Local commitments to aid transparency: the Kinshasa Agenda
The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and its development partners signed a pact on implementing the Paris Declaration principles back in June 2009 and only a few years after the resumption of structural assistance to the country in 2002. The agreement known as the Kinshasa Agenda has two chapters: one on affirming the Government’s leadership in setting the aid policy dialogue and managing aid and a second one on implementation of key public sector reforms and capacity development support. Both chapters have specific provisions in relation to aid transparency:
- Donors agree to provide information on their assistance before the end of the year (i.e. 2009) and the Government undertakes to include it in the 2010 budget (para. 6);
- Donors and the Government agree to further use the aid information management system put in place by the Ministry of Plan called Platform for the Management of Aid and Investments (PGAI – French acronym) and to strengthen the capacities of the local management team (para. 13).
Since then, the Ministry of Plan has made significant progress in the collection of information from donors in an environment where aid represents an important share of GNI (according to the OECD the net ODA/GNI ratio was 15.6% in 2008) and for the most part is provided off budget. While a major public financial reform is underway, which will improve the budget-execution system and strengthen the overall budget culture, the Ministry of Plan is in discussions with development partners on a follow-up agreement to the Kinshasa Agenda, i.e. a Code of Conduct, that will define the scope of information to be provided to the PGAI by donors, NGOs and line ministries; the regularity of the updates and the way the information will be used. The objectives are to set the expectations straight, further streamline the reporting/validation processes, but also to ensure that the quality of information in the system effectively supports national planning and budgeting. In this regard, the Ministry of Budget is keen on using the PGAI for the budget process and needs information on actual and planned disbursements, which is submitted in line with the national budget cycle. For the majority of development partners, meeting this requirement is feasible and a number of them are already doing so. According to Yvon Mombong, Coordinator of the PGAI “donors are willing to provide information, but are often not available when it comes to entering data into the system or updating it”. Staff turnover, time constraints and other priorities take over. The hope is that the future Code of Conduct will become a viable tool, underpinning the Kinshasa Agenda and the public financial reform efforts in the DRC.