Budget support & SWAps

Big results now? Emerging lessons from Results-Based Aid in Tanzania

Heiner Janus and Niels Keijzer

Experiments with Results-Based Aid (RBA) is an ongoing trend in development cooperation.  This paper analyses design features and initial implementation experiences of three ongoing RBA programmes in Tanzania that support government reforms in the water, education and decentralisation sectors. It finds that the overarching programme and the nature of capacity development ...» more

Measuring the performance of PFM systems

Government budgets and their supporting systems – often referred to as Public Financial Management (PFM) systems – are one of the key tools that governments use to turn policy statements and intentions into the delivery of goods and services. In fact, much of what governments do depends on raising, borrowing and spending public resources. Interest…» more

Climate finance and public finance management

Much attention has been directed at the international commitments to assist developing countries respond to climate change. This is reflected in the debate over the commitments made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: at the UNFCCC negotiations in Copenhagen in 2009, developed countries committed to jointly mobilise $100 billion climate finance per…» more

The $138.5 billion question: When does foreign aid work (and when doesn’t it)?

Jonathan Glennie, Andy Sumner

When does foreign aid work and when doesn’t it? This paper considers peer-reviewed, cross-country, econometric studies, published over the last decade in order to propose areas with policy implications related to the conditions under which aid is more likely to be effective. The paper discusses the nature of evidence on aid and why assessing its impact is so difficult. It looks ...» more

Effectiveness of sector-wide approaches in fragile contexts

There is no consistently strong evidence that sector-wide approaches (SWAps) have been effective at achieving development outcomes in fragile contexts. Available evidence is mixed, partly because of the uniqueness of each country’s context (Negin 2010, p. 5). SWAps are generally considered to be most appropriate in relatively stable low- and middle-income countries, with ...» more

Regional development programmes and poverty reduction

This report looks into the actual performance, and possibly impact, of regional development programmes on national-level poverty reduction and associated factors such as ‘good governance’. The evidence base presents some strengths, such as the availability of diverse and rigorous evaluations, but also significant difficulties, most notably the lack of clear data on impact, ...» more

Unblocking Results: Using Aid to Address Governance Constraints in Public Service Delivery

Heidi Tavakoli, Rebecca Simson, Helen Tilley with David Booth

What can be learned from aid packages that appear to have successfully engaged with governance constraints in public service delivery? This ODI report draws on four case studies from Tanzania, Sierra Leone and Uganda. The findings suggest that external actors can play a beneficial role in supporting government efforts to address governance constraints, if an appropriate ...» more

Why politics matter: Aid effectiveness and domestic accountability in the health sector

Leni Wild, Pilar Domingo

This paper looks at the impact of different modalities of aid on domestic accountability, by focusing on the health sector in Zambia and Uganda. It examines how aid and mechanisms around aid have interacted with domestic accountability relationships, as well as with information flows between donors and governments and outwards to citizens. In particular, it compares and ...» more

Budget Support in Fragile Situations

Catherine Dom, Anthea Gordon

This study examines the rationale, challenges of and conditions applied to budget support to fragile states; the effects of budget support on spending and the delivery of social and agricultural services; and the ability of parliaments and civil society to hold governments and donors to account for public spending. It highlights the current volatility of General Budget Support ...» more

The impact of Area-Based Programming

Area-Based Development (ABD) approaches use the geographic ‘area’ as the main entry point for intervention, rather than a sector or target group. Area-based programming is widely used in conflict-affected parts of Europe, the Middle East, South and Central Asia. ABD has been less commonly used in Africa, and where it has been applied, the programmes tend not to be as ...» more

Governance/anti-corruption indicators in budget support

Key findings: Budget support is untied aid channelled directly to a country’s budget in support of a national development strategy (or in the case of sector support, in support of a particular sector or purpose).While there is literature that discusses the design and effectiveness of governance indicators generally, there is very little documentation specifically on the ...» more

Experience with Health SWAps

Experiences with SWAps have shown that they can have a positive impact on improved national ownership and leadership; donor harmonisation and alignment; and greater coherence, transparency and accountability along the policy-result chain. This query examines the key determinants and prerequisites for success in health SWAps. It also looks at the success of different SWAp ...» more

Integrating gender responsive budgeting into the aid effectiveness agenda


These research reports (1 composite report and 10 country reports) have been generated as part of the UNIFEM programme,  “Integrating gender responsive budgeting into the aid effectiveness agenda”. The three-year programme funded by the European Commission (EC) was launched in 2008 and consists of research and programmatic technical assistance.The investigation was intended to ...» more

Budget Support and Civil Society

The following points are repeatedly made in the literature with regard to civil society engagement in the context of budget support: The key role for civil society in PRBS is in holding government to account, along with parliament. Donors providing budget support to governments have tended to simultaneously provide support to civil society to strengthen their capacities ...» more

The Political Economy of Policy Reform: Issues and Implications for Policy Dialogue and Development Operations

World Bank

How can donors improve the effectiveness of policy reform processes? This study from the World Bank addresses the political economy of sector reform in agricultural marketing, and water supply and sanitation. It uses a social analysis perspective to analyse stakeholder interests, incentives, institutions, risks and opportunities. Development agencies should undertake timely ...» more

Citizen Participation in Budgeting: Prospects for Developing Countries

Donald Moynihan

Why is budget participation important? How can meaningful citizen participation in budgeting be fostered? This chapter of a World Bank book examines participation theory and case studies from Brazil, India, South Africa, Uganda and the United States. Citizen participation can make local service delivery more effective. Government attitudes and the role of civil society are both ...» more

Security Sector Financing and Fiscal Sustainability in Afghanistan

M Manthri

Is the current financing model for Afghanistan’s security sector appropriate? How does it affect incentives around the reform process? This Overseas Development Institute (ODI) paper finds that the current model falls short of good aid effectiveness practice. It implies that donors are perpetuating high levels of aid dependence, not setting strong incentives for institutional ...» more

Old Habits Die Hard: Aid and Accountability in Sierra Leone


How can aid effectiveness in Sierra Leone be improved? This European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad) report reveals piecemeal progress in improving aid effectiveness. It focuses on issues of accountability and ownership to analyse who sets the policy agenda and identify obstacles to the development of an accountable, democratic and country-driven aid ...» more

Strengthening Legislative Financial Scrutiny in Developing Countries

Joachim Wehner

How can the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) improve its work in strengthening legislative financial oversight? This study from the London School of Economics and Political Science suggests that robust oversight at the country level is crucial for effective direct budget support. DFID's projects involving legislative financial scrutiny are vulnerable to ...» more