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September 2017

September 15, 2017

How Peer Learning Can Advance Fiscal Transparency

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Posted by Juan Pablo Guerrero[1]

When it comes to learning, few methods surpass learning from experience. Practice, trials and errors, help people become experts. Unfortunately, such learning by trial and error can be an expensive way to design public policy, in terms of institutional resources, as well as in terms of social and political implications. For the introduction of new policy practices, a second-best method can involve learning from peers. A peer who deals with similar tasks and institutional objectives, such as advancing fiscal transparency, might very well find comparable obstacles and lessons along the way. The shared experience of peers incorporates crucial elements of teaching, such as methodology, approaches and lessons learned. At the same time, the peer-to-peer rapport gives significant value and credibility to the experiences shared and exchanged.

With the above in mind, the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) network has invested strongly in peer-to-peer learning activities since 2014. GIFT is a multi-stakeholder action-network which aims to achieve sustained, measurable improvements in fiscal transparency, public participation and accountability in countries around the world. The network aims to advance incentives, norms, peer-learning, technical assistance, and new technologies. Its 37 members, called stewards, see in GIFT meetings an opportunity to exchange their experiences on a wide range of topics, and to learn from others.[2] 

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September 12, 2017

Why Medium-Term Budget Frameworks Under-Perform in Africa

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Posted by Taz Chaponda and Richard Allen[1]

Medium-term budget frameworks (MTBFs) have established a strong track record in advanced countries, but how do they fare in countries with much weaker budgeting and governance systems? To what extent do they contribute to the preparation of macro-economic and fiscal projections that are more reliable, budgets that are more credible, and more broadly to better fiscal policies? 

To examine these questions, a new IMF Working Paper focuses on the performance of MTBFs in six countries––Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. More than 15 years ago, these countries, and many others in sub-Saharan Africa embarked on a program of budgetary reform, an important element of which was an MTBF. The working paper assesses the effectiveness of MTBFs in achieving improved fiscal discipline, resource allocation, and certainty of funding, as well as wider economic and social development goals.

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September 08, 2017

Transforming Reports into Modern Social Communication  

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Posted by Esther Palacio[1]

Traditional reports are losing their effectiveness and efficiency in the modern IT-dependent world, as more friendly forms of communication appear. We are talking here primarily about reports written by government agencies or think tanks, or by international finance agencies or donors, or by other public sector bodies. How should we take advantage of the new technologies and transform long and often unread reports into modern social communications that strengthen the impact of policy and technical advice? 

Reports are written with the intention to communicate. Nevertheless, in the modern era, most people rely on the traditional media and the social media. Few people have the time or inclination to read long reports. As a result, excellent reports containing important messages, analysis and data, risk not reaching their target audience, and often have little impact in practice. Moreover, the authors of reports rarely think through the key messages that need to be communicated to a wider audience, and who are the members of that audience.

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