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

Discussion Paper 113

May 2011

Koch, S. 2011. Supporting domestic accountability in developing countries Taking stock of the approaches and experiences of German development cooperation in Tanzania (ECDPM Discussion Paper 113). Maastricht: ECDPM.

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The need to strengthen domestic accountability systems in developing countries is increasingly recognised by donors. Especially the proliferation of budget support and the ongoing debates on the risks and potentials of this aid modality have drawn the donor’s attention to questions of how to strengthen recipient country’s public financial management in general and domestic accountability in particular.

Tanzania’s high aid dependency means that there is a significant donor demand for accountability. This
external accountability to donors seems to be much stronger than domestic accountability with
donors perceiving having to fill the gap left by a weak civil society and Parliament, with the inevitable risk to
turn demand for domestic accountability into a donor-driven agenda.

Key Purpose of ECDPM Study

This discussion paper summarises the findings of a study on German development cooperation support to domestic accountability in Tanzania. It takes a closer look at perceptions on domestic accountability, German contributions to strengthening domestic accountability and the extent to which this support is complementary to other donor agencies’ support. This 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

  • Domestic accountability systems in Tanzania are weak, however, they are certainly evolving.
    Decentralisation, the budget process and budget support, and the Public Finance Management reform are the key-processes for the emergence of domestic accountability in Tanzania.

  • In terms of horizontal accountability, there has been some progress with the improved performance of parliamentary committees. Nevertheless, major challenges remain.

  • Although civil-society organisations are growing in strength and the media seem to be the most important drivers of vertical accountability, actors of vertical accountability have yet to become a counterweight to the dominant executive.

  • Even though German development cooperation is committed to strengthen domestic accountability in Tanzania, there is still room for improvement. There should be an overarching strategy for systematically strengthening domestic accountability across focal sectors, rallying together the various German development organisations.

The multi-level approach of German development cooperation and the opportunity to combine impact at local and national levels is regarded as the key comparative advantage of German development cooperation.

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Trade, investment and financeDiscussion Papers (series)ResearchBudget supportDomestic accountabilityAfricaEast AfricaGermanyTanzania

External authors

Svea Koch