Careers Tender

Public finance management (PFM) leadership stories in Africa: An agency approach

These terms of reference are to support CABRI in documenting and recording the stories of leaders within ministries of finance, within the CABRI network. The leadership stories project aims to illustrate that, despite numerous obstacles, budget officials can initiate change by taking actions and creating buy-in within the ministry. The purpose is to show, through concrete examples, that finance officials can have agency in conducting reforms in their country. The project will provide inspiring stories of bureaucrats who managed to take the initiative and conduct change in their ministries despite administrative and political obstacles. This work will also feed into the broader programme of work on institutional capabilities under CABRI’s strategic plan. 

1. Background

Over the years, CABRI has moved from an informal network of senior budget officials, to a fully-fledged international organisation with 14 member countries. From inception, CABRI’s approach has recognised peer-to-peer exchange as an effective way of learning. As such, CABRI provides a platform for officials from ministries of finance in Africa to discuss progress on PFM reforms and policies.

While peer learning remains a central part of CABRI’s approach, the organisation has started to focus on building officials’ capabilities to ensure improved budget credibility i.e. spending plans are implemented as planned. This is an essential investment in making PFM work in ways that achieve results and which will ensure governments can cope with change.

In 2017, CABRI launched a joint programme with the Building State Capability programme at Harvard University. The Building PFM Capabilities project directly supports building capacity and skills in seven ministries of finance in Africa, thus strengthening capabilities. The programme relies on the principle that teams exercise leadership in tackling locally-nominated problems over a six-month period. In addition, the programme hopes to provide participants with a tool to continuously solve problems, independent of external technical assistance.

The ninth CABRI annual seminar birthed the idea to investigate how leadership plays a role in building effective and accountable organisations, and what lessons leaders of central finance agencies on the continent learn from managing the political economy; building teams; planning and driving policies and reforms; managing complex organisations; and obtaining buy-in from stakeholders.

These terms of reference inform the requirements for support to this work programme through the provision of services to document, record, edit and compile interviews with identified leaders. CABRI will hire consultants or interviewers as part of a separate contract, if it is felt that this additional support is needed. In such an instance, the consultants will also provide input into certain outputs that may be coordinated by the media production team. These terms of reference cover work to be undertaken before 31 March 2018.

2. Objective and scope of the project

As indicated above, the leadership stories project aims to illustrate that despite numerous obstacles, budget officials can initiate change by taking actions and creating buy-in within the ministry. The purpose of this exercise is to show, through concrete examples, that finance officials have agency in conducting reforms in their country. The leadership stories project will provide inspiring stories of bureaucrats who managed to take the initiative and conduct change in their ministries despite administrative and political obstacles.

The type of leadership stories illustrated through this project will focus on stories of informal authority, and those that do not, necessarily, rely on the de jure power of the agents, but on the authority developed through iterative actions. The leadership stories will illustrate a change in the status quo and values due to the reform efforts initiated, or led by budget officials.

The documented leadership stories will be used to:

  • Illustrate specific leadership areas that are relevant to the work of the Building PFM Capabilities programme and that could be used on the online platform, or during related workshops.
  • Prompt participants to reflect on the required leadership in PFM reforms during CABRI’s workshops.
  • Add valuable content to the CABRI website and PFM knowledge hub for users from ministries of finance. This may be visual, and/or written content.

Illustrating and disseminating these stories would constitute a great resource for inspiring practitioners and academics on the continent, but also globally.

The final product will consist of 2 – 4 high quality interviews with identified senior budget officials (leaders). This will build a resource for the CABRI network to draw on in future. Leaders will be identified

As much as possible, leadership stories will be categorised using a two-step approach. First, the identified reforms will be categorised according to CABRI’s strategic plan and technical programmes: (1) Fiscal and budget policy; (2) Transparency and accountability; (3) Institutional capabilities; and (4) Public debt management. Second, stories will be linked to one of the four suggested leadership areas: (1) driving attention to the problem, (2) building informal authority, (3) getting work done and (4) taking the work further. These leadership areas have sub-areas inspired by leadership theory. 

3. Process and tasks

The process includes three stages. The exact timing will need to be agreed upon jointly between CABRI and the media production consultant/s.

Preparatory phase [September – November 2017]

The first phase will be done by the CABRI Secretariat and will involve finalising the concept, and identifying 7 – 10 possible stories to capture. CABRI will conduct telephonic interviews with the different officials. Following the conclusion of these preliminary interviews, CABRI will review them and choose a smaller group to be documented by the appointed media production consultant/s. Currently CABRI is aiming to document 2 – 4 stories, but this will depend on the sequencing of interviews and cost.

Interviews and filming [November – December 2017]

In this stage of the project, the media production consultant/s will coordinate with CABRI and the chosen officials to determine the dates and sequencing of interviews. Depending on the attendance of currently planned events, it may be possible to conduct interviews with more than one official during these meetings. Alternatively, arrangements will need to be made to schedule individual interviews.

Finalisation of edited footage [January 2017]

It is expected that the chosen media production consultant/s will record the interview [formats to be agreed prior to contract signing]. The team will then be expected to edit the video into a format suitable for publication on the CABRI website. CABRI will also need the raw footage for its records. Ideally the contracted company should also be able to provide translation services for subtitling of the videos.

4. Tasks and outputs of the media production consultant/s

The media production consultant/s will need to undertake the list of tasks presented below. 

Leadership Stories

Place of assignment

The assignment will involve travel to the identified countries, and maybe from the offices of the CABRI Secretariat.

5. Recruitment and payment terms

The terms of the contract will follow CABRI rules and procedures. CABRI will cover the cost for the translation and editorial services of any written documents that may accompany interview material and to be published on the CABRI website and social platforms.


Accommodation and travel will be covered by CABRI, unless otherwise agreed. In instances where one party covers the cost of the other, original invoices will need to be provided. Payment of invoices will be made following performance of services, submission of outputs and acceptance of services performed in line with milestones agreed to in the contract.


The media production consultant/s should indicate their interest by submitting financial and technical proposals, along with the Curriculum Vitae of the specialist/s that will manage and contribute to the project. The Curriculum Vitae should highlight the relevant and recent experience, and qualifications of the proposed resource person/s. On the financial side, the proposal should present the total budget that will be required (with a breakdown between fees and expenses and indicating the number of days).


Note that the present project envisages a workload of a maximum of 90 days. Proposals should be submitted to the CABRI Secretariat via e-mail to Fiona Matanda, Finance and Administrative Assistant, Joan Stott, PFM Specialist, Adil Ababou, Programme Manager. The deadline for submitting the proposal is 5pm (GMT+2) on Wednesday 18 October 2017. The contract is expected to start on 30 October 2017 and the deadline for completion of the contract will be 31 March 2018. 

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