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Supporting Domestic Accountability in Developing Countries: Taking Stock of the Approaches and Experiences of German Development Cooperation in Mali

Discussion Paper 115

July 2011

Loquai, C. 2011. Supporting domestic accountability in developing countries: Taking stock of the approaches and experiences of German development cooperation in Mali. (Discussion Paper 115). Maastricht: ECDPM.

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Aid has always played a significant role in Mali, as the country has continuously ranked amongst the 
poorest of the world in terms of human development. Considered a model of democratic transition in Africa 
and in great need of funds for fighting poverty, Mali has become a donor’s darling and a “testing ground” for 
new aid modalities, such as budget support and other programme-based approaches.

In view of rising levels of aid dependency and strong presence of the donor community, questions on the
ownership of development policies and trade offs between external and domestic accountability have since
long been debated in the development community and by Malian stakeholders for quite some time, but
gained in importance in the context of budget support and other harmonized forms of aid.

Key Purpose of ECDPM Study

This paper, prepared on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), maps and analyses how different actors of German development cooperation aim to support domestic accountability systems in Mali. The present study forms part of a larger study on German support for strengthening domestic accountability in six developing countries: Bangladesh, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Peru and Tanzania.

Key Findings of ECDPM

  • Although there is still a lot of scope for strengthening lines of vertical accountability, considerable reform efforts have been made by the country’s national and local authorities in terms of strengthening democratic institutions.
  • Mechanisms of horizontal accountability are still very weak in Mali. However, it seems that the general shift towards budget support and programme based approaches has stimulated the Malian authorities to address certain shortcomings of horizontal accountability mechanisms.
  • German support for decentralisation is perceived to play an important role in building and strengthening domestic accountability systems in Mali.
  • The different actors of German development cooperation give a lot thought to issues of accountability in their own programmes, as well as in dialogue with partners and other donors. However, this focus is still inadequately reflected in present strategy and programme documents.
  • In view of the prominent role of the extractive industries for the Malian economy and the fact that few other donors offer assistance in this area, a stronger focus of German development cooperation around the EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) process seems highly relevant.

Read Discussion Paper 115

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Economic Transformation and TradeDiscussion Papers (series)ResearchBudget supportDomestic accountabilityBangladeshGermanyMalawiMaliMozambiquePeruTanzaniaWest Africa

External authors

Christiane Loquai