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In Focus - Unlocking Africa's Potential: Learning from Successful Digital Reforms for Improved Service Delivery

3 April 2024
Giselle Hadley for bios on event

Digitalisation of government systems is seen as a key mechanism to improve efficiency of public spending, to increase transparency, and to be more responsive to populations’ needs. Across our member states, we are seeing increasing interventions to digitise data and to translate this data into better decisions for spending and improved service delivery. Senegal’s digital reform in tax revenue administration led to a 60% reduction in time to refund VAT claims[1]. Rwanda digitised over 100 public services into their IremboGov platform, making services more accessible and transparent to citizens[2]. Nearly all 17 of CABRI’s member states have implemented some form of an integrated Financial Management Information System (iFMIS).

Despite the enthusiasm around digitalisation, digital tools are not a silver bullet solution. Translating the digital investments into the desired outcomes is hard. For example, iFMIS systems promise improved availability of financial information to enable better policy decisions and reallocation of funds to priority areas. Unfortunately, implementation of iFMIS often stalls and frequently does not produce the desired improvements to budget transparency and credibility. ODI’s recent working papers[3] outline the need to take a more problem-driven approach to digital tool design and implementation. This ensures that the tool remains fit-for-purpose and that the goal of the investment is not implementation of the tool, but rather a desired improvement to the system.

Starting this quarter, CABRI embarked on a new area of work with the goal of Enhancing Digital Public Financial Management in Africa. Here, we join the likes of ODI, IMF, OECD, World Bank and others in exploring how digital tools can strengthen internal government systems, and ultimately outcomes for the populations they serve. Ministries of Finance play a central role, not only through digitalizing their own systems, but also through the review of spending and execution of digital reforms in line-ministries.

The Enhancing Digital Public Financial Management in Africa program seeks to build on the work done by other technical partners, by placing African experiences at the centre. It will bring a sharp focus on knowledge sharing between African countries on what works and how it works. Over time, CABRI intends to develop a tool or repository of information based on our countries’ success stories in such a way that it encourages practical peer-to-peer learning and a problem-driven and context-specific approach to new reforms on the continent.

Over the next six months, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CABRI will conduct five country investigations. In line with CABRI’s philosophy, these investigations will attempt to understand the technical, administrative, and political factors that have influenced the success of a digital reform within Ministries of Finance or line ministries. Throughout, we will focus on how digital systems improved internal financial systems or service delivery within the country, and how capabilities have been built within governments for the sustainability of reforms. These five country examples will shape future work on digital government at CABRI.

We invite representatives from our Member Countries to join us for the launch of this new area of work. On 18 April 2024 at 10:00 a.m. GMT we will hold a webinar to provide an overview of the work, including interventions from technical partners and country examples. Following this webinar, five countries will be selected for the country investigations. If you would like to share your country’s experience in translating a digital reform into improved service delivery outcomes, please reach out to Giselle Hadley ( 

A full programme of the webinar will be shared shortly. We hope to see you there!

[1] (IMF)



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