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PFM blog

In Focus: Unlocking digital PFM Capability : CABRI’s Innovative Approach

29 January 2024
Andisile Best
(Photo by CABRI)

Andisile Best | Executive – Public Finance | CABRI

As we step into 2024, CABRI is gearing up for a groundbreaking initiative set to transform the landscape of Public Financial Management (PFM) across Africa. The Enhancing Digital Public Financial Management in Africa programme goes beyond the realm of conventional IT technology assessments; it is a strategic journey to empower countries to harness the power of digitalisation technologies for efficient resource management and enhanced service delivery.

A Unique Approach to Digital Transformation:

In a world awash with various technology assessments, CABRI stands out in introducing a unique value proposition. Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), this programme is not about creating a contest to achieve “IT maturity status” amongst countries. It recognises the distinctive structural arrangements of each nation, offering a tailored, country-centric approach that examines individual journeys, challenges, and successes.

At the core of this programme is an investigation of a three-tier collaboration between the PFM and IT officials across key players – the Ministries of Finance, the Government Technology Departments, and sector Service Delivery Departments. This to the end of obtaining a holistic understanding of each country's unique approach to digital transformation, acknowledging the pivotal roles that these entities play.

CABRI's initiative is driven by a careful examination of the key elements that in reality do define a country's digital success, which can be shown to find expression in an improvement of services for its citizens. Country budget allocations are strategic policy implementation instruments, designed to be able to amplify access and connectivity in underserved areas. Besides other logistical issues experienced by more remote locations, focus is on dismantling the barriers of the digital divide.

Previously implemented country PFM reforms such as Performance Based Budgeting (PBB), Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), and others are still as relevant today. However, CABRI underscores a vital thread that elevates them in today's context – implementation within a technology-enabled environment. Automation and integration of systems propel these reforms forward. Each country must understand it's digital status relative to its PFM purpose, ensuring that each reform continues to evolve and improve, harnessing the potential of technology for efficient and impactful benefits to the citizens and to enhance public sector accountability and governance.

Through this initial exploration of developments across the African continent, CABRI is not merely intent on developing a listing the pillars which could be the focus. Instead, we are intent on peeling back the layers, seeking to understand government service delivery through the nuanced interplay between budget allocations, connectivity expansion, cybersecurity fortification, and staff development commitments, and other elements. Questions to be posed don’t constitute “checklists”; they are inquiries to elicit the detailed elements for understanding a country's journey. Understanding how PFM, technology, and service delivery are intricately connected is critical, unravelling and strength-testing the threads that contribute to the broader national digital transformation. The intricate story of any specific a country's digital journey does not follow a set path but has emerged based on historical developments, and needs to continue and be developed effectively and efficiently.

Programme Implementation Snapshot:

As we gear up for the implementation phase, a comprehensive plan unfolds:

In-Country Discussions: CABRI is gearing up for in-depth consultations in five selected countries, engaging with stakeholders, government officials, and subject matter experts to delve into each nation's digitalisation journey to understand the path already taken. Two of these countries will participate in in-country-focused discussions, while three will contribute as a desktop research to enrich the comprehensive insights gathered.

Webinar Presentations: Two webinars will be hosted. The first aims to create awareness about the initiative, while the second will unveil preliminary findings from the consolidated country case studies and consultations.

Blogs on Digital Transformation: A series of blogs authored or co-written by officials and CABRI will shed light on specific aspects of digital transformation in PFM. These will be a testament to the shared knowledge and insights gained during the in-depth case studies.

What’s Next? Stay Tuned!

The upcoming events, consultations, and blogs are not just CABRRI project completion milestones; they are gateways providing an opportunity to, over time, do comprehensive self-assessments that are appropriate in the context of the development of countries.

As we continue to immerse ourselves into the digital future of PFM on the African continent, CABRI invites you to participate actively. Follow our webinars, engage in discussions, and contribute to the evolving narrative of digital excellence in Public Financial Management.

Our collective CABRI journey regarding PFM digitalisation has just begun, and your country’s unique story in the digital era is to unfold further.

Are you ready to script the next chapter of enhanced service delivery through digital innovation? Stay with us as we map out the next phase of this transformative journey together – your input will shape it. CABRI is here to guide you every step of the way.

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