A Growing Demand for Monitoring and Evaluation in Africa
Published: 18 September 2013
When decision-makers want to use evidence from monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems to assist them in making choices, there is a demand for M&E. When there is great capacity to supply M&E information, but low capacity to demand quality evidence, there is a mismatch between supply and demand. In this context, as Picciotto (2009) observed, ‘monitoring masquerades as evaluation’. This article applies this observation, using six case studies of African M&E systems, by asking: What evidence is there that African governments are developing stronger endogenous demand for evidence generated from M&E systems?
The argument presented here is that demand for evidence is increasing, leading to further development of M&E systems, with monitoring being dominant. As part of this dominance there are attempts to align monitoring systems to emerging local demand, whilst donor demands are still important in several countries. There is also evidence of increasing demand through government-led evaluation systems in South Africa, Uganda and Benin. One of the main issues that this article notes is that the M&E systems are not yet conceptualised within a reform effort to introduce a comprehensive results-based orientation to the public services of these countries. Results concepts are not yet consistently applied throughout the M&E systems in the case countries. In addition, the results-based notions that are applied appear to be generating perverse incentives that reinforce upward compliance and contrôle to the detriment of more developmental uses of M&E evidence.
Ian Goldman, Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation of the Presidency of South Africa, South Africa
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