This year’s CAPE conference at ODI looked at ‘Budgeting in the real world’, the reality of which was vividly portrayed by former Finance Ministers Dr. Antoinette Sayeh of Liberia and Mme. Luisa Diogo of Mozambique.
A few months ago we wrote a blog post on feedback in development. Dennis Whittle at the Center for Global Development has written a similar article How Feedback Loops Can Improve Aid (and Maybe Governance). We agree strongly with this approach and join his call for ‘a faster and more steady stream of information from varied sources, especially citizens.’ In the spirit of feedback, we wanted to reply to the comments we had on our original blog post.
Author: ODI Researcher Philipp Krause
Complicated and fast-changing politics. Political parties distributed across the left–right spectrum; ethnic and regional interests; fault lines old and new, all changing regularly. The development challenges are great, but there are also some important successes towards the MDGs in some areas, notably maternal health.
“The donor community has made a bit of a mistake in the way it has approached budget transparency. It’s often solely through supporting civil society and not actually working with ministries of finance…the whole Uganda exercise is built on the idea of a partnership between government and civil society.”
The Ugandan Ministry of Finance recently launched a sophisticated new website – Uganda Budget Information – giving access to a raft of information onthe country's public finances. The site also allows users to feedback on service delivery in their local area; including the ability to comment and upload photos of schools and health centres throughout the country.
Tim Williamson, the Budget Strengthening Initiative’s Country Programme Manager for Uganda and South Sudan, worked closely with the ministry on the website and now exploring ways it can be further developed.
Ryan Flynn recently caught up with Tim Williamson at his home in Kampala to talk about the website and budget transparency in Uganda.
Matt critiques the international community's approach to institutional reform in developing countries, arguing that it is often short-termist and ill-suited to local contexts. He suggests a new approach, which he has coined Problem Driven Iterative Adaption (PDIA), is needed if reforms are to take root and truly affect change.
Matt also discusses the problem with governance indicators; and whether the so-called 'arms-length' organisations may be better suited in helping to deliver institutional change (short answer: 'the jury is still out').