How and why progress in public financial management reforms vary in in post-conflict anglophone Liberia and Sierra Leone

Jalloh, Mohamed Adama (2020). How and why progress in public financial management reforms vary in in post-conflict anglophone Liberia and Sierra Leone. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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After almost two decades of implementing New Public Financial Management (NPFM) reforms, progress in reforming Public Financial Management (PFM) systems, processes and institutions in developing countries has been limited and uneven. This is in spite of the substantial financial and technical support from Development Partners. However, there is a lack of empirical evidence and often the evidence cited is anecdotal about the specific role of non-technical drivers in in explaining the state of PFM reforms in developing countries. This is in part, because each of the approach used to study PFM reforms has focused mainly on addressing only limited aspects of PFM, leaving many critical aspects unaddressed in the reform strategy. In response to the many challenges and shortcomings of current approaches, this study adopts a holistic approach, using case studies and the process-tracing method to investigate the cumulative contributions of the underlying drivers to understand why progress in PFM reforms is limited and uneven in post-conflict Liberia and Sierra Leone.

This evidence-based study reveals the substantial progress made in upstream reforms is not enough to deliver on the promise of PFM reforms and has not trickled down to downstream service delivery elements of PFM. Partial implementation of reform initiatives has been typical in post-conflict Anglophone countries. The untypical progress made in some downstream reforms, such as Integrated Financial Management Information Systems is partly because politicians and civil servants have found ways to bypass core control and accountability mechanisms. It is easier to align the interests of International Partners and Country Governments in upstream and de jure reforms, but downstream and deconcentrated reforms areas remain the challenge. They are deeply rooted in the interests, incentives and power-relations of Political Leaders and their appointees. The implications of this study, therefore suggest that strategic nuancing of PFM reform programming, through the holistic approach is needed, capable of addressing both the low-hanging fruits and more far-reaching reforms by expanding the reform space, engaging wider stakeholders and deepening reform of downstream service delivery units.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Department of International Development
Funders: Other
Other Funders: Commonwealth Scholarship Commission
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)


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