A Rapid Assessment of Budget Briefs in Eastern and Southern Africa

Staff report, October 2021


This report presents key findings of a light review of the experiences of UNICEF country offices in developing budget briefs in Eastern and Southern Africa. UNICEF’s use of this public finance tool has increased significantly in recent years, from two country offices producing six briefs in 2015 to 17 country offices producing 100 briefs in 2020. The quality of the briefs has also improved over time, including the data presentation, the depth of analyses and the focus of the recommendations, which have boosted UNICEF’s credibility and influence over national and subnational budgeting processes.

Despite the strong foundation and positive momentum, some simple actions can improve the impact of budget briefs as a core UNICEF tool:

  • Improve the efficiency of producing budget briefs by institutionalizing the process within the office and using simple templates and in-house databases of budget and other information that can be easily updated.
  • Develop specific research questions to guide the background analysis leading to the development of budget briefs.
  • Go beyond aggregate analysis of spending trends to better highlight the policy, programmatic and budgetary implications on child well-being.
  • Strengthen internal coordination and ownership of the budget briefs by ensuring that sections and senior management play a more active role in their development and use.  Plan for and dedicate time for advocacy and other follow-up actions to increase the utility of budget briefs.
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