Many African governments have extensive and long-running public financial management (PFM) reform programmes. However, these reforms have had limited impact in effectively solving the challenges governments face – new systems are introduced, but wages are still paid late; new procurement processes are adopted, but textbooks and medicines are still not distributed on time or on budget; new laws are passed to control spending, but over-commitments remain pervasive.
The Building Public Finance Capabilities (BPFC) programme was developed by the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) in collaboration with the Building State Capability (BSC) Program of Harvard’s Center for International Development. The BPFC programme stands in contrast with traditional approaches to PFM reform, which primarily focus on technical fixes and have had mixed results. CABRI’s programme takes the view that PFM reform does not lend itself to a one-size-fits-all approach and requires the careful management of political and administrative constraints together with a deep understanding of the local context.
The BPFC is an 8-month action-learning programme which puts teams of government practitioners centre stage of PFM reforms through an approach that drives incremental change in solving locally identified public finance problems.