PEFA in Sub Saharan Africa

The Role of PEFA and PFM Reform in Improving Service Delivery

Dakar, Senegal, January 28th and 29th, 2019

The PEFA Secretariat, with the support of its seven partners, held a Conference in Dakar, Senegal on January 28th and 29th, 2019. More than 200 participants from 45 countries attended the event. The focus was on how the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) framework has been used, mainly in Sub Saharan Africa, and the role of PEFA and Public Financial Management (PFM) reform in improving service delivery.

The conference was opened by Bassirou Samba Niasse, Secretary General, Ministry of Finance of Senegal; Louise Cord, Country Director, World Bank; Laurence Hart, Director of Agency, AFD and Edward Olowo-Okere, Director, World Bank.

The conference was facilitated by Abdoul Aziz, Wane, Director of the African Training Institute and Center coordinator of AFRITAC South, International Monetary Fund. Sessions included speakers from Senegal, Mali, Cameroon, Niger, Ghana, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Serbia, Kenya, South Africa and Tunisia, as well as representatives from the Overseas Development Institute, African Development Bank, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, European Union, SECO, NORAD, Agence Française de Développement, and the PEFA Secretariat.

The following are the main takeaways from the event:

  • Data on PFM performance can help provide a stronger evidence base for what works in PFM and what does not and help countries design their PFM reforms. The global PEFA database on PFM performance is a strong source of knowledge that should be better mined for strengthened impact of PFM reforms. The PEFA Secretariat might do more to promote research on what works in PFM and encourage the use of the PEFA data for research and impact.
  • The number of PFM diagnostic tools is increasing. The most recent enumeration by the PEFA Secretariat identified 45 tools globally. While each diagnostic tool has been effectively used in many cases, there is a need for improving coordination and information sharing at country level and – maybe – further harmonization of tools for fiduciary assurance.  The PEFA program could change the perspective in the next global enumeration of tools to look at the expanding suite of PFM diagnostic tools from a user perspective instead of from the perspective of development partners.
  • Stakeholder ownership – including most importantly by Government – is key to impact of PFM reforms and PEFA assessment reports and processes. The PEFA Program can strengthen its guidance on stakeholder ownership and involvement. 
  • PEFA has contributed, as an input, to new and ongoing reform program preparation and redesign, to the prioritization of reforms, and to enhance the dialogue between government and development partners. There could be a need for the PEFA Program to provide more guidance on how to use PEFA reports for PFM reform design and implementation.
  • Although undertaking PEFA assessments and PFM reforms is not sufficient to ensure improvement of service delivery, several PEFA assessments have had a positive impact on service delivery. However, the link between PFM and serviced delivery is not well understood and conceptualized for impactful reform approaches. The PEFA Program could consider how this link can be better understood in the context of both national and subnational PEFA assessments.
  • The use of PEFA at the subnational level allows the countries to implement a holistic approach of PFM reforms and strengthen decentralization processes. However, using PEFA at the subnational level raises challenges that the PEFA Secretariat can help address, including by providing more guidance and facilitating information sharing between countries undertaking subnational PEFA assessments. 
  • The PEFA tool should be more visible, known and recognized, and better mainstreamed.
  • The conference highlighted new ways to further improve the PEFA program, including by bringing multiple stakeholders together, including governments, civil society, international NGOs, private sector consultants and global and regional development partners.

The conference agenda is available in English (click here) and in French (click here).

The conference was followed by two days and a half training on the PEFA 2016 framework.