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The Office of the Auditor General's investigation of development assistance for good governance and anti-corruption in selected partner countries

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Summary

Background and objective of the audit

Support for strengthening governance and the fight against corruption is one of the highest priority areas for Norwegian assistance. In 2004-2014, NOK 26 billion, about 10 per cent of Norwegian development assistance, was spent on such projects.

The aim of the audit was to assess the quality of the management of Norwegian assistance for good governance and anti-corruption, and to assess effectiveness and sustainability – whether the results continue after aid funding has been withdrawn.

The audit encompasses a review of overall management and projects in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Uganda and Zambia. These countries received NOK 2.74 billion, just over 10 per cent of Norwegian assistance for good governance in 2004–2014.

Findings and recommendations

Development assistance for good governance and anti-corruption lacks strategic focus

In 2014, such assistance was distributed to nearly 100 countries and 1,750 individual projects. Efforts to concentrate aid on fewer projects and countries have not produced significant results so far. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has no clear strategy for governance assistance and has marginally addressed the key challenges in the selected countries in the management documents.

The Office of the Auditor General recommends that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs consider formulating a strategy based on key goals and instruments in the area.

The majority of the governance and anti-corruption projects that were examined have poor effectiveness and weak sustainability

Twenty of the 25 audited projects largely failed to achieve the objectives for strengthening institutions or organisations and their ability to achieve their goals or exercise their function. There is even weaker achievement of goals such as less corruption, strengthened rights and greater political participation.

However, two-thirds of the projects have, to a fairly large or large extent, delivered the planned outputs, such as action plans, software, seminars and training of personnel. The sustainability of the projects – that the effects continue after funding has been withdrawn – is largely uncertain: Thirteen of the projects are considered to have weak sustainability, and 8 are uncertain.

Poor planning weakens the orientation on results and inadequate follow-up increases the risk of poor goal achievement

  • The planning documents for two-thirds of the 25 projects have weak analyses of political, economic and legal conditions.
  • There are major weaknesses in the goal structure and unclear criteria for goal achievement for two-thirds of the projects in the sample.
  • The reporting from the vast majority of the projects provides little relevant information about results.

The OAG recommends that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • strengthen its knowledge base for governance and anti-corruption assistance in the most important recipient countries
  • improve its management practices by ensuring a proper goal structure for the projects, clear criteria for confirming goal achievement, and better reporting by recipients in accordance with this.

The weak system for assessing goal achievement provides little learning

The Ministry has no documented assessment of goal achievement in any of the audited projects that were completed.

The OAG recommends that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs strengthen the basis for its own learning by introducing a structured and systematic measurement of goal achievement in individual projects.

Ministry/ministries:

Riksrevisjonen, Storgata 16, P.O. Box 8130 Dep, 0032 Oslo, Norway

Phone: +47 22 24 10 00

Org.nr: 974 760 843