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State of Budget Accountability and Transparency in Africa

Abstract: 

Two of the most important principles that a budget process needs to be guided are accountability and transparency. The World Bank defines accountability as: “the obligation of power-holders to account for or take responsibility for their actions”. Power-holders refer to those who hold political, financial or other forms of power more specifically government officials. Accountability in the budget context can be viewed as answerability of decision makers and implementers with regard to budgetary processes at the formulation, approval, implementation and performance review stages to those whose interests are affected by their actions or inactions Transparency is generally regarded as a key feature of good governance, and an essential prerequisite for accountability between states and citizens. Fiscal transparency is defined as openness toward the public at large about government structure and functions, fiscal policy intentions, public sector accounts, and projections. It involves ready access to reliable, comprehensive, timely, understandable, and internationally comparable information on government activities. Having these in mind, this paper seeks to briefly review the status of budget accountability and transparency in Africa. The main objective of the study is to analyze the extent to which budget accountability and transparency initiatives are practiced in the continent and also to assess the effectiveness or impacts of these initiatives. The study is based on desk review of existing literatures. According to the findings of this paper: mechanisms of budget accountability are beginning to develop across the continent, audit institutions in some countries have comprehensive audit authority; supreme audit institutions from different countries are beginning to share best practices with each other through the establishment of the African Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions; mechanisms of vertical accountability have also shown progresses in some countries. However, still broader enabling legal frameworks are very essential to further enhance accountability across the countries in the continent. Moreover, it was understood that some expenditure monitoring mechanisms turned out well in revealing significant leakages and unnecessary complexities in the system of financial transfers. Various budget transparency initiatives were also reviewed and it was recognized that budget transparency is very weak in Africa

Corporate Author: 
Demirew Getachew; Getenet Alemu; Worku Gebeyehu (Editors) and Ethiopian Economic Association
Publisher: 
Ethiopian Economic Association
ISBN/ISSN: 
978-99944-54-31-10
Primary Descriptors: 

Budget

Secondary Descriptor: 

Transparency

Geographic Descriptors: 
Ethiopia
Broad Subject heading: 
Accountability, Policy
Call Number: 
330.963 PRO 2013
Serial Key Title: 
Proceeding of the Tenth International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy
Publication catagory: 
Content type: 
Volume: 
I
Publication date: 
2013-06-03 00:00:00
Conference Place: 
EEA Multi-Purpose Building Conference Hall, Addis Ababa
Place of publication: 
Addis Ababa
Type of material: 
Book
Current frequency: 
Annually
Conference date: 
July 19 - 21, 2012