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Public Finance and Country Development News Digest


September 6, 2017

PFM and Development news found by the FreeBalance Strategy & Innovation Group.

BUDGET TRANSPARENCY VOLATILITY: Paolo de Renzio of the International Budget Partnership described the growing problem of inconsistent budget transparency. It is very difficult for civil society to monitor government spending when key budget documents are published in an “inconsistent and unpredictable manner.” de Renzio makes a strong point: “volatility poses important challenges to citizens, civil society groups, and other actors interested in budget monitoring and analysis for advocacy and accountability purposes. For them, having predictable access to budget information is essential. They need to know both where to find the fiscal data they require and when it will be published. They also need to be able to reasonably expect that the government will stick to an established publication schedule. If the publication of budget documents is not provided in a regular and timely manner, it becomes very difficult for accountability actors to effectively monitor how governments spend public resources.”

BROOKINGS FINANCIAL AND DIGITAL INCLUSION: The Brookings Institution has published an updated report that “evaluates access to and usage of affordable financial services by underserved people across 26 geographically, politically, and economically diverse countries.” Authors, Robin Lewis, John Villasenor, and Darrell M. West, found that Kenya, Brazil and Mexico lead in financial and digital inclusiveness among emerging economies.

CIPFA BUILDS PFM CAPACITY IN PNG: “CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, and the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which will for the first time offer the opportunity for its public finance graduates to become CIPFA members.”

IMPACT OF INCREASING REMITTANCES ON DEVELOPMENT: The president of IFAD, Gilbert Houngbo, described the impact of more than $450B in annual remittances in IT News Africa, in an interview with Franck Kuwonu or Africa Renewal. Houngbo suggests that “the point is not to look at remittances only in terms of billions of dollars, but in terms of the impact the billions of dollars are having daily on the lives of the recipients. The billions of dollars transferred are more than the amount of FDI [foreign direct investment] and ODA [official development assistance] in most of the countries. So, we should stop seeing it as just a money transfer. It is a real contribution to development.”

HOW TO ACHIEVE SDGs: Mahmoud Mohieldin, of the World Bank, described efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Project Syndicate using the lessons from Colombia. Mohieldin states: “In any country, achieving the SDGs will require government, business, aid agencies, multilateral banks, and civil society to work together, adopt flexible approaches, share knowledge, measure progress effectively, and recognize that the various targets are interconnected. Colombia seems to understand this, and is pursuing an integrated approach that leverages the strengths of each actor.”


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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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