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Managing public finance in times of crisis in Africa

28 February 2022
Af Db

Ms. Bajabulile “Swazi’’ Tshabalala, Senior Vice President of the African Development Bank Group gives opening remarks.

Neil Cole, Executive Secretary of CABRI, was one of the key speakers for the 8th E-Policy Dialogue of the Global Community of Practice (G-CoP) of the African Development Institute (ADI) of the African Development Bank Group on “Managing public finance in times of crisis in Africa”. The e-Policy Dialogue held on 28 February 2022, was driven by the consensus that Africa’s sustainable recovery from the fiscal impacts of COVID-19 relies significantly on the availability and efficient management of affordable financing for inclusive development.

Drawing on CABRI’s research findings since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Neil Cole’s intervention focused on how existing Public Financial Management (PFM) institutions, legislative and regulatory frameworks, systems, processes and tools have facilitated or hampered crisis response efforts. He outlined how the policies, practices and processes can be reinforced to increase the resilience of PFM systems ahead of future crises including “(…) the weaknesses exposed by the crisis should be the impetus for locally and problem-driven reform.”, which is central to CABRI’s Building Public Finance Capabilities programme.

“(…) the weaknesses exposed by the crisis should be the impetus for locally and problem-driven reform.”

The seminar also included parallel sessions on five thematic areas:

  • Resource mobilisation - domestic and external resources
  • Resource allocation and utilisation
  • Public Financial Management and accountability capabilities
  • PFM for managing global commons
  • Partnership and coordination for strengthening Public Financial Management capabilities in Africa for resilience in times of crises

Danielle Serebro, Acting Programme Manager at CABRI joined the parallel session dedicated to PFM an accountability capabilities. Drawing on CABRI’s work on information systems in PFM, her intervention was on the digitisation of PFM systems and processes for transparency and accountability in PFM during crisis in Africa.

The objective of the 8th G-CoP seminar which convened a plethora of organisations, think tanks, public finance practitioners and scholars as well as several CABRI member countries, was to draw lessons from previous and current pandemics and global shocks to inform policy actions by the African Development Bank Group, African countries, and partners worldwide. The seminar will be followed by the inaugural session of a 3-day executive training programme from March 2-4, 2022, for public officials representing government agencies, ministries, and central banks on “Key policy tools for managing public finance in times of crisis”.

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