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November 02, 2011

Budget Oversight in the WAEMU Area: A Challenge for Parliaments?

Posted by El Hadji Fall and Rossella Albertini, both from the Pole “Development Strategies and Public Finance” based at the UNDP Regional Center for West and Central Africa (Dakar - Senegal)

Implementation of the 2009 West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) public financial management (PFM) directives presents new challenges for the Parliaments of the region. Their involvement in terms of budget oversight and the identification of their needs for future technical support where the subject of the three-day regional workshop held in Dakar on September 28-30: “Capacity development for Parliaments in the new harmonized public finance framework of WAEMU”.  

This event, organized by the Pole “Development Strategies and Public Finance” of the UNDP Dakar Regional Centre, gathered representatives from the eight WAEMU countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) together with participants from neighboring Cape Verde and Guinea, and officials from the French Senate, the WAEMU and UNDP.

The workshop aimed at providing participants with detailed information on the implications of the new harmonized WAEMU framework and at promoting adoption of these reforms by the parliaments of the region. The new guidelines introduce profound changes in the development, implementation, monitoring and scrutiny of the central government budget; they intend to strengthen parliamentary control over public expenditures and to increase the flow of information to national representatives, through the introduction of key innovations and the evolution from a resources-based to a results-based budget. 

Over three days, representatives from ten countries exchanged on the main challenges for WAEMU member countries, highlighting the existing hindrances and analyzing options for a successful implementation of the reform. The workshop represented the onset for a wider discussion on the establishment of a control program in the Parliament and for a multifaceted reflection on the best strategies for an effective ownership of the reform.

The attached text provides details on the implications of the 2009 WAEMU PFM directives and on the proceedings of the workshop.

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