Crown Agents has been working with donors and governments in Africa to benchmark country public financial management (PFM) systems using the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) assessment framework. The PEFA framework allows development partners to identify key strengths and weaknesses in PFM systems, supporting the programming of PFM reform efforts. It also informs donors on the appropriate aid modalities, in terms of capacity and fiduciary risk, at any given time.
The PEFA methodology is the product of a partnership between eight bilateral donors and international organisations, including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Commission (EC) and the Department for International Development (DFID). It aims to support integrated and harmonised approaches to assessment and reform in the fields of public expenditure, procurement and financial accountability. It consists of 31 indicators grouped into the following areas:
- PFM outturns: credibility of the budget
- Key cross-cutting issues: comprehensiveness and transparency
- Budget cycle (including predictability and control; accounting and reporting; external scrutiny and audit)
- Donor practices
In 2008, Crown Agents provided a three-person team, on behalf of the EC, to undertake the Public Expenditure Financial Accountability (PEFA) Assessment in Malawi. The main objective was to take stock of the progress made in PFM reform process since the previous PEFA assessment in 2006. The project assisted the Government of Malawi in determining its most urgent PFM priorities, enabling the Government to prioritise and take forward its PFM reform Action Plan. The team reviewed the previous PEFA Assessment and then applied the PEFA methodology to review the state of public financial management in Malawi. The report can be downloaded from the resources section below.
In 2006, Crown Agents worked alongside experts from the Swedish Government, the World Bank, GTZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit - German development organisation) and the EC to assess the current state of PFM in Kenya, using the newly established PEFA methodology. The review was concluded in the middle of 2006 and its conclusions were used to develop and refocus Kenya's PFM reform strategy. It also provided a monitoring and evaluation platform, creating a baseline against which progress in PFM reforms could be measured on an annual basis. On this project, Kojo Oduro, our Lead PFM advisor, took responsibility for the PEFA indicators relating to the budget credibility and the budget cycle. The team developed benchmarks in: budget credibility; budget comprehensiveness; policy-based budgeting; predictability and budget control in budget execution; recording and reporting; accounting; and external scrutiny and audit.