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This note series is intended to summarize good practices and key policy findings on poverty reduction and economic management (PREM) topics.
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Establishing a National M&E System in South Africa(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-09) Goldman, Ian ; Engela, Ronette ; Akhalwaya, Ismail ; Gasa, Nolwazi ; Leon, Bernadette ; Mohamed, Hassen ; Phillips, SeanSouth Africa has a number of actors with legal or constitutional mandates for monitoring and evaluation (M&E). There has been a major shift in emphasis concerning M&E since 2009, partially stimulated by a political need to improve service delivery, but also from the extensive exposure of both technocrats and political leadership to international experiences. As a result, the Ministry of Performance M&E was created in the Presidency in 2009, and the Department of Performance M&E (DPME) in January 2010. The DPME has introduced a number of initiatives since its establishment, including a focus on 12 government priority outcomes; the assessment of the quality of management performance of national and provincial departments; a new system of monitoring front-line services; a national evaluation system; and a municipal performance assessment tool, which is still in development. These tools have contributed to a major increase in the availability of evidence for policy and decision making. Rapid recent progress is due to strong support at the onset from South Africa s President, learning from international experience, and strong teams in DPME and the National Treasury. Despite these positive developments, significant challenges remain in ensuring the coherence of reform initiatives conducted by central government departments, improving administrative data quality, and establishing M&E as a core role of management.
Estimating Financing Needs for Local Services in Madagascar(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2003-11) Fengler, Wolfgang ; Wietzke, Frank BorgeThis note presents the methodology and findings of a field study on the financing needs of Madagascar's communes-the country's lowest but most institutionally advanced level of subnational government. Following a first round of municipal elections in 1995, more than 1,500 communes are now formally responsible for maintaining basic administrative services and social and economic infrastructure, including local waste disposal and sanitation. In addition, communes are responsible for identifying and coordinating local investments and for supporting implementation of the national Poverty Reduction Strategy at the local level. To finance these activities, communes receive population-based transfers and small conditional transfers, and can collect revenue from property, market, and consumption taxes as well as user charges. Yet little is known about how much these fiscal assignments satisfy local needs. As part of its policy dialogue with the government of Madagascar, the World Bank is engaged in extensive research that includes geographic mapping of social spending and a review of opportunities and obstacles to fiscal and sectoral decentralization. This research generated the following analysis of local and cross-sectoral service needs and available financing.
Introducing a Value Added Tax : Lessons from Ghana(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2001-12) Chapman, EmmaIn 1998 Ghana's government successfully introduced a value added tax (VAT). But this success followed a failed attempt in 1995, when the country's first VAT was repealed after just three and a half months. Ghana's experience provides several lessons for the successful introduction of a VAT-particularly the importance of recognizing public sensitivity to changes in the tax system and of securing public acceptance when introducing a VAT. A VAT's introductory rate has a big influence on public opinion, but so do public education and management of public expectations. In addition, political commitment- in terms of both an enabling macroeconomic environment and the enactment of legislation-is crucial for securing popular support and ensuring the timely introduction of a VAT.
Looking for More from Adjustment : Africa's Experience(World Bank, Washington, DC, 1999-05) Pape, ElizabethBy the mid-1990s, after more than 15 years of adjustment lending, it had become clear that adjustment programs in Africa had not accelerated growth or reduced poverty, except in a handful of countries. The main reasons? Recipient governments did not "own" the reform programs, and they perceived the conditionality attached to the programs as being imposed on them. Adjustment programs were often unresponsive to country conditions and changes in external circumstances. In most cases the World Bank and recipient governments did not have a shared vision of what adjustment programs were supposed to achieve. In response to this diagnosis, in 1995 the Bank's Africa Region introduced the Higher Impact Adjustment Lending (HIAL) initiative. The initiative aimed to achieve a quicker, stronger, broader, and longer supply response from structural adjustment programs by: 1) increasing country selectivity and strengthening government ownership; 2) allowing more flexibility in adjustment operations--in particular, introducing new tranching mechanisms; and 3) introducing performance indicators to define expected results and assess actual outcomes. This note describes how the approach and design of these operations were adapted to achieve higher impact.