MDRE report holds African governments and donor countries mutually accountable

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Monitoring commitments and progress towards results is part of our DNA here at ONE. So there was a flurry of excitement earlier this month when we received a copy of the 2012 Mutual Review of Development Effectiveness (MDRE).

The MDRE is an annual report by the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the OECD. The title may sound long and confusing but it’s actually very descriptive. It’s a “mutual review” in that it monitors the commitments to increasing the effectiveness of development from African governments, as well as commitments by partner countries.

The report is divided into four broad topics: sustainable economic growth, investing in people, good governance and financing for development. Within those four areas, the report covers 18 topics. For each of the 18 topics, the report reviews the development commitments of African governments and their international partners, takes stock of the results that have been achieved, and suggests policy priorities for moving forward in those areas. It’s chock-full of great information, and very nicely organized and color-coded, making it easy to zero in on the topics that matter the most to you.

The MDRE covers the better-known commitments you know –- such as the Abuja Declaration, which commits African governments to spend at least 15 percent of its expenditures on health –- as well as some you may not be as familiar with, such as the Priority Action Plan of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa, which, in January of this year, African leaders agreed to prioritize.

Those targets include ensuring that African capital and major cities’ information networks are interconnected by the end of this year, reducing the proportion of people without access to safe water and sanitation by 75 percent by 2015, and providing access to electricity to at least 35 percent of the population by 2020.

A few key results on the part of African governments:

  • Political Governance: In 2012, the African Union committed to a zero-tolerance policy to unconstitutional changes in government.
  • Domestic Public Resources: By far the major source of financing for development, domestic resources rebounded to reach an all-time high of $520 billion in 2011. Only 8 African countries collect less than 15 percent of GDP in domestic public revenue.
  • Economic Governance: A number of new anti-corruption mechanisms have been established. The African Union Advisory Board on Corruption is now actively combating corruption on the continent and has developed a five-year Regional Anti-Corruption Program (2011 to 2016) with the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

Check out the report for more, or search Commit4Africa, an online database of commitments made by heads of state for African development.

Commit4Africa’s website puts perfectly the importance of the connection between making public the commitments leaders make with transparency and accountability in pushing for better development outcomes: “Making those commitments visible is a key step to their delivery. Without transparency there is no accountability. And without accountability, achievements to date are reduced to ambitious rhetoric, of little benefit to Africa’s poor and marginalized.”

Read the MDRE report to read about the commitments, how far we’ve come, and where we have to go.