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How Far Have Public Financial Management Reforms Come in Africa?

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  • Andrews, Matthew R.

Abstract

This paper asks how strong African Public Financial Management (PFM) has become, after a decade and more of reform. How well do African PFM systems in place now facilitate effective public financial management? Where are the next challenges and how can they be met? It analyzes recent PFM assessments in 31 governments to answer these questions, identifying patterns of strengths and weaknesses across the PFM system and across countries. In respect of the former, the study finds that budgets are made better than they are executed, practice lags behind the creation of processes and laws, and processes are stronger where concentrated actors are engaged. In respect of the latter, the study finds that different countries fall into different ‘PFM performance leagues’ and countries in the different leagues look very different to each other. A range of factors influence which league a country is associated with; including economic growth, stability, reform tenure and colonial heritage. On the basis of this evidence, the paper argues that existing reforms face limits that can only be overcome with adjustments in reform approach; with less focus on pushing reform technicalities and more on creating ‘space’ in which reform takes place, less concentration of engagements with small sets of actors and more on expanding engagements, and less emphasis on reproducing the same reform models and more on better understanding what context-appropriate reforms look like.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrews, Matthew R., 2010. "How Far Have Public Financial Management Reforms Come in Africa?," Scholarly Articles 4448885, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:hksfac:4448885
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    Cited by:

    1. Lledó, Victor & Poplawski-Ribeiro, Marcos, 2013. "Fiscal Policy Implementation in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 79-91.
    2. Matt Andrews, 2014. "Why Distributed End Users Often Limit Public Financial Management Reform Success," CID Working Papers 283, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    3. Andrews, Matt, 2015. "Explaining Positive Deviance in Public Sector Reforms in Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 197-208.
    4. Matt Andrews, 2013. "Explaining Positive Deviance in Public Sector Reforms in Development," CID Working Papers 267, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    5. Andrews, Matt, 2013. "Explaining Positive Deviance in Public Sector Reforms in Development," Working Paper Series rwp13-040, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    6. Matt Andrews, 2015. "Has Sweden Injected Realism into Public Financial Management Reforms in Partner Countries?," CID Working Papers 303, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    7. Andrews, Matt, 2014. "Why Distributed End Users Often Limit Public Financial Management Reform Success," Working Paper Series rwp14-026, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    8. Verena Fritz & Edward Hedger & Ana Paula Fialho Lopes, 2011. "Strengthening Public Financial Management in Postconflict Countries," World Bank Other Operational Studies 10097, The World Bank.
    9. Arjan de Haan & Ward Warmerdam, 2012. "The politics of aid revisited: a review of evidence on state capacity and elite commitment," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series esid-007-12, BWPI, The University of Manchester.

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