Fiscal space for children in Eastern and Southern Africa

Client: UNICEF | Sectors: Public Sector Reform

In October 2018, Ecorys finalised the implementation of a contract to carry out the analyses of the fiscal space and political economy of countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. 

The purpose of this study was to strengthen UNICEF advocacy through a better understanding of the role of political economy factors. This involves the processes and decisions around the creation and use of fiscal space for investments in children in Eastern and Southern Africa.

The project deliverables comprised 16 individual country studies, each of which consisted of two types of analyses, a political economy analysis and a fiscal space analysis. The political economy analysis mainly identified potential entry points for UNICEF’s engagement in the domestic budget process, while the fiscal space analysis identified how political and economic factors could influence fiscal space for children.

Overall, the study found that each country’s political economy of the budget process is unique, yet some common characteristics include shifts in development priorities, a relatively closed budget process and broader shortcomings in budget preparation. In terms of fiscal space, the studies identified several promising scenarios for increasing fiscal space for child-friendly expenditure. However, the prospects for the delivery of many of the positive scenarios remain mixed in the short term. In summary, the studies have identified interesting avenues for UNICEF to engage more effectively on the budget and on strategic resource allocation questions, whilst identifying options for increasing fiscal space.

Key Experts

Ivo Gijsberts Director