Making sense of funding and implementation of Sahel strategies – Part one


Over the next two blogs we want to give you some tentative updates on the financing and implementation of existing strategies for the Sahel on the basis of open sources.

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      Tracking and predicting aid flows is an old challenge and what follows is an attempt to map some of the information available in the public domain. For those following regional Sahel dynamics, we suggest looking closely at four trend-setting factors in the field of regional financing for development, security and governance.

      • The range of amounts publicly announced since 2012 and actually available for the region.

      • Where does the money come from and who provides most of it?

      • Where are the funds supposed to go, and to which priority sectors?

      • What is the share of funds dedicated to implementation at the national level and at the regional level?

      Our initial comparison of existing strategies show that not all of them mention financial resources. There are two types of strategies: those that are linked to funding (World Bank, African Development Bank, the European Union) and implementation capacities; and those that are mostly policy frameworks without associated funding but with regional and political legitimacy (African Union, Economic Community Of West African States, G5, the United Nations).

      This diversity has serious consequences for the working relationship among various stakeholders. Some organisations have funds while others do not: this creates power asymetries between them. Yet those that can provide funding also seek for complementarity with those that have political legitimacy.

      To compensate that, more clarity on available funding from all financial partners and stakeholders would help inform discussions on regional and international coordination. There are already encouraging signs from individual countries. The Malian government has, reportedly, the intention to develop a web platform providing an overview of the funds committed since the 2013 Brussels donors conference. France has published an online page that tracks development cooperation projects in Mali. However a comprehensive overview of the funds available for the region is missing and, in an ideal world, an effective and well run Sahel clearing house which donors would nourish with information - an often unmet challenge in the history of aid - would definitely bring added value and transparency.

      Available funds: how much is there?

      Who are the biggest donors pledging contributions to the implementation of Sahel strategies? Available funds according to public pledges made by main donors in 2013 - the EU, the World Bank and the AfDB - could amount to approximately US$10-12 billion over a period running up to seven years.

      The EU committed €5 billion to the Sahel (roughly US$6.8 billion) coming from the European Development Fund (EDF) for 2014-2020 and other instruments and sources (regional, thematic, EIB, etc). The first phase of EDF funds programming is quite advanced. The World Bank (and IFC) pledged US$1.5 billion. The African Development Bank pledged US$4 billion to the region in November last year, of which US$2 billion had been already disbursed as part of ongoing programs (informal sources speak of available funds initially allocated to other regions that will be diverted to the Sahel). The AfDB also announced the creation of a Sahel Action Fund that will receive contributions from donors, to be administered by the Bank. However, there is still little publicly available information about it and the time period for spending is not always made clear by donors.

      In addition to these top pledges, other donors provide important sums but do not make public an overall amount of their funding to the region nor clear time frames for their spending.

      For instance France pledged €280 million only to Mali in 2013-2014, but an overview for the region is not available. The UK has made data available online on its humanitarian response in the Sahel, projected at more than GB£103 million from 2012 to 2014. The US in terms of humanitarian assistance provided a total of US$205.2 million in 2014  to face food insecurity and other emergencies in the Sahel (the amount does not include other development or crisis response interventions). As to specific regional programmes, Denmark has a €17 million programme  announced in 2013 for the period of five years for the Sahel, the Peace and Stabilisation Programme.

      On top of that, there are ongoing programmes and national programmes - the World Bank pledge does not include ongoing multi-country and national interventions. National budgets are used to promote regional work, in one way or another (see our blog on ways to work regionally in the Sahel). UN agencies mobilise resources provided by external donors and not by themselves. Lastly, domestic resources, financial but also human, from the Sahel countries are also being mobilised - though it is not very visible

      This shows the multiplicity of funding available for the region, in addition to the amounts pledged in November 2013.

      Our next blog on Sahel strategies looks at their implementation and how they will have to be monitored and evaluated.

      This blog is the opinion of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of ECDPM.

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