Sunday, May 31, 2009

How to do development well...

The Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Northern Sudan recently released a set of consultancy reports on the capacity of local administrative offices in northern Sudan to successfully participate in a community development fund (I guess they used to be called social investment funds). These are basically the microfinance approach to public expenditure, giving small grants to localities for public projects, and conditioning future grants on successful metrics of previous grants. is there anything not to like? Even if corruption is high, do we not want local people to get a bigger share of corruption than central people?

The reports are interesting in that northern Sudan comes across looking very much like the poor African developing country that it is- and not the gleaming modern Dubai-financed Khartoum skyline the regime wants to become. The local administrative capacity is almost pathetically weak. I imagine many other African countries doing far better.

But the reports are very competently written and provide a good base for verification of improvement of procedures in localities. Also, the synthesis report lays out very clearly the (mistake of the) CPA's abrogation of the previous local government acts and replacement with each state constitution having their own local government structures.

World Bank/LICUS "Assessment of Localities' Compliance with Minimum Qualifying Criteria and
Identification of their Capacity Needs in Northern Sudan: Synthesis Report (Final)
" January 2007

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