The roll of shame: Governments that won’t tell the public what they spend money on

Mar 03, 2009

The 2008 Open Budget Index reports that 25 of the 85 countries that it surveyed, provide no or minimal information to the public about the money that they spend. Why does the public need to know what governments spend? Budgets only tell us what governments plan to spend. Not what they actually spend. Many governments […]

Will the democratic crisis be ‘outed’ by the financial crisis?

Feb 12, 2009

One of the preoccupations of the development community is the existence of a link between good governance practices and economic growth: the so-called ‘democratic dividend’.  While it is never that simple, the argument goes that democratic and standard economic reforms will be rewarded with investment, aid and ultimately sustained growth. Some have also argued that […]

Budget Transparency: governments could easily do more

Feb 05, 2009

Eighty percent of the world’s governments fail to provide adequate information for the public to hold them accountable for managing their money, according to an extensive new report by the International Budget Partnership (IBP). Nearly 50 percent of 85 countries whose access to budget information was carefully evaluated by the IBP provide such minimal information […]

The death of MTEFs?

Dec 01, 2008

The PFM Blog has been hosting a fascinating debate on the challenges and uses of Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks (MTEF). This debate is highly topical because MTEFs have been part of the unquestioned recipe for budget reform in poor countries for more than ten years. The debate started as a slightly esoteric domestic dispute between […]

Budgets can dance!

Nov 17, 2008

It is very rare for the dour world of public finance and danceable music to meet. But I am glad to share such a rare occasion with you. Go to Youtube listen to the campaign song of the Open Budget Index 2009. The OBI 2009 will document and compare the availability of budget documentation in […]

Paying for Health in poor countries

Oct 07, 2008

In too many countries access to basic health services is severely limited. Commitments for assistance from the international community are variable and provided for finite periods. Financial support of this kind doesn’t allow for the long-term investments needed to build a comprehensive health care system, such as infrastructure and training the necessary personnel. In the […]

Should we tell the Poor what to do?

Sep 15, 2008

The old bottom up vs top down question just wont go away. We have posted a few times on the design of poverty alleviation programs (click here to read what we had before). Yesterday I stumbled on a veritable goldmine of material on social assistance programs at IFPRI’s Blog World Hunger.  Click here and look at the […]

Ignoring the Politics of Tax in Africa

Sep 09, 2008

Commissioners and Senior Officials of Revenue Administrations of 26 African countries attended a conference on “Taxation, state building and capacity development in Africa” from 28-29 August in Pretoria. Sadly the conference papers don’t appear to be available on-line, but read the resolutions here and see IDS’s report here. At the end of two days those […]

Global Health: What would Barack do?

Aug 25, 2008

As the American Presidential campaign heats up, it is good to see that candidates’ views on the US’s global health agenda is also getting some column space. Unsurprisingly global health is nowhere near as prominent in the McCain campaign as it is for Obama. Apart from supporting PEPFAR, McCain has been vague on other global […]

The Clash of the Aid Titans: New Easterly Book

Aug 04, 2008

William Easterly, Jeffrey Sachs and Paul Collier’s disagreements on whether, how, how much development aid to give to poor countries has helped keep the aid debate in the media. Easterly’s latest contribution to this debate is his new book Reinventing Foreign Aid, that has just hit the shelves. You can see the Table of Contents and […]