Ecorys concludes study of political economy across Africa for UNICEF

14 November 2018 2 min. read
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European research and consultancy firm Ecorys has completed a comprehensive study of the political economy and fiscal space in a number of African countries undertaken for UNICEF. The study was conducted with the objective of identifying potential entry points for UNICEF initiatives.

Africa is home to the youngest population across the globe, most of which is yet to enter the working age. Nevertheless, education infrastructure across the continent remains weak to a large extent, which creates the danger of wasting this tremendous pool of potential due to lack of proper education.

As a result, a number of international organisations such as UNICEF have been active in trying to promote educational initiatives across the continent through targeted investment. To this end, the NGO contracted global consulting firm Ecorys to conduct a comprehensive evaluation.

The study extends across 16 African countries, and is categorised into two broad areas of focus. The first area is the political economic scenario of the country in question, which was conducted with the objective of observing potential points of entry for UNICEF, particularly in the domain of domestic budgeting.

Ecorys concludes study of political economy across Africa for UNICEF

The firm’s fiscal space analysis was aimed at observing the impact that this political economic scenario has on the fiscal space for children to grow into. Ecorys has now completed this study, and the findings reveal a number of commonalities in the scenarios across several countries with respect to both metrics.

Markets and political systems across Africa are unique and nuanced. Although the budgeting systems varied across countries, some underlying trends were observed across most markets. For instance, most markets are experiencing a shift in development priorities to become exclusive.

On the other hand, a number of markets were similar in that their budgeting systems were opaque and often inefficient. In the fiscal space category, the study noted positive trends across most markets, particularly as governments are increasingly receptive of ideas of child-friendly expenditure.

Overall, the trends were reflective of a region that is receptive to initiatives in education sector, but lacks the technical expertise or the political infrastructure. Such a scenario offers several potential opportunities for organisations such as UNICEF to fill this gap between policy and implementation.