Resources: Case studies and evaluations

Case studies and commentary: Africa-specific

Building an Africa Learning Platform on Capacity Development: Achieving the Capacity Development Priorities in the Accra Agenda for Action Laurencia Adams, (2009) 

Public Financial Management Reforms in Developing Countries – Lessons of Experience from Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda  The Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS) are two major public expenditure management reforms that have been adopted in many developing countries in recent years. A review of the publicly available literature on the implementation of these reforms in three African countries considers the history of their introduction and their relative success. On the basis of this review, consideration is given to the risks involved with adopting such large scale reforms; the extent to which the international financial institutions and consultants were wise to recommend such widespread adoption of large scale reforms; and whether public sector financial officers in developing countries were wise to accept these prescriptions quite so uncritically in preference to paying more attention to tried and tested financial controls and getting the basics right.

Challenges for New Leadership Teams in Fragile States By Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia March 2007, Issue No. 21   Fragile states pose a challenge for good leadership—for renewal and reform. States in the grip of poverty, with broken socioeconomic infrastructure and a political culture of impunity, require courageous leadership, one that is unafraid of risks and able to challenge itself to be innovative and look toward the future.  In this brief, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, shares lessons learned from her experience in leading a post-conflict country.

Interview with Liberia’s Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs  The Liberian government faces the challenge of stabilising and rebuilding the nation after two civil wars. interviewed Dr Toga McIntosh, Liberia’s Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs.

First Steps Towards Joint Capacity Development in the Transport Sector in Ethiopia  How can the transport sector in Ethiopia strengthen its capacity through a joint approach? How can fragmented, often supply driven, capacity building support be transformed into a more coherent, holistic approach that addresses both sector-wide issues and capacity building in individual organisations, in a sector with multiple national public and private actors, as well as multiple development partners? These were the topics for the first pilot Joint Capacity Development Learning Event, held in Addis Ababa in October 2008 on the initiative of the European Commission.

Ethiopian Ministry of Capacity Building The Government of Ethiopia has declared developing capacity one of its main objectives. It formalized this commitment in 2001 by establishing the Ministry of Capacity Building (MoCB), the only country in the world to have such a ministry. The MoCB is a crosscutting ministry which, in addition to its own programs, works with other ministries- from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Trade and Industry to the Ministry of Education- to enhance and accelerate those ministries’ capacity development efforts. The MoCB also focuses on private sector support and decentralizing the capacity development process to the regions

An Analysis of the Market for African Development Management Professionals The flight of highly skilled African professionals to the industrialized countries of the West is one of the major development constraints of most African countries. Both the public and private sectors of these countries are suffering from the flight of human capital, as their best and brightest professionals migrate, a large number of whom hardly return to their countries of origin.

Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) CABRI is a new pan-African network of senior budget officials which aims to contribute towards the efficacy of public finance management in Africa. The site contains documentation on seminars as well as country studies.

Institutional Framework for Addressing Public Sector Corruption in Africa Today, citizens everywhere demand greater probity of government officials. The new transparency in domestic and global markets brings corruption more quickly to the public eye. Corruption flourishes where distortions in the policy and regulatory regime provide scope for it, and where institutions of restraint are weak. Corruption lies at the intersection of the public and private sectors. It is a two-way street. Corruption violates the public trust and corrodes social capital. Unchecked, creeping accumulation of seemingly minor infractions can slowly erode political legitimacy to the point where non corrupt officials and members of the public see little point in playing by the rules.

Reforming Technical Cooperation and Project implementation units for external Aid provided by the European Commission – a 2008 Backbone Strategy. 2008.  This document presents the European Commission Strategy for external aid to guide the reform of Technical Cooperation (TC) and Project Implementation Units (PIUs). This Strategy, which is part of wider EC actions to implement the Paris Declaration, aims to improve the effectiveness of EC aid with respect to capacity development. The Strategy also responds to the European Court of Auditors’ Report on Technical Assistance (No. 6/2007). The Strategy explains why reform is necessary, presents a vision of future Technical Cooperation practice and Project Implementation Units (PIUs), and sets out the actions to be undertaken to achieve the vision.

Developing Capacity? An evaluation of DFID funded Technical Cooperation for economic management in Sub Saharan Africa. Technical Cooperation for economic Development DFID (2006). This evaluation of DFID technical cooperation (TC) for strengthening economic management in Africa is based on four country case studies (of Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Zambia) and focuses mainly on the period 1999-2004. The evaluation sought to understand the contribution of technical cooperation to the development of organisational capacity for economic management – that is the ability of the key organisations (Ministries, Departments) involved in the economic management process to discharge their functions

Generations of Quiet Progress: The Development Impact of U.S. Long-Term University Training on Africa from 1963 to 2003 USAID 2004.  USAID supported individuals from 45 countries to study at US universities for over 40 years. This evaluation looked at the development impact of the scholarship programme at individual and institutional levels.

A Market-Based Approach to Capacity Development: How Uganda’s Local Governments are Breaking New Ground . World Bank Institute May 2007, Issue No. 22  For many developing countries, capacity development means donor-sponsored training programs and outside experts. But a noteworthy example in Uganda shows that capacity development may work better and be more sustainable when local market forces are unleashed to provide for local capacity needs. The Uganda case spotlights an approach supported by the World Bank and other partners that has focused on improving the capacities of Uganda’s local governments, which since the 1990s have been part of one of Africa’s most ambitious decentralization processes. In that program, Uganda’s Ministry of Local Government has used World Bank and other donor financing to create a set of incentives aimed at improving the performance of the country’s local governments. Part of the approach was not only a system to reward high-performing local governments, but actions aimed at stimulating both supply and demand for capacity development at the local level.

Community Driven Development in Conflict and Post-conflict Conditions: the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund How appropriate is it to work through local governments and communities as a response to endemic poverty, weak capacity and the legacy of violent conflict? This study by the Institute of Development Studies reviews the lessons arising from the design and implementation of the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund Project (NUSAF) in conditions of ongoing conflict and post-conflict recovery. It argues that considerable demand from communities for project resources and rapid implementation of infrastructure and income generation projects confirms the validity of working through local communities.

Orrnert, A., and Hewitt, T., 2007, ‘Elites and Institutions: A Literature Review’ Exploring elites and their relationship to institutions can enhance the understanding of politics in Africa. This literature review by the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre (GSDRC) summarises current knowledge of how elites work with and through political institutions. It focuses on the large volume of literature published in the last five to ten years on Anglophone Africa, highlighting a number of gaps in the research.

Kiragu, K. and Mukandala, R., 2003, ‘Tactics, Sequencing, and Politics of Public Service Pay Policies in Developing and Middle Income Countries: Lessons from Sub-Saharan Africa‘,  Draft report to DFID, World Bank, Africa Region, Public Service Reform and Capacity Building Unit, Washington How does politics affect public service pay reform? What approaches can increase the prospect of success for pay reform in developing countries? This study for DFID and the World Bank Africa Region Public Service Reform and Capacity Building Unit analyses pay reform strategies since 1990 in eight African countries: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. There is no model approach to pay reform. Technical solutions must pay attention to political context

Hyden, G., 2008, ‘Institutions, Power and Policy Outcomes in Africa’, Africa Power and Politics Programme (APPP), Discussion Paper No. 2, Overseas Development Institute, London In Africa, as elsewhere, the paths to development are dependent on historical institutional context, and cannot be imposed from outside. This paper, from the Africa Power and Politics Programme, argues that in African states informal institutions dominate power relations but are not understood, and so development policies lack any real traction. A model of how formal and informal institutions interact is proposed and linked to an analysis of power itself – its basis, reach, exercise, nature and consequences. This shows that conventional models of development planning cannot work in Africa, where the production and distribution of ‘public goods’ are highly politicised and personalised.

What Makes Local Government Work? Social capital, leadership, participation and ownership in Benin The basic question of the study is to measure the impact of capacity development programmes on the municipal performance to improve the economy, the health and education, as well as the living conditions of its citizens. Benin’s municipalities use a municipal development plan to achieve this improvement. What is the relation between the performance in implementing the municipal plan and the level of social capital, the quality of leadership, the use of participatory approaches and the feeling of ownership? This study answers this question using proxy indicators for these concepts.

Will Patients be Better Off with a Decentralised Basic Health Service?  In Burkina Faso basic health services are progressively being decentralised to municipalities after the local elections of 23 March 2006. However, contrary to expectations, decentralization in many African countries has not lead to improvements in basic service delivery. This raises the question whether Burkina can fare better. This study analyses the nature of the relationship between four key actors (‘policy maker’, ‘service provider’ and ‘beneficiaries’ and ‘donors’) in terms of its effect on health service delivery. Risks are identified, which permits to focus on the restoration of the disrupted mechanisms of accountability. If no corrective arrangements are taken, the poorest patients risk paying the price.

Something Funny Happened on the Way to Reform Success: The Case of Budget Reform Implementation in Ghana  J Roberts and M Andrews 2005. Why did budget and management reforms in Ghana eventually falter after an initial period of progress? This article from the International Journal of Public Administration examines the development of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) in Ghana between 1998 and 2002. A number of factors may explain why reform implementation was derailed, including reform ownership and political will, organisational integration and organisational incentives, and strategic capacity. All of these factors are commonly presented as influences on reform implementation. The Ghanaian experience provides detail as to how such influences could work.

Other resources including single and multi-country studies


  • Real Aid 2  – Making Technical Assistance Work Report 2006  
    This report argues that root-and-branch reform of technical assistance is urgently needed to ensure that the aid increases pledged in 2005 result in genuine benefits for people living in the poorest countries. These reforms need to be anchored in four guiding principles: of putting recipient countries in the lead; giving them freedom to choose their own development path; of mutual accountability between donors and recipients; and of country specificity.


  • Special Evaluation on Performance of Technical Assistance
    Several reviews and evaluations carried out over the last decade found that technical assistance (TA) had not reached its full potential in achieving development results, and identified concerns over the approach to TA management and the effectiveness of many TAs. This evaluation study undertook an assessment of past reviews and evaluations, an analysis of the evaluation database on TA performance, and country case studies of purposefully selected sample TAs in selected sectors. About two-thirds of ADB’s TA activities were successful and many generated strategic impacts that transferred best international practice to developing member countries. On the other hand, still about a third of TAs activities were not successful.
  • A Study on Results Based Planning in the Philippine Rural Development Sector
    This study analyzes past and ongoing activities and achievements regarding the introduction of results based planning and budgeting systems in oversight and the rural development agencies in the Philippines.
  • Reconstructing a Fragile State; Pacific Choice
    This report seeks to enhance understanding and dialogue on capacity development and its potential for contributing to poverty reduction and improvements in the quality of life of all Pacific islanders. 


  • Technical assistance and capacity building: Timor-Leste 
    This AusAID paper draws on an evaluation of the facility, which explored the effectiveness of technical assistance as a form of development assistance. The paper discusses a number of issues including: long term vs short term technical assistance; the role of technical assistance; building on existing capacity; the importance of conflict analysis; coordinating technical assistance.

Boesen, Nils

Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity, University of Oxford

  • Fragile States  Frances Stewart and Graham Brown 2009
    What constitutes a fragile state and how can the concept be operationalised for development policy? This working paper from the Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security, and Ethnicity proposes a three-pronged definition of fragility: states may be fragile because they lack authority, fail to provide services or lack legitimacy. Reversing these interrelated dimensions of fragility requires a tailored, comprehensive and long-term approach based on careful contextual analysis.

Centre for Global Development

  • Greater Than the Sum Of Its Parts? Assessing “Whole of Government” Approaches to Fragile States  
    The authors look at how seven governments — the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, France and Sweden — are seeking to rise to this challenge. They find that “whole of government” approaches remain a work in progress. Despite a few promising innovations and pilot projects, individual governments continue to struggle in their efforts to define the purposes of policy integration.

DevEnts (Events for Development)

  • Is Political Analysis Changing Donor Behaviour?  Sue Unsworth  2008
    Research increasingly emphasises that what works in development depends on country-specific realities and opportunities. Donors need to recognise that politics is central to the development process so that they make the necessary investment in understanding local political dynamics. This paper from the 2008 Development Studies Association Conference finds that while political analysis is influencing specific aspects of donor activity, its impact is fragmented and donors’ default position remains technocratic. Strong, visionary leadership is needed to enable donors to make major changes in their thinking, organisation and culture.



  • Aid Effectiveness and the Provision of TA Personnel: Improving Practice Land, T., Hauck, V. and H. Baser. 2007. (Policy Management Brief No. 20). Maastricht: ECDPM.  
    Drawing on the recent work of ECDPM on technical assistance and capacity development, this PMB argues that improving the effectiveness of TA personnel as an instrument for capacity development requires actions at two complementary levels: (1) progressively shifting management responsibilities to the partner country and harmonising and aligning development agency support behind country-defined strategies and systems; (2) improving the quality of support provided by TA personnel by adopting a ‘capacity development perspective’, within which TA personnel are seen as a potentially important ingredient in developing capacity, and ensuring that this perspective is applied systematically throughout the design, implementation and review of interventions
  • Harmonising the Provision of Technical Assistance: Finding the Right Balance and Avoiding the New Religion Baser, H. and P. Morgan. 2002. (ECDPM Discussion Paper 36). Maastricht: ECDPM  
    This study is part of the ongoing reflection within international development organisations on ways to harmonise their management procedures. The overall aims of such initiatives are to encourage country ownership, to reduce the fragmentation of externally funded development activities, and to reduce the administrative burden on all development partners. The present paper is a short version of the full report of a study, entitled The Pooling of Technical Assistance: An Overview based on Field Experience in Six African Countries, published in 2001, reworked for a field-level audience with the specific purpose of providing background material for consultations with African policy makers and practitioners.
  • Capacity, Change and Performance – Insights and Implications for Development Cooperation Policy Management Brief
    This brief highlights key findings and conclusions of the final report and presents implications for external agencies engaged in capacity development in the context of international development cooperation. It contains a bibliography listing the publications produced in the context of this study.


  • Capacity Building, Institutional Crisis and the Issue of Recurrent Costs
    This report investigates the links between the micro and macro levels of aid financed capacity building. The study looks into the incentive structures—including distortions due to the behavior of the donors—in response to the problem of low salaries in the public sector of poor countries that has constituted a major problem in all efforts to improve institutional capacity. The Expert Group on Development Issues (EGDI), Stockholm, Study no. 2001:1.


  • Reforming Technical Cooperation and Project implementation units for external Aid provided by the European Commission – a 2008 Backbone Strategy 2008
    This document presents the European Commission Strategy for external aid to guide the reform of Technical Cooperation (TC) and Project Implementation Units (PIUs). This Strategy, which is part of wider EC actions to implement the Paris Declaration, aims to improve the effectiveness of EC aid with respect to capacity development. The Strategy also responds to the European Court of Auditors’ Report on Technical Assistance (No. 6/2007). The Strategy explains why reform is necessary, presents a vision of future Technical Cooperation practice and Project Implementation Units (PIUs), and sets out the actions to be undertaken to achieve the vision.


  • Topic Guide on Political Economy Analysis
    This topic guide provides pointers to some of the key literature on donor approaches to political economy analysis and its effectiveness in different contexts. It includes examples of analyses and tools applied at country, sector and programme level.
  • Topic Guide on Political Systems
    This guide considers some of the key questions about how political systems evolve, how they can best foster democratic and inclusive politics, and – crucially for development practitioners – under what conditions they most effectively promote poverty reduction. It focuses on strengthening the accountability, responsiveness and effectiveness of political systems and political governance, and includes guidance and case study materials.
  • Topic Guide on Civil Service Reform
    This topic guide outlines the issues currently facing reform efforts and introduces the key technical aspects of CSR.
  • Topic Guide on Fragile States
    This topic guide provides links to some of the most recent donor, practitioner and academic literature in this area. The central questions explored in the guide are ‘what do we know about fragile states?’ and ‘how can this knowledge be used so that the international community can best engage in fragile states?’
  • McCourt, W., 2007b, ‘The Merit System and Integrity in the Public Service’, Paper presented at Conference on Public Integrity and Anticorruption in the Public Service, 29-30 May, Bucharest.
    How can governments ensure that public appointments are fair, transparent and challengeable? This paper presented at the Conference on Public Integrity and Anticorruption in the Public Service explores issues of merit and integrity in the public service. To advance merit, governments should establish a sound institutional framework and upgrade appointment methods.
  • State Capacity and Non-state Service Provision in Fragile and Conflict-affected States  R Batley and C Mcloughlin  2009
    This paper set out to identify how states with weak capacity can effectively fulfil the „indirect ‟ service provider roles of co-ordinating, financing, and setting and applying standards for the provision of basic services by non-state providers (NSPs). Four categories of indirect role are identified: 1) setting the policy environment and engaging in policy dialogue, 2) regulating and facilitating, 3) contracting, and 4) entering into mutual and informal agreements. Through these indirect roles, the state can in principle assume responsibility for the provision of basic services without necessarily being involved in direct provision.


  • Adult Learning and Capacity Development in IDRC Anne Bernard, IDRC 2005. This concept paper provides a frame of reference for understanding capacity development in the context of IDRC. It uses the theories, principles and approaches of learning theory, adult education and institutional development, anchoring these within the analysis of a cross-section of 40 IDRC projects. Originally intended as an internal document it offers analysis that will be helpful to many organisations.


  • Participatory learning groups in an aid bureaucracy Cornwall et al, undated, in the Lessons for Change Series from IDS
    This report documents the process in which Cornwall and colleagues from IDS worked with the Swedish International Development Agency to establish and run two participatory learning groups for agency staff based in Stockholm and Nairobi.
  • The Politics of Successful Governance Reforms: Lessons of Design and Implementation  Mark Robinson  2007 (IDS)
    What political and institutional factors contribute to successful governance reforms? This article from Commonwealth and Comparative Politics compares reforms in Brazil, India and Uganda. It finds that successful reforms require a combination of political commitment, technical capacity and gradual implementation. Donors can support governance improvement most effectively by working with reform-oriented politicians and bureaucrats in contexts where reform is politically feasible to increase incentives for the changes
  • Reflections on Innovation, Assessment and Social Change Processes: A SPARC Case Study, India Sheela Patel 2007
    This is a case study from the Assessing Social Change group initiative in the Power, Participation and Social Change Team at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), UK. It brought together activists, researchers, evaluators, facilitators, and international and local NGO staff. The SPARC case study demonstrates how learning can be integrated into social change projects.
  • Robinson, M., 2006, ‘The Political Economy of Governance Reforms in Uganda’, IDS Discussion Paper,  May, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton.
    What political and institutional factors explain the different trajectories of governance reforms in Uganda? This discussion paper from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) surveys three governance reforms in Uganda in the 1990s. The Ugandan experience highlights the difficulty of sustaining successful reforms over the long term in a context of patrimonialism and personal rule
  • Signposts to more effective States 
    This paper highlights findings from a five-year research programme undertaken by the Center for the Future State, based at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex. The research addresses the question: how to get more effective, accountable states and public institutions? What processes are involved? What are the obstacles to building effective institutions, and what are the underlying causes of bad governance in so many countries? 


  • Evaluation of the technical assistance provided by the International Monetary Fund. 2005  
    This evaluation examines the technical assistance (TA) provided by the IMF to its member countries. The evaluation is based on desk reviews of a broad sample of countries, analyses of cross-country data on TA, six in-depth country case studies, reviews of past evaluations, and interviews with IMF staff and other stakeholders. In trying to assess the effectiveness of technical assistance, we distinguish between the impact at different stages of the results chain—the immediate improvements in the technical capabilities of agencies receiving TA, the ability of agencies to then apply and enforce that increased capability; and whenever possible, ultimate outcomes on the ground. Attribution of results to the effects of TA clearly becomes more difficult the further out the results chain we go. While such assessments inevitably rely heavily upon qualitative judgments, we have drawn upon various performance indicators and benchmarks wherever possible.

INEE – Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies


  • Joint Study on Effective Technical Cooperation for Capacity Development (2008)
    Technical cooperation (TC) is recognized (e.g. in the Paris Declaration) as a key means of ensuring the critical capacity improvements needed for better development results. It is acknowledged that the causal relationship between TC and Capacity Development (CD) outputs and outcomes is complex. Data collection and research methodologies related to TC and CD are challenging. Against this background, the overall objective of the study was to attempt to fill current knowledge gaps related to TC effectiveness. The overall strategy of the study was to facilitate a country-led approach to assembling empirical evidence on country experiences of planning and implementation of TC.
    This web-page holds all the documents prepared as part of the above joint study on technical cooperation and capacity development. It includes 11 country case studies as well as the main synthesis report.




  • Bridging State Capacity Gaps in Situations of Fragility  
    This first volume of the PDG Experts’ Series investigates whether using technical assistance in core government functions and services has been conducive to capacity development. Each case study (Afghanistan, Haiti, South Sudan and Timor-Leste) identifies specific bottlenecks and successes and aims to find new ways of thinking about the use of interim personnel for service delivery in core government functions.  
  • Service Delivery in Fragile Situations: Key Concepts, Findings and Lessons  2008  
    This publication, based on the work of the DAC Fragile States Group, identifies the challenges and dilemmas the international community and its partners face in delivering services in fragile situations and offers practical guidance on how to overcome such challenges.
  • Concepts and Dilemmas of State Building in Fragile Situations: Form Fragility to Resilience  
    Successful state building will almost always be the product of domestic action, though it can be significantly enabled by well-targeted, responsive international assistance. Deeper, context-specific analysis of the historical and contemporary dynamics of social contract negotiations must be the basis for state-building efforts. This paper elaborates a series of policy implications related to interventions around various facets of fragility, including weak capacity, illegitimacy and political division
  • Survey of Donor Approaches to Governance Assessment OECD 2008  
    Many development agencies are engaged in assessing governance. What are their approaches and how can these be more effectively harmonised? This study from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development surveys donors’ use of general and thematic governance assessments. Most approaches are driven by policy dialogue, detailed planning of governance enhancement activities and strategic decisions regarding aid to specific countries. Linkage to a donor’s programme, demand from the field and removal of institutional disincentives are important in determining how governance assessments are used.
  • Partnership for Democratic Governance is a multilateral group of like-minded countries and organisations whose goal is to assist states in fragile situations, post-conflict nations and emerging democracies in building their governance capacity and in improving service delivery to their citizens. A hub for knowledge and a clearing house for good practice, the PDG assists developing countries to get a “governance kick start” in key sectors where the provision of interim international and regional personnel makes good sense.
  • 2008 Survey on Monitoring the Paris Declaration  How effective is aid at helping countries meet their own development objectives? Some of the answers can be found in this survey report which presents the results from the second-, follow-up survey on Monitoring the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. It assesses progress in 55 developing countries and helps us understand the challenges in making aid more effective in order to advance development.
  • Health as a Tracer Sector – Aid Effectiveness at the Sector Level 
    Looking at aid effectiveness at the sector level is the best way to communicate widely about aid effectiveness. Examination of sectors allows for concrete measuring of results and in-depth understanding of problems. The Aid Effectiveness agenda has been confined to a restricted and high-level policy audience within agencies and international agencies. It needs to trickle down to practitioners and should be mainstreamed in all aid activities and at sector level. This is the best way to actually change behaviour. It offers concrete and tangible illustration of what the whole aid effectiveness/process and policy guidelines mean in countries.

Oxfam UK

Oxford Policy Management

  • A Vision for the Future of Technical Assistance in the International Development System July 2003.
    This study presents a vision for the future of Technical Assistance that is based around moving from regarding Technical Assistance as an instrument of donor policy, towards a focus on building capacity for developing country governments to procure and manage advisory services.
  • The applicability of the Paris Declaration in fragile and conflict-affected situations (With IDL Group) 
    The DAC High Level Forum (HLF) in Accra in September 2008 provides an opportunity for a wide range of countries to consider the challenges of applying both the Paris Declaration and the Fragile States Principles in fragile situations and conflict-affected countries. This thematic study is intended as a contribution to the Accra discussions, as well as to the ongoing work of the DAC Fragile States Group and the DAC Network on Conflict, Peace and Development Cooperation (CPDC). It is also the first phase of the development of a framework for evaluating aid effectiveness in fragile and conflict-affected situations


Royal Government of Cambodia

  • Developing Health Sector Capacity in Cambodia – Patterns, Challenges and Lessons
    This report presents the findings of the second part of a study commissioned by the Royal Government of Cambodia to examine the contribution of technical cooperation to capacity development in the Cambodian public sector. The first study provided a general and country-wide overview of trends and experiences in the use of technical cooperation across the entire public service. This second study explores the various issues raised in the first report in the context of the health sector. The findings of both studies serve two purposes. First, to support the efforts of the RGC and development partners to improve aid effectiveness. Second, to serve as an input to the Global Study on Technical Cooperation and Capacity Development that has been commissioned by a consortium of development partners.
  • A Guideline on the Provision and Management of Technical Cooperation in Cambodia, Government Position Paper for Consultation, June 2008  The general objective of this position paper is to support the translation of the RGC’s capacity development priorities into effective technical cooperation policies and programmes. The specific objectives are as follows: (1) To clarify and reinforce the link between technical cooperation and capacity development by focusing first on process issues related to management of technical cooperation and second on the required collective actions to improve support to capacity development; (2) To build consensus on the role of technical cooperation and modalities for its effective management based on principles of RGC ownership and leadership of the development agenda; and (3) To inform a Guideline that establishes technical cooperation management and monitoring arrangements.
  • A Guideline on the Provision and Management of Technical Cooperation. 2008.  
    The objective of this Guideline is to support the translation of the Government’s capacity development priorities into effective technical cooperation programmes by: (1) Reinforcing the technical cooperation-capacity development linkage through improved management and collective actions to support capacity development. (2) Establishing technical cooperation management standards that are based on: (i) Government approaches to human resource development; (ii) public administration reform; and (iii) aid effectiveness principles based on ownership and leadership of the development agenda.
  • Morgan, P & Land, A, 2008 Technical Cooperation for Capacity Development in Cambodia: Making the system work better 
    The Royal Government of Cambodia and its development partners continue to collaborate on improving aid effectiveness.Part of this effort has focused on the specific implications of the Paris Declaration for aid design and management in the Cambodian context.Part has been about more general improvements to the design, management and monitoring of technical cooperation (TC) that could be implemented by the RGC, by individual DPs or by actors from both sides coordinating their activities. These perennial topics of TC in general and technical assistance personnel (TA) in particular present particular challenges. Cambodia as an aid-dependent country with continuing gaps in capacity has received a high proportion of its development assistance in the form of TC. No serious effort at improving overall aid effectiveness can make much headway without addressing this issue. To do this, the Partnership and Harmonization Technical Working Group agreed to sponsor a review of TC in the Cambodian context. This report sets out our findings, conclusions and recommendations.


  • Power Analysis – Experiences and Challenges Helena Bjuremalm 2006
    Power analysis can help donors understand underlying structural factors impeding poverty reduction as well as incentives and disincentives for pro-poor development. Such analysis may point to i.a. why resources and authority are not transferred to lower levels of government in spite of decentralisation reforms, why women are not allowed to inherit land, and why poor people’s human rights, in particular, tend to be neglected – and what could be done about such expressions of politics of poverty.
  • Local ownership, co-ownership and capacity-building in aid projects: the findings of a comparative study.
    This paper analyses the relation between local ownership in a selection of Swedish aid projects and the manner in which aid is provided. It addresses analytical problems of defining ownership for organizations and methodological problems in the empirical investigation. Key findings of the study are firstly that local ownership cannot be created by other parties, but can be enhanced and facilitated.

The Policy Practice Ltd.

Transparency International

  • Integrity in Public Procurement: Good Practice from A to Z E Beth and J Bertók 2007
    Could governments do more to prevent corruption in public procurement? This OECD report maps out good practices adopted around the world when embracing anti-corruption strategies in the whole procurement cycle, from needs assessment to contract management. The report analyses public procurement from a good governance perspective, identifying the conditions under which elements of good governance – in particular transparency, good management, corruption resistance and accountability – contribute to integrity in public procurement.


  • Developing Capacity Through Technical Cooperation (Executive Summary)
    Developing Capacity Through Technical Cooperation: Country Experiences is the second in a series of studies exploring the fundamentals of capacity development and the role of external cooperation. It provides concrete inputs to rethinking technical cooperation for today’s challenges based on six country studies – Bangladesh, Bolivia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Philippines and Uganda.
  • Brain Drain is Not Irreversible (Human Development Viewpoint) 
    Brain drain can virtually rob the future of the poorest countries. By developing creative strategies for collaborating with their diasporas, by promoting knowledge networks, market access, facilitating direct investment and supporting return migration, this process may be reversed.
  • Case Evidence on ‘Brain Gain’
    The brief presents case evidence on ‘brain gain’ as a capacity development response in the context of institutional reform and incentives. It focuses on the main characteristics of existing brain gain initiatives, the challenges faced, and some of the lessons learned from a select number of country practices.
  • Madrid Conference Paper on Incentive Systems
    It is possible to distinguish factors that have motivational effects from other capacity elements. Some are internal, others are external to or “in the environment” of any given system. The question of motivation is inextricably linked with capacity and needs to be analyzed and addressed on all capacity levels: individual, organization and enabling environment.
  • Case Evidence on ‘Ethics and Values in Civil Service Reforms’
    This action brief focuses on ways in which ethics and values are promoted in the public service. Three broad approaches – economic, legal, and behavioural – are presented as entry points for effective intervention. The brief examines the role of codes of conduct, education and training and mentoring in enhancing ethical conduct in civil service reform initiatives in a range of countries.
  • Role of Aid Information Management Systems  
    Scaling up development assistance and the Paris Declaration commitments demand urgent steps to increase the quality, transparency and accountability of ODA. This global agenda, reiterated at the UN World Summit in 2005, places importance on the reliability, transparency and accountability of public financial management systems and monitoring of ODA flows. A prerequisite for the effective coordination and management of aid is easily accessible and timely availability of up-to-date information on planned and ongoing aid flows by funding agency, sector and geographic location. Consequently, many governments have worked to set up databases, websites and other information management systems and tools to more effectively track, document and analyse aid flows to their countries. This paper describes how aid information management systems support all aspects of implementing the Paris Declaration and good practice in selecting and implementing such systems, based on several years’ experience in a variety of country situations.
  • Supporting Capacities for Integrated Local Development: Practice Note
    This Practice Note provides UNDP staff and other development practitioners with a concise overview of the capacity challenges involved in local development as well as an easily adaptable five-step approach to address them. The note is not meant to be a comprehensive toolkit or guide but rather a review of different approaches to local development from a capacity development perspective based on best practices and lessons learned.
  • Technical assistance: correcting the precedents, Morgan, P., 2002 UNDP Development Policy Journal , 2, 1-22.  
    Unlike many of the recent proposed action plans for improving technical assistance, complete with careful recommendations and operational steps, this paper takes a step back half a century to concentrate on why technical assistance became a problem rather than a solution. Looking at the features that made development cooperation revolutionary in the history of international relations, it examines TA from the perspective of the organisational pressures and dynamics it involved. It also asks how the current cycle of reappraisal and reform began – and looks ahead to the latest proposals for change.
  • Project Implementation Units (Human Development Viewpoint)
    PIUs, though holding promise for efficient project management and operations, may over time exacerbate the very problems that made them necessary to begin with. If still employed, it must be ensured that they are compatible and integrated with the broader reform processes and have an explicit exit strategy with effective safeguards.
  • Ownership, Leadership and Transformation: Can we do better for Capacity Development? Carlos Lopez and Thomas Theisohn (2003) London, Earthscan


World Bank – World Bank Institute

  • Building Post Crisis Capacity in the Solomon Islands, By Laura Bailey, Operations Policy and Country Services
    The World Bank, May 2009, Issue No. 32 This Capacity Development Brief summarizes the results of a multi-donor team review of four examples of post-crisis capacity development interventions in the Solomon Islands in 2005–08 whose performance was frequently cited as successful by local stakeholders. Although not based on post-project evaluations, the review found a number of patterns and potential lessons: (1) responding to immediate needs fosters national ownership, (2) “quick wins” can lay the basis for wider system impact, (3) being clear on “capacity for what” is key to project success, (4) critical mass in capacity means taking a team approach, (5) training must be grounded in time-relevant and actively operational tasks, (6) a coaching and partnering style is essential and, certainly, not optional, (7) leadership becomes catalytic in capacity development when a broader coalition is engaged, and in some cases supports a “heroic individual” as its leader.
  • The Political Economy of Policy Reform: Issues and Implications for Policy Dialogue and Development Operations  World Bank 2008
     How can donors improve the effectiveness of policy reform processes? This study from the World Bank addresses the political economy of sector reform in agricultural marketing, and water supply and sanitation. It uses a social analysis perspective to analyse stakeholder interests, incentives, institutions, risks and opportunities. Development agencies should undertake timely political economy analysis and establish a sustainable process for building broad coalitions. They should also promote transformative institutional change that includes empowering forms of bottom-up accountability.
  • World Bank’s (WB) Administrative and Civil Service Reform website
    Provides access to some of the key discussions in the field of public administration. The WB site also lists governments’ own websites
  • The International Mobility of Talent and its Impact on Global Development: An Overview
    Human talent is a key economic resource and a source of creative power in science, technology, business, arts and culture and other activities. Talent has a large economic value and its mobility has increased with globalization, the spread of new information technologies and lower transportation costs. Well educated and/or talented people are often more internationally mobile than unskilled workers and face more favourable immigration policies in receiving countries.
  • WBI: Stimulating Good Governance in Fragile States
    Capacity development is fundamental to the broader objective of transforming fragile states into stable nations. A growing body of research on these issues is emerging, pointing to the lessons that have been learned in recent years. In general, these lessons are outlined in a series of papers and documents produced by the Bank, bilateral donors such as DFID and a working group at the level of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee.
  • Improving the Results of Learning for Capacity Building 2009
    This report is a summary of formation of the working group of 16 international development training and learning institutes committed to improving the practice and metrics of learning programmes. The working group focuses on managing for development results, strengthening development training and learning institutes, and fostering collaboration and harmonization on learning results among such institutes.

Next section: Capacity development web sites