capacity development will most likely provide answers to why investments in capacity development work or fail in certain contexts. Answers to a number of soft questions on capacity development would be unearthed from the research findings.
AGO is being implemented in a three stage, iterative process. These are (i) Data Generation; (ii) Capability Analysis; and (iii) Trend Analysis.
AfDB has already done a pre-testing of the Analytical Instrument in Tanzania. A report on the pre-testing has been produced to serve as guide for the next phase of implementation – Piloting in 10 countries.
Partnership as a Vehicle for AGO Delivery
AGO is being implemented through a collaborative effort of selected national, regional and international partners. On the basis of value addition, Partners will be expected to play various roles spanning financial contribution, expertise contribution, activity delivery, process management/coordination or a combination of these factors.