COLLABORATIVE AFRICA BUDGET REFORM INITIATIVE (CABRI) Economic Commission for Africa Abuja, May 2005
Covered today • What is CABRI • Context of the Initiative • Central role of budget officials • Objectives of CABRI • Expected results • First activity – budget reform seminar • Post-seminar publications • Network for senior budget officials • Second CABRI in Nairobi • Conclusion
What is CABRI? • African led and managed initiative • Comprises senior budget officials responsible for budget compilation and related reforms • Its aim is to: • support reform efforts • improve public finance management, and • contribute to improved service delivery and the attainment of welfare goals. • Its immediate objective is: • Set up a forum that brings together budget officials for the purpose of sharing experiences, deliberating on improvements to budgeting systems and deciding on collaborative programmes
Context of the Initiative • Strong public finance management institutions critical for the functioning of an effective and democratic state • Efficacy of budget planning determines the success of government’s ability to deliver on welfare objectives • Both internal and external pressure is rising for increased accountability and transparency of public finances • Access to development assistance often dependent on showing progress towards fiscal management benchmarks
Context of the Initiative (ii) • Even when public expenditure management reforms have been ongoing for years, achievement of credible and transparent budgets resulting in relevant and affordable service delivery is still far off • Many critical lessons have been learnt on financial management reforms, but mostly documented and discussed by external proponents of reforms, rather than those at the core of the reforms • Experience has highlighted the critical importance of country-owned, -led and –managed initiatives that are tailored to local circumstances
Context of the Initiative (iii) • Interest of senior budget officials in learning from their peers in other African countries increasingly apparent • Requests for information, exchange visits, presentations at in-country workshops, etc • In the interest of peer-to-peer lesson sharing, the ministries of finance of South Africa, Mozambique and Uganda initiated CABRI
Senior Budget Officials core to reform efforts • Success of reform efforts depends critically on the capability of officials in ministries of finance to analyse existing system deficiencies, decide on the desired changes and set a course towards those changes. • The ability of officials to engage with the process is dependent on their knowledge and understanding of: • what makes for effective public financial management systems, • what alternative solutions to problems have been tried and tested elsewhere and • how to sequence and implement reforms towards such systems.
CABRI ~ Objectives • Bolster the capacity of senior budget officials to take an active role in planning and managing reforms • Expand and share the existing knowledge of what works, what not and why, by making explicit the knowledge African officials hold on reform modalities • Objectives aligned with New Partnership for Africa’s Development, the work done on the Millennium Development Goals and the Commission for Africa • CABRI provides a pillar that is crucial for the achievement of the objectives embodied in these initiatives
CABRI – Expected Results • Improved in-country capacity for designing, implementing and assessing public financial management reforms; • Improved African resources for public financial management reforms and the documentation of African practitioner insights on budget reform success and failures; • Increased awareness and buy-in from political principles on progress with, and constraints of public financial management reforms on the continent.
Budget Reform Seminar ~ Pretoria, 1-3 December 2004 Participants: • Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe • Organisations: OECD, World Bank, AFRITAC (IMF), MEFMI, INWENT, Overseas Development Institute • Donors: European Union, Development Cooperation Ireland, GTZ • Several international public finance experts
Budget Reform Seminar ~ Pretoria, 1-3 December 2004 • The programme was a combination of a theme-based and case study based interaction, organised around four central themes • (i) budget credibility, (ii) multi-year budgeting, (iii) improving quality of expenditure and (iv) reform design and implementation • Nine countries prepared case studies that served as a basis for the presentations and discussions, highlighting both successes and failures • Twelve countries made presentations
Network for Senior African Budget Officials • Seminar also discussed benefits of a network of senior budget officials (similar to the OECD Senior Budget Officials Committee). • Success factors of the OECD SBO are the open and informal discussions, stability in membership, variety in countries and models presented and the ownership of the network by members. • Participants noted that such a network in Africa, could • engender benchmarking and self-checking on reform programmes pursued • promote managerial value as well as the sharing of information and experiences.
Post-seminar publications • Resource document targeted at practitioners and contains the country case studies. Also included is a summary paper, drawing out common themes, lessons and challenges supported by short additional pieces on public expenditure concepts. • Overview/advocacy booklet targeted at a wide audience. Provides an overview of the discussions of the seminar and highlights progress made and the importance of public expenditure management systems in Africa.
Second CABRI meeting – Nairobi 20-21 June 2005 • Hosted by the Kenyan Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the National Treasury of South Africa • Purpose is to concretise the proposal to launch a network of senior African budget officials discussed at the Budget Reform seminar held in December 2004. • The outcome of the meeting will be an agreement on the structure, membership, the programme and funding of the network. • Point person from each country that attended the Budget Reform seminar, representatives from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Egypt and Ghana will also be invited
Second CABRI meeting – Nairobi 20-21 June 2005 • Proposed activities of the network are: • Peer reviews of African public expenditure management systems • Annual thematic as well as networking meeting of senior African budget officials • Entertain requests for information and preparation of meetings • Depository for information on public expenditure management systems in Africa Network eventually to be pan-African
In conclusion.. • Given the importance of public finance institutions in achieving development objectives, the network will provide an excellent opportunity for those central to the reforms to broaden their knowledge and access information on peer expertise. • The network will also help stimulate and institutionalise intra-continental debate by African decision makers on practical solutions to challenging problems.