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ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION

    (ESRF)

    ENHANCING AID RELATIONSHIPS IN TANZANIA: REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT MONITORING GROUP

    Prepared by the Independent Monitoring Group

     nd 2 December 2002

    Report Submitted to Consultative Group Meeting, 2-5 December 2002

Table of Contents

    1.0 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................. 3 1.1 Background to the report........................................................................................ 3

    2.0 THE PRESENT SITUATION ............................................................................... 6 3.0 THE BASIS FOR THE IMPROVEMENTS ACHIEVED ................................ 13 4.0 AREAS FOR FURTHER IMPROVEMENT - (A) THE GOVERNMENT ..... 18 5.0 AREAS FOR FURTHER IMPROVEMENT: THE DONORS ........................ 32 6.0 FUTURE MONITORING ARRANGEMENTS ............................................... 44 7.0 SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS ........................................................ 48

     APPENDIX I: Terms of Reference ............................................................................ 53 APPENDIX II: List of people consulted in preparing this report ............................ 56

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1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the report

    This report is an outcome of a substantial history of reviews which have examined the relationships between the Government of Tanzania (GoT) and aid donors conducted by observers independent of both sides. Relations between the two sides deteriorated to a low level in the early 1990s. In order to address this situation an independent group of experts led by Professor Gerald K. Helleiner was appointed to study the situation and make recommendations. The study was completed in 1995 and subsequent discussions between government and donors were based on that report. Based on the Helleiner report and following a change of government, concerted efforts involving dialogue between the government and donors were initiated in 1996. This was followed by an agreement in January 1997 between the GoT and her development partners to jointly set out a programme to redefine the terms of their development co-operation. The result was a set of 'agreed notes' (in the form of 18 points) stating, among other things, that there was a need to ensure enhanced Government leadership in development programming, increased transparency, accountability and efficiency in aid delivery. The elaboration of a framework for co-operation culminated in the preparation of Tanzania Assistance Strategy (TAS) from 1998/99, finally published in 2002. TAS is meant to be a framework for partnership which would also define the role of external resources for development.

    Following the GOT-donor agreement of January 1997, it was agreed that developments in implementing the agreed points would be monitored and reports on progress would be presented to the meetings of the Consultative Group in Tanzania. It is in this context that it was agreed to ask Professor Helleiner to present evaluation reports to CG meetings in December 1997, March 1999 and May 2000. At the latter meeting, it was agreed that the monitoring activity was beneficial but needed to be institutionalised. As a result, in February 2002, the GOT and donors jointly appointed the Independent Monitoring Group (IMG) to review progress in aid relationships and report to the next CG meeting.

    Our work was undertaken during the course of 2002, under the administrative auspices of the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF), Dar es Salaam. The group as a whole met twice, in March and June 2002, but locally-based members of the group undertook further work between those dates and thereafter. There were formal terms of reference which were agreed between GOT and donors after several months of negotiations (Attached in Appendix I). On the basis of the TOR the ESRF made a proposal upon which our work was based, and which is set out in Appendix II. This indicated the desirability of assessing progress in GoT-donor relations, especially since the 1999 and 2000 Helleiner reports, establishing a new baseline in the light of recent developments in Tanzania, developing performance indicators on the part of government and donors, and identifying obstacles and making recommendations for overcoming these.

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The Group consisted of:

    1) Professor Samuel M. Wangwe (Chair)

    2) Mr. Goran Andersson

    3) Professor Rolf Hofmeier

    4) Professor Tony Killick

    5) Ambassador Fadhili Mbaga

    16) Mr. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile:

    In addition, the group was assisted by inputs from Dr. Stergamena Tax and Mr. Dennis Rweyemamu of the ESRF.

    In addition to the study of relevant background materials, both as related to Tanzania and the wider literature, the group's approach was based on a large number of interviews with officials of departments of government and all official donors with substantial aid programmes in the country, bilateral and multilateral. We also interviewed individual representatives from the private sector and of various civil society organisations in addition to information obtained in special workshops which were organized for each of the two groups. A complete list of those consulted is set out in Appendix III. We also benefited by being able to attend meetings of the local DAC and of the Public Expenditure Review (PER), as well as other relevant gatherings held during our work. The Tanzania based members also had the opportunity to participate in the Joint GOT-Donors Sector Review Meeting

    thheld on 30 August 2002. We were fortunate in being able to draw upon the wealth of related work already undertaken by the staff of ESRF. Everyone was extremely generous to us in sparing time out of their busy working lives and in the frankness with which they offered their views. We are very grateful to them and would especially like to record our thanks to Mr. Philip Courtnadge of the UNDP, who greatly assisted ESRF, and us and provided us with invaluable briefings.

    Our report is structured as follows. Section II describes and assesses the situation as we observed it. We found it considerably improved over earlier periods so Section III presents what we consider to have been the chief factors responsible for bringing about that improvement. There remains much scope for further improvements, however, and Sections IV and V therefore examine areas for further improvement, making recommendations addressed, respectively, to the GoT and the donors. Section VI takes up the issue of performance monitoring and Section VII summarises the various recommendations made in the report.

     1Mr. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile was appointed as a member of the group but, in the event, his responsibilities as Governor of the Bank of Uganda prevented him from participating in the Group's work although he was able to make inputs by way of comments in the final stages of the report.

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    As with the original Helleiner report, this report is unanimous, with each group member taking full responsibility for the entire text. In extremely summary terms, our main messages are described in the next few paragraphs.

    Overview of the Report's Basic Message

; GOT-Donor Relations have improved. By comparison with 1995 and even since as

    recently as the Helleiner report of 2000, donor-GoT relations are much improved.

    The donors now have greater trust in GOT and they have responded in various

    ways to improve their own policies and practices.

; There is still room for improvement. The improving trend should not lead to

    complacency, for there is still much room for improvement.

    (i) The GOT should reinforce donor confidence in it by measures to

    increase transparency and accountability, to strengthen public sector

    capabilities, to reduce long-term aid dependency, and to strengthen

    channels of dialogue. It should go further in insisting on ownership

    and in taking the lead in co-ordination and harmonisation of donor

    policies and practices, though the Tanzania Assistance Strategy (TAS).

    While it is a very welcome initiative of much potential value, the TAS

    could and should go much further than it does to assert Tanzanian

    ownership and to provide leadership in the development of relations

    with donors.

    (ii) Donors should go further with measures to strengthen partnership

    relationships and reduce transaction costs, including further moves in

    the direction of pooled resources and common arrangements for

    dialogue and monitoring, working more though the exchequer system,

    reducing tying and strengthening co-ordination.

    (iii) For both sides, there is a need to rationalise the plethora of dialogue

    mechanisms. Here too the GOT should take the lead, aligning

    processes more around the budget cycle and focusing efforts more

    around the PRSP and further developed budgetary processes.

    ; Future review arrangements should be essentially qualitative in some circles preference

    has been expressed in favour of moving in the direction of quantitative indicators, cover

    the government as well as donors and be more focused. Donor and GoT performance is

    too multi-faceted and qualitative for it to be fruitful to place large reliance on

    quantified indicators, although some would be useful. There should be periodic

    independent review exercises, perhaps with a more precise focus, e.g. examining

    the workings of SWAps, or the position in the Districts, or in Zanzibar.

    Independent monitoring groups could usefully be replicated in other countries.

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2.0 THE PRESENT SITUATION

    It is perhaps useful to assess the situation as we found it in 2002 against two benchmarks: (a) the situation as described in the 1995 Helleiner report and (b) as described more recently in his 1999 and 2000 reports. By either comparison, but especially the first, we are in no doubt that major improvements have occurred. Indeed, we think the present state of GoT-donor relations is matched in only a few other of the aid-dependent states of Africa. As described below, this improvement has a number of dimensions but its improved condition was echoed in our conversations by statements of officials on both the GoT and donors sides. It is also reflected in a “Statement of Bilateral and Multilateral Development Partners” prepared for the Consultative Group meeting in September 2001, who wished,

    …to acknowledge the great strides made by the Government of

    Tanzania in fostering a closer relationship with its development

    partners. Government has worked hard to build a relationship based

    on trust and mutual understanding and this has facilitated a dialogue

    designed to make development assistance more effective…

    We do not believe these words were mere diplomatic pleasantries. Many donor representatives remarked to us on improvements they had observed, while making clear that they saw plenty of scope for further progress. Donor satisfaction was mirrored on the GoT side, with acknowledgement by officials of the extent to which donors had responded to the government's efforts by various changes in policy and practice designed to raise the value of aid and reduce the transactions costs associated with it. Here too, however, government officials observed that not all donors had been equally responsive and drew attention to various areas in which further improvements could be made.

    Another historical point of comparison is with the situation described in the 1999 Helleiner report. This was taken up in the TAS (2002:1-2), which drew attention to the following problems:

     Separate and parallel donor systems and procedures on procurement,

    recruitment and staff remuneration, accounting, reporting formats, monitoring

    and management of projects, placing heavy burdens on GoT capacities.

     Fragmented and uncoordinated project support, reducing efficiency and

    effectiveness.

     Management and disbursement of resources outside the GoT exchequer system,

    undermining transparency and accountability.

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     Heavy and costly dependence on technical assistance consultants in executing

    projects.

Unsynchronised country assistance strategies

Inadequate GoT capacity.

    While all these problems persist today, we believe that in almost each particular problem it is possible to point to an improving trend. The following paragraphs describe various of the ways in which we observe progress to have been made in seven notable areas i.e. improved channels of dialogue, the trend away from project aid, the development of sector-wide approaches, technical assistance has become more demand driven, procurement tying is on the decline, reporting of aid flows is improving and Consultative Group Meetings have become more participative.

Improved channels of dialogue.

    The development of improved channels of dialogue between the GoT and donors is one important aspect. This has occurred at what we can call the 'macro' level and also within some of the sectors. This reflects an increased openness of government, with improved lines of communication not only with donors but more widely. We would particularly single out the way in which the modalities of the Public Expenditure Review (PER) have been developed and broadened in recent years, so that today Tanzania can boast an almost uniquely open budgetary process. Accountability and transparency have been improved through the PER/MTEF process, in which donors, civil society organisations, the private sector and individual citizens can have their say concerning budgetary priorities, in a process which reportedly really impacts on outcomes by feeding into the Budget Guidelines issued to line ministries and other spending agencies. One of the features here is that the GoT has been able to reconcile this type of open budgetary process with overall fiscal prudence.

    The development of the PER has undoubtedly increased the extent to which donors, along with other stakeholders, believe they can have inputs into policy formation. For those participating in it, the same is true of the modalities which have grown up around the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) and the mechanisms associated with the arrangements for Poverty Reduction Budget Support (PRBS). The trend towards programme aid was recognised as creating a need for improving the modalities for policy dialogue with the government. For this purpose, there are quarterly meetings of a PRBS Steering Committee, as well as more specialised sub-groups. Most recently, a Performance Assessment Framework (PAF) has been formally agreed between the GoT and PRBS donors, intended to provide a common and systematic system for assessing progress towards agreed objectives and implementation of agreed measures. It is also intended to facilitate the setting of mutually accepted priorities.

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    In addition to these avenues for dialogue, mention should be made of the approximately annual Consultative Group meetings (now somewhat less pivotal than formerly), joint GoT/DAC quarterly review meetings, annual bilateral review meetings and quarterly sector-level meetings with interested donors. There is also the recently adopted Tanzania Assistance Strategy (TAS). It is intended to provide a three-year strategic framework for dialogue, which brings together the various strands of policy and priority setting, and which is subject to annual monitoring. A draft action plan has been prepared by GoT and shared with the donors. Further institutional arrangements are being put in place for the implementation of TAS. For instance, the Joint TAS/Harmonization Group has been formed and will be supported by Joint TAS/Harmonization Secretariat. This arrangement will help to guide TAS implementation and harmonization issues and provide a more institutionalised technical communication channel between GOT and DAC. The mechanism for TAS implementation continue to be worked out.

    The point here, as elsewhere in this section, is not to suggest that the situation belongs in some ideal world - we turn to shortcomings later - but to draw attention to real improvements that have been achieved over time.

The trend away from project aid

    The extract from the TAS quoted earlier placed heavy emphasis on the high cost and limited effectiveness of project-based assistance. It is relevant to note, therefore, that recent years have seen a decisive shift in the composition of aid in favour of programme- and policy-based support. We have just mentioned the PRBS and will shortly draw attention to the parallel growth of sector-wide programme support. In 1998 eight European donor countries agreed to contribute to a Multilateral Debt Relief Fund to help Tanzania meet its debt service obligations, while the World Bank and the IMF were working with GOT to meet the conditions of debt relief under the HIPC initiative. Upon review of the MDF in 2000 it was agreed to shift from debt relief to general budget support, and the MDF was transformed into the PRBS scheme.

    UNDP data show the amount of total ODA devoted to economic management (according to UNDP categories) to have risen from $47 million in 1995 to $232 million in 1999, or from 5.7% to 23.4% of the total. UNDP officials say that these figures have expanded massively since 1999 and this is borne out by World Bank estimates which show programme support to have gone up from 1.8% of GDP in FY1999 to 2.8% in FY2001 and a forecast 4.4% for FY2002. Among the bilateral donors, one of the largest, the UK, is even switching its sector-wide programme aid to general contributions to the PRBS and donors generally resistant to the principle of budget support have nonetheless been moving in that direction in Tanzania.

    While we later argue the case for a phased transition from project-based to programmatic assistance, we are in no doubt of the beneficial effects of the trend just

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    described for the ownership and efficacy of the monies provided and we therefore view this shift in a favourable light.

The development of sector-wide approaches

    We similarly see the development of sector-wide modalities of support through sector-wide approaches (SWAps) as a positive development. This has been most fully developed in health but we were encouraged to be told of the emergence of nascent SWAps dealing with education and local government reform. Here again, none of these initiatives is without problems - and their coverage is still limited - but each has the potential of improving the level of dialogue and of reducing the large costs associated with purely project-based approaches. At their best, SWAps provide a means of providing external support within a transparent, coherent, prioritised and monitored programme of action and budget. Typically, such approaches are based on a comprehensive Sectoral Plan, drawn out of a Programme of Work developed in collaboration with all partners, with Sectoral Strategies defining the roles of the public and private sectors, donors, NGOs and communities in relation to financing and delivery of services. The health sector having started earlier, has progressed farther than other sectors. While it is the most advanced sector in respect of SWAPs, we heard several criticisms of it (to which we return later), the Ministry of Health is in no doubt that the health basket arrangement has reduced its financing uncertainties and provided an appropriate forum for policy discussions with donors and other stakeholders.

    In moving towards forms of programme-based collective action at the macro and sectoral levels various donors have shown considerable flexibility, sometimes in the face of real institutional obstacles. As a recent review of the health sector SWAp concludes, these obstacles tend to fall away if, for policy reasons, donors become

    convinced of the desirability of collective action, although some are more flexible than others. Thus German representatives stated that their country‟s initial decision

    to participate in Tanzania‟s health SWAP was the first time it had joined such a scheme in any country, just as was Japan's decision to join the PRBS.

Technical assistance has been changing

    In his 2000 report Helleiner was particularly critical of past approaches to technical assistance oriented around the importation of relatively long-term expatriate 'experts', often at donor insistence, effectively undertaking line responsibilities, commonly 'tied' to expertise from the donor country, provided in connection with the implementation of donor projects and often suspected of owing a primary loyalty to the donor employing them rather than to the Tanzanian authorities. We share the view that this modality has generally been ineffective, with low sustainability and high-cost, and may well have actually undermined local capacity-creation. In our enquiries, however, it became clear that among virtually all donors there has been a decline in the use of long term expatriate experts in recent years in favour of shorter-term technical assistance. Donors claim now that their TA is more

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    demand-driven, that they pay more attention the importance of Tanzanian ownership and give their efforts a greater orientation towards capacity building within the country. Several donors reported such a trend to us, although some had gone much further than others, not all viewed the trend as desirable and some within the GoT disputed how far the claimed changes had gone. To the extent that they have occurred, the changes are a result of the shift to programme modalities, reported above, but are also a result of growing awareness of the limitations of past approaches and a desire to reflect best-practice in country assistance programmes.

    In the context of PER/MTEF and PRSP consultative mechanisms and working groups there has been some shift towards pooling of technical assistance, open discussion and agreement on terms of reference for technical assistance personnel and their sourcing. Pooling of TA resources is, for example, practised in the Local Government Reform Programme.

Procurement tying is also in decline

    Although there is still too much procurement-tying among bilateral donors, this is another area in which the trend appears to be a desirable one. Here again, the shift to programme support has been strongly influential. There is, of course, no such tying within the arrangements for the PRBS or with the provision of debt relief under the terms of the HIPC scheme. The situation is less clear-cut in the case of SWAps, where there is commonly an uneasy coexistence of traditional discrete project-based aid and resource pooling. Nonetheless, the sectoral pooling arrangements have the effect of reducing tying. For instance, Health Basket Fund partners have set up a joint procurement arrangement which is not tied to any single donor. While previously the Ministry of Health (MOH) provided a list of items needed and donors purchased and supplied the items, in 2002 the MOH was able to advertise internationally for its requirements.

Reporting on aid flows is improving and more is going through the budget

    It has been a long-standing complaint in Tanzania, as elsewhere, that donors have been very reluctant to provide the Ministry of Finance (MoF) with timely and accurate data on assistance provided, much of which, of course, has remained outside the normal budgetary procedures. There have been particularly large problems with regard to project reporting and technical assistance provisions.

    The situation remains highly unsatisfactory, with the PER documentation estimating that in 1999/2000 only 16% of aid was recorded in the government accounts. However, here too we have observed improving trends. Once again, the influence of the shift to programme support has been large, for, by definition since this is budget aid, all such assistance is structured to pass through the exchequer and reporting on this has proved much less problematical than in the case of project aid and technical assistance. Even with regard to project assistance, the reporting situation has been improved by the promulgation by the MoF of a Common Reporting Format. In

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