The African Governance Outlook (AGO), a collaborative initiative between the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) aims to provide an effective African-based diagnostic tool on financial governance on a regional scale. ACBF has a mandate to develop capacity in Africa across a spectrum of areas including financial management and accountability through good governance. The AGO tool involves national research institutes and think tanks and is designed to improve both development effectiveness through the generation of knowledge, as well as the operational effectiveness of the AfDB, through strengthening internal analytical capabilities on financial governance. ACBF’s Strategic Medium Term Plan III (2012-2016) specifically identifies capacity development to improve good governance as a cornerstone of its interventions in the coming years, and calls for strategic partnerships with development institutions with shared objectives.
The AGO is being piloted in phases in selected African countries. The countries were selected based on accession to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and availability of data sets for the AGO research instrument. The first pilot phase covered Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania and Rwanda, and the second phase includes Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda.
Following the pilot phase, AGO will be implemented throughout the rest of Africa.
The AGO Phase II inception workshop in Accra with national partners involved a review of the AGO implementation arrangements, methodology and practical lessons from the first phase of the project. The workshop provided delegates with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the rationale for AGO, its methodology and implementation modalities. Participants included Country Research Teams from participating countries, development partners in Ghana, ACBF and AfDB representatives, observers from ACBF partner projects in Ghana, representatives from development partner institutions (European Union, World Bank and French Embassy) and media representatives
In her welcoming address, ACBF Executive Secretary, Dr. Frannie Léautier, highlighted that the AGO provides a framework for analyzing contextual factors that shape financial governance in a particular country. AGO entails analyzing the underlying factors that determine financial governance performance and trends over time, by drilling down to explain the reasons for such performance. The AGO framework comprises analyses of 25 quantitative indicators of financial governance, complemented by literature review and qualitative analysis of public financial management systems.
Dr. Léautier mentioned that “African countries have achieved significant progress in improving governance practices but considerable challenges remain to anchor good governance and tackle corruption. This convention is both timely and relevant, as it involves several key stakeholders within and outside government, all with a vested interest in ensuring financial accountability on the continent. This joint effort with the African Development Bank forms part of a deepening partnership between our two institutions. The approach taken to assess financial governance achievements using local experts and validate the results by cross-checking with country officials is in keeping with the principles of the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action on harmonization of donor efforts, and further contributes to the implementation of one of the key agreements in the Busan Outcome Document to rely on country systems.”
Officially opening the workshop, Mrs. Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, AfDB’s Resident Representative in Accra Ghana indicated that: “AGO’s strategic framework is built on the premise that strengthening governance is complex as the challenges are broad, interdependent and cross cutting. Success can therefore only be achieved by all stakeholders working together. As an African voice on governance, the African Governance Outlook is designed with a broad partnership framework that establishes balanced ownership between the Bank and its strategic partners. The Bank’s role is to play a catalytic role in establishing an African-owned and African-led agenda on good financial governance. In rolling out the AGO, the Bank will capitalize on its existing relationship with its national and international development partners. AGO is therefore carefully designed to add value and complement existing African governance assessment tools.”