Evaluating progress on Effective Development Co-operation in Mozambique

In February 2014 Development Initiatives’ Africa Hub was commissioned by DFID to conduct case studies to generate evidence of progress, challenges, lessons learnt, impact and opportunities for the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GP) in supporting implementation and monitoring of the Busan commitments in Mozambique. The study was based on a review of the four main principles which were endorsed by the international community in Busan in 2011, namely: 1) ownership by developing countries; 2) a focus on results; 3) inclusive development partnerships; and; 4) transparency and accountability to one another.

The study reveals that:

  1. Mozambique is fast in ratifying and establishing processes and institutional frameworks to implement international aid and development effectiveness agreements, thereby retaining the “darling country” status among Development Partners.

For example, in contrast to a number of other countries that have subscribed to Busan (2011), Mozambique was among the first to appreciate the urgency with which the actions agreed in Busan would need to be implemented, as per the agreements and to develop a Post-Busan Plan of Action for the implementation of GP with responsibility shared across all stakeholders.

  1. The frequent changes in aid and development effectiveness indicators after each High Level meeting at the global level continue to produce transactional costs as new institutions and principles need to be harmonized with previous ones that are still being consolidated.

Aware of past experiences with for example Paris, Accra, Busan, and aware that Mozambique takes its commitments seriously, representatives of civil society interviewed expressed concern over the fact that 2015 might bring yet new commitments that will disrupt progress on existing ones, given that implementing Busan commitments in the country only started in 2013.

  1. At country level, the Global Partnership distinctiveness appears to be changing. The structures exist and are well entrenched but the effective dialogue and mutual accountability is not matching the structures.

It was observed that changes in the national and international political and economic context including the prospect of increased revenues from natural resources and the presence of new development partners from the BRICS and Japan are affecting the relationship among traditional aid partners themselves, the government and civil society. The government and DPs seem to be shifting focus to wealth creation and economic cooperation, and new alliances based on bilateral or commercial interests are being forged.

  1. There is limited participation in aid and development effectiveness meetings by the ‘new group of actors’ for example the BRICS and Japan, and a weakening of consensus building among traditional development partners and between them and the government

The new group of actors choose to participate as “observers” or say they are “out to learn”. This is read as an indication of their preference for dealing with the government bilaterally. While the introduction of new actors may be considered to have altered the dynamics of the relationship between traditional development partners, new diverse and not publicly declared interests have created mistrust and a preference for bilateral agreements.

  1. The potential of some players to influence key decisions and priorities is compromised by lack of capacity and late invitations to meetings and forums to contribute to an already defined agenda

This particularly affects CSOs at the national, provincial and local levels. For example, the participation of civil society in platforms such as at the Development Observatories and District Local Councils is not structured in a way that allows a follow up of issues raised in these meetings. Language, conceptual and other technical barriers coupled with capacity challenges limit the ability of CSOs to participate meaningfully in discussions.

  1. Private sector prefers to use its own dialogue platforms as opposed to engaging government through development co-operation and aid effectiveness meetings

This was attributed to the fact that the Private Sector already has specific dialogue platforms with the government, for instance the Private Sector Annual Conference (CASP) chaired by the President of the Republic, and the Expanded Consultative Council (CAC), a biannual meeting between the CTA and the Prime Minister to assess the progress in solving problems and other issues that may have arisen.

  1. Post Busan, the Mozambican government has sought to bring Members of Parliament (MPs) to meetings to prepare and implement the post-Busan plan of action;

MPs in Mozambique were involved in the processes that led to the commitments of Busan and the formulation of the subsequent plan of action, however parliament considers its main role in the process as monitoring and providing oversight.

  1. While there is progress in Government openness, there is an ongoing demand from MPs and CSO for timely sharing of budget information, especially the state budget.

Development Partners and CSOs cited instances of late access to information which in turn does not allow for a evidence based discussion of perceived non-transparent transactions which the government has not explained satisfactorily to the public and other stakeholders.

The study concludes that Mozambique provides invaluable lessons on implementation of international commitments such as the GP. However, despite a history of country-owned and country-led development priorities reflecting the interests of all actors, poverty has not reduced in rates commensurate to the efforts in the country. There is also a perception of the changing dynamics in the GP approach, especially regarding dialogue and consensus building among various stakeholders, and recommends that:

  1. The GoM should find ways and means to make participation in the established forums more meaningful for all stakeholders – New DPs, Parliamentarians, Civil Society, the private sector, local governments and citizens.
  2. DPs and the GoM, along with all other stakeholders need to examine why poverty has not been reducing at the expected rate and agree on what it takes to change the trajectory.
  3. ‘The realm of the unspoken’ needs to be urgently examined to assess whether ownership, inclusivity, focusing on results and transparency and accountability are more of a rhetoric, rather than what they are really meant to achieve. A better and in-depth understanding of the spirit behind the principles needs to be in calculated in all stakeholders to harmonise the divergent views.
  4. The perception of lack of transparency and accountability, in particular with the State Budget in Mozambique needs to be addressed by the government and all stakeholders. Additionally, all other stakeholders in Mozambique need to play their role in further strengthening institutions that enhance transparency and accountability, nurture access to quality information and strengthen participation in the true spirit of partnership.
  5. The GP model in Mozambique needs to evolve to take cognizance of the rapidly changing dynamics and key factors weakening policy dialogue, including the emerging donors, the change in strategies by traditional donors, the newly discovered natural resources and how this is playing out with the renewed focus on trade and economic interests.
  6. Mozambique should be credited for its ability to ratify and establish processes and institutional frameworks to implement international aid and development effectiveness agreements. However, the government needs to go a step further and ensure that these processes and institutional frameworks result into real change on the ground, especially in the lives of ordinary Mozambicans, who to a large extend are not privy to these agreements and commitments, but are their primary targets.

Read the full Mozambique case study