Pro-poor budget analysis in Kenya and Uganda
In Kenya and Uganda, planning and resource distribution is not always driven by the needs of the poorest people. The critical information needed to support pro-poor policies and spending is sometimes unavailable, or, when it is available, it may be outdated, unfocused or unclear. An abundance of high-quality development data in both countries, as well as institutional expertise (the Uganda Bureau of Statistics is one of the best national statistical offices in Africa) have contributed to significant progress; however, there is more to be done in Kenya and Uganda to ensure that spending benefits the poorest people first, and that no one is left behind.
The purpose of our work
The annual pro-poor budget analysis Development Initiatives (DI) carries out in Kenya and Uganda looks at planned government spending and assesses its focus on the poorest people – with particular emphasis on the sectors and initiatives that have the greatest impact on reducing poverty. Our reports provide the evidence that advocates and policymakers need to ensure commitments to support the poorest people in Kenya and Uganda are met. The scope of our work has expanded to meet this aim; in recent years we have independently reported on resource allocation to pro-poor programmes, including free maternal health services and free primary education, and improved irrigation and access to water and sanitation. To complement our work on national budgets we have also scrutinised subnational budgets for selected counties and districts in Kenya and Uganda, with the aim of improving the allocation of resources at all levels. For example, in 2019 we offered analysis of budgeting for climate change and disaster risk reduction at subnational level.
DI’s work on these two budgets forms part of larger submissions to national and subnational governments, and informs broader advocacy efforts carried out by a range of civil society actors. In Kenya, our work is a part of the Budget Analysis Working Group’s comprehensive joint submission of recommendations to the government’s parliamentary budget and appropriation committee. Recent years have seen the National Assembly referring to pro-poor spending explicitly in the budget and identifying the same sectors that we focus on in our analysis.
In Uganda we regularly collaborate with the Civil Society Budget Advisory Group and other frontline advocacy organisations, who use our pro-poor analysis to influence policymakers. After DI’s work drew recognition from both the Ministry of Finance as well as the national media, we were invited to provide training in budgetary monitoring to government officials and civil society actors.
Overall, we have seen increased attention on pro-poor spending among our partners and collaborators, and we are receiving an increasing number of requests from actors in specific counties to carry out budgetary analysis at the subnational level.
Thank you for proactively thinking about this kind of analysis and for sharing. This is the kind of information that is needed to shape our discussion of the budget when it is read.Emmanuel Manyasa, Uwezo Kenya Country Manager, Twaweza East Africa
The next step for our pro-poor analysis will be to scrutinise actual expenditure and provide detailed annual reports – not only on the funds that have been allocated to pro-poor sectors and programmes in Kenya and Uganda, but also on the amounts actually spent based on these commitments. Our aim in doing this is to ensure that funds are used in the most efficient way, and for the purposes they were earmarked for.