Need for monitoring, evaluation tradition in Africa

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pretoria- A monitoring and evaluation tradition needs to emerge in Africa, which will be sensitive to the continent's changing environment and development needs.

According to the Ministry for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, this system should also be sensitive to African traditions so that advances can be achieved by working with local realities.

Until recently, monitoring and evaluation practices in most African countries have been driven by accountability requirements of donors which has not always addressed African development questions or invoked indigenous ways of seeing things.

Few African countries are already using the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) where a country voluntarily subjects itself to a review by peers in the areas of democracy and political governance; economic governance and management; corporate governance as well as socio-economic development.

Speaking at the African Monitoring and Evaluation workshop attended by representatives from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Benin, Ghana, and Senegal in Pretoria, Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Obed Bapela, said as the demands for development are changing, performance monitoring and evaluation must adequately respond to change.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Collins Chabane, Bapela said new forms of marginalisation in an increasingly urbanised continent would soon become visible.

This he said may require new solutions which would be understood regionally, rather than just nationally or locally.

There would also be a need to shift focus from inputs- budgets, personnel and equipment to managing for outcomes, which would bring much needed change to ordinary people.

"It is hence my sincere hope that this is the start of an on-going conversation between our countries about how we make performance monitoring and evaluation not an administrative burden, but a way to ensure a continuous improvement in our public services. A way also to make greater impacts on our citizens and better value for money from government expenditure," Bapela told the workshop.

Sharing South Africa's journey since the introduction of the performance monitoring and evaluation from the 2009 Green Paper on improving government performance to the non-negotiables to 12 government outcomes and non-cooperation from some officials and unannounced visits to points of delivery among others, Bapela said the only way to forge ahead was through honest and frank analysis of the challenges.

He said rather than glossy pictures that most organisational reports paint, it was only through honesty that we can face common challenges and learn how to do things in a better way.

He said he hoped the three-day workshop will come out with constructive and critical solutions on how performance monitoring and evaluation can be improved by learning from each other's mistakes and experiences so that others do not reinvent the wheel.

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