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Public Financial Management and Country Development News Roundup


August 10, 2017

PFM and development news from last week uncovered by the FreeBalance Strategy and Innovation Group.

NO ONE LEFT BEHIND INDEX: Romilly Greenhill describes a new index from the Overseas Development Institute to monitor ‘leave no one behind’ government commitments from 44 countries. “The index measures governments’ readiness in three areas:

  • Data: have household surveys been conducted recently?
  • Policy: do countries have some of the core policies in place: are health services free at the point of access; are there anti-discrimination policies in employment; and can women own land?
  • Finance: do governments meet agreed spending targets in health, education and social protection?”

FINANCIAL RESILIENCE IN AFRICA: Gavin O’Toole  reports on a conversation with Neil Cole of Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) on financial resilience in Africa in Global Government Forum. “The intergovernmental organisation has been working with finance officials confronted by shocks – ranging from the Ebola crisis to plummeting oil prices and hikes in the public sector wage bill – to help strengthen their responses.”

STOP BLAMING THE POOR FOR CORRUPTION: In this thoughtful piece, Charles Kenny from the Center for Global Development has had enough of blaming victims for the effects of corruption. ‘There was a time when the predominant view worldwide as to why poor people and countries were poor involved the circumstances they were in—they lacked the money for the roads, factories, and power that would spur industrialization, or the education and healthcare that would make them productive. But, in the rich world at least, views have shifted. Now it is a commonplace argument that the reason poor countries are poor is because of the moral failings of the people who live there—governance that doesn’t work, perhaps driven by a “culture of corruption.”’

IMF BRASS GETTING PUSH BACK ON CORRUPTION TRANSPARENCY: Ian Talley in the Wall Street Journal explains why the IMF is not releasing country corruption rankings. ‘Naming and shaming” can be embarrassing.

ACCOUNTABILITY NEEDS AN ECOSYSTEM: Paolo De Renzio blogs at Governance for Development on the biology of budgeting. He describes a recent findings that “reveal a complex web of interactions between actors, both within and outside government, that together influence how public money is managed. Rather than the simple vertical/horizontal model, the sum of these interactions amounts to a whole ecosystem of potential entry points for improving accountability.”

NUDGES TO REASON: Nudges—policy proposals informed by work in behavioural economics and psychology that are designed to lead to better decision-making or better behaviour—are controversial. Critics allege that they bypass our deliberative capacities, thereby undermining autonomy and responsible agency. Neil Levy at the Journal of Medical Ethics identifies concept of “nudging to reason” rather than manipulation.


SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS MAY NOT BE SUSTAINABLE: Localization is the answer to health sustainability according to a profile of Helena Norberg-Hodge by Anna Leach in the Guardian. Sustainable development requires understanding the local cultural context.

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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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