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Forum for the Future of Aid

Southern Voices for Change in the International Aid System Project

The Forum on the Future of Aid is an online community dedicated to research and opinions about how the international aid system currently works and where it should go next

organised by ODI

Briefing Papers from Overseas Development Institute, London

Re-examining sovereign debt: Forgiveness and innovation, September 2006

Lauren Phillips

Bretton Woods Reform: Sifting through the Options in the Search for Legitimacy, May 2006

Lauren Phillips

What would doubling aid do for macroeconomic management in Africa?, April 2006

Mick Foster and Tony Killick

Promoting Mutual Accountability in Aid Relationships: Addressing the power imbalance between donors and recipients is necessary to promote real partnerships, April 2006

Paolo de Renzio and Sarah Mulley

Linking Policies and Budgets: Implementing Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks in a PRSP Context, June 2005

Paulo de Renzio and Samantha Smith

A common criticism of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) is that they represent a wish-list of policy measures which are poorly prioritised and too often de-linked from availability of financial resources in the budget. Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks (MTEFs) have been hailed as the solution to this problem, and introduced with donor support in a number of PRSP countries. However, the evidence so far is mixed, and highlights a number of factors which need to be taken into account to effectively link policy-making and budget processes. This briefing paper is based on nine country case studies which investigated the experience of implementing MTEFs in a PRSP context. The countries were Albania, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

Scaling up versus Absorptive Capacity: Challenges and Opportunities for Reaching the MDGs in Africa, May 2005

Paolo de Renzio

The ‘scaling up’ of aid flows that could materialise in 2005 is likely to run up against ‘absorptive capacity’ constraints, unless these are taken into account from the beginning, and adequately addressed in the design and implementation of improved aid delivery mechanisms.

Why Budgets Matter: The New Agenda of Public Expenditure Management, May 2004

Paulo de Renzio (Coordinating author)

Recent years have seen dramatic shifts, in theory and practice, both in the area of public sector management and reform, and in the area of development assistance. The ideas and practices of the ‘New Public Management’ have reshaped thinking about public policy and management both in developed and in developing countries. The restructuring of public services in order to enhance their efficiency, with the introduction of more competition and private market discipline into public administration, was meant to transform bureaucratic culture and promote more open, accountable and results- and citizen-oriented governments. New Zealand, the UK, Sweden and others led the way among developed countries. And many of these ideas, despite some voices of concern, were introduced in civil service reform initiatives in many developing countries. In the area of budgeting as well, the focus shifted from the ‘due process approaches’ of conventional budgeting to a wider agenda of ‘Public Expenditure Management’, which highlights the importance of the complex web of actors and institutions involved in the budget process, and of linking expenditure with measurable results in terms of outputs and outcomes.

Can we Attain the Millennium Development Goals in Education and Health through Public Expenditure and Aid?, April 2003

John Roberts

The Millennium Development Goals set ambitious targets – for example halving the 1990 rate of income poverty, reducing the 1990 rate of child mortality by two-thirds and enabling all children to complete primary school by 2015. Many of the poor countries of the world which face the greatest challenge in reducing poverty have now produced their own Poverty Reduction Strategies, in which they set their own objectives and targets for moving in the direction of the Goals, while respecting the priority needs of their own populations. In many cases, these Strategies build on pre-existing results-oriented medium-term frameworks for sector development and public expenditure. The broad consensus among donors is that their aid will be most effective in combating poverty if used in support of Poverty Reduction Strategies, often in the form of budget support. But public expenditure programmes in the social sectors have a mixed record for efficiency, effectiveness and poverty-relatedness. More of the same would not do enough to achieve ambitious targets.

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