The Road to Budget Transparency: Learning from Country Experience

By Alta Folscher and Paolo de Renzio, Nov 15, 2017

This paper examines the budget transparency practices of six countries (Argentina, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, and Uganda). It aims to identify not only catalytic factors that may have prompted governments to take steps to improve budget transparency but also some of the more specific steps they took (or did not take) in order to do so. It also examines the barriers that they faced in achieving and sustaining those improvements.

The Road to Budget Transparency in Six Countries

The Road to Budget Transparency in Uganda

By Rosie Pinnington, Nov 15, 2017

This case study examines Uganda’s journey toward greater budget transparency, looking at its reform trajectory from 2006 to 2015 in order to identify factors that have contributed to improved budget transparency during this period.

budget transparency in uganda

The Road to Budget Transparency in Ghana

By Nicholas Adamtey, Nov 15, 2017

Ghana has been making some efforts toward improving budget transparency over the years by making some information and some budget documents available to the public. However, Ghana’s performance on the Open Budget Index has not shown much improvement. This case study examines Ghana’s efforts, with special emphasis on the period of 2008 to 2016.

budget transparency in ghana

The Road to Budget Transparency in the Philippines

By Francis Y. Capistrano, Nov 15, 2017

After languishing in the “limited” category on the Open Budget Index for nearly a decade, the Philippines managed to achieve a score of 64 in the 2015 round. On the surface, the Philippines improved its transparency rating simply by publishing all eight key budget documents. However, beneath that surface is a story of how key actors in the government bureaucracy took action to fulfill the promise made by the administration at that time to curb corruption and make the management of public funds more efficient, effective, and open to citizens. This case study examines the public finance management reforms and additional government actions that served to increase fiscal transparency in the Philippines.

budget transparency in the philippines

The Road to Budget Transparency in Mexico

By Diego de la Mora and Javier Garduño, Nov 15, 2017

In the 2006 and 2008 rounds of the Open Budget Survey, Mexico’s Open Budget Index score fell in the middle range. However, beginning in 2009 the Mexican Ministry of Finance started taking budget transparency seriously, which was reflected by an increase in Open Budget Index scores in the 2012 and 2015 rounds. This case study examines why the Mexican government decided to enhance fiscal transparency and which actions were put in place both to start and to maintain the upward trend.

budget transparency in mexico

The Road to Budget Transparency in Indonesia

By Yuha Farhan, Nov 15, 2017

Budget transparency has become a widely accepted recipe for good governance. However, according to the Open Budget Survey, many countries remain stuck at intermediate levels. Indonesia is one of those countries. This case study aims to explain why budget transparency in Indonesia has not managed to move beyond intermediate levels by examining government and civil society initiatives that have influenced budget transparency and exploring why these initiatives did not lead to sustainable improvements.

budget transparency in indonesia

The Road to Budget Transparency in Argentina

By Luciana Díaz Frers, Nov 15, 2017

While Argentina has consistently produced six of the eight key budget documents included in the Open Budget Index, its scores from 2006-2015 range between 40 and 60, leaving it stuck in the middle. This case study examines Argentina’s journey toward greater budget transparency, describing inconsistencies and speculating about their potential causes.

Budget Transparency in Argentina

Dancing with the System: Samarthan’s Efforts to Strengthen Accountability in Rural India

By Brendan Halloran, International Budget Partnership, Nov 09, 2017

For more than a decade, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) has promised the possibility of dignified employment to India’s rural poor. Yet this bold program has run into the realities of powerful interests and weak oversight. With support from IBP, the civil society organization Samarthan has worked to strengthen implementation and accountability for MGNREGA in Madhya Pradesh. In doing so, Samarthan has made use of multiple tactics and tools. But the organization has also had to navigate a complex and fragile accountability ecosystem and find ways to strengthen it at the same time. Is Samarthan’s work only addressing the symptoms of the problems with MGNEGRA? Or is the organization helping to address the root causes of structural inequality? This case study speaks to these questions through brief exploration of Samarthan’s recent efforts.

strengthening accountability in rural india

Without a Will, Is There a Way? Kenya’s Uneven Journey to Budget Accountability

By Brendan Halloran, International Budget Partnership, Nov 09, 2017

In Kenya’s Uasin Gishu County, the government responded to the demand of an organized group of citizens living with disabilities for improved services by dedicating significant resources to this issue. IBP partner the Kerio Center supported the citizens group in engaging the government through several formal channels to ensure these resources were best used to meet their needs. Still, the government ignored their petitions, which is symptomatic of situations across Kenya’s new county governments, in which formal mechanisms for citizen involvement in budget processes exist, but there are few incentives for government to make these channels meaningful forms of engagement. This case study explores these issues further.

Kenya's Uneven Journey to Budget Accountability

Budgets that Exclude: The Struggle for Decent Sanitation in South Africa’s Informal Settlements

By Brendan Halloran, International Budget Partnership, Nov 09, 2017

For nearly a decade, the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) has been working to realize the rights of marginalized citizens of Khayelitsha, a community on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. Over the past several years, the group has focused on dignified sanitation, advocating for the provision of adequate and permanent infrastructure rather than the proliferation of temporary toilets that have been the city’s preferred approach to the issue. As the sanitation issue has become increasingly visible and so more political, revealing the deep exclusion still prevalent in post-Apartheid Cape Town, SJC has had to navigate a treacherous landscape of engagement with authorities. Analyzing the municipal budget and mobilizing citizens to engage in the budget process has grounded the group’s advocacy in something specific and concrete and has enabled them to maintain a clear focus on their goal. This case study demonstrates that pro-reform actors need to develop diverse capacities, strategies, and approaches in order to navigate what is often a weak accountability ecosystem.

budgets that exclude sanitation south africa