n African Evaluation Journal - The emergence of government evaluation systems in Africa : the case of Benin, Uganda and South Africa - original research

Volume 6 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2310-4988
  • E-ISSN: 2306-5133
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Background: Evaluation is not widespread in Africa, particularly evaluations instigated by governments rather than donors. However since 2007 an important policy experiment is emerging in South Africa, Benin and Uganda, which have all implemented national evaluation systems. These three countries, along with the Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR) Anglophone Africa and the African Development Bank, are partners in a pioneering African partnership called Twende Mbele, funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Hewlett Foundation, aiming to jointly strengthen monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems and work with other countries to develop M&E capacity and share experiences. 

Objectives: This article documents the experience of these three countries and summarises the progress made in deepening and widening their national evaluation systems and some of the cross-cutting lessons emerging at an early stage of the Twende Mbele partnership. 

Method: The article draws from reports from each of the countries, as well as work undertaken for the evaluation of the South African national evaluation system. 

Results and conclusions: Initial lessons include the importance of a central unit to drive the evaluation system, developing a national evaluation policy, prioritising evaluations through an evaluation agenda or plan and taking evaluation to subnational levels. The countries are exploring the role of non-state actors, and there are increasing moves to involve Parliament. Key challenges include difficulty of getting a learning approach in government, capacity issues and ensuring follow-up. These lessons are being used to support other countries seeking to establish national evaluation systems, such as Ghana, Kenya and Niger.

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