Report by Linnea Mills and Clay G. Wescott: “BOOST is a new resource launched in 2010 to facilitate improved quality, classification, and access to budget data and promote effective use for improved government decision making, transparency and accountability. Using the Government’s own data from public expenditure accounts held in the Government’s Financial Management Information System, and benefiting from a consistent methodology, the BOOST data platform makes highly granular fiscal data accessible and ready-for-use. National authorities can significantly enhance fiscal transparency by publishing summary data and analysis or by providing open access to the underlying dataset. This paper addresses four research questions: Did BOOST help improve the quality of expenditure analysis available to government decision makers? Did it help to develop capacity in central finance and selected spending agencies to sustain expenditure analysis? Did it help to improve public access to expenditure analysis anddata? Did it help to increase awareness of the opportunities for BOOST and expenditure analysis in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as countries outside this region where BOOST has been used (Georgia, Haiti and Tunisia).
Evidence has been drawn from various sources. Survey questionnaires were sent to all World Bank task team leaders for Gates Trust Fund supported countries. Completed questionnaires were received from 18 predominantly African countries (Annex 4). These 18 countries constitute the majority but not all of the countries implementing BOOST with financial support from the Trust Fund. Information has also been gathered through a BOOST stakeholder questionnaire targeting government officials, civil society representatives and representatives from parliaments at country level, field visits to Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda, interviews with stakeholders at the Bank and at country level, participation at regional conferences on BOOST in South Africa and Senegal, and document review. Interviews covered participants from some countries that did not complete questionnaires, such as Haiti.
The research will help to inform the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Bank, the administrator of the trust fund on the achievements of the program, and the value of continuing support. It will inform client country Governments, and non-Government actors interested in improved dissemination and analysis of quality public financial data. The research should also be useful for vendors of similar products like OpenGov; and to international scholars and experts working to better understand public expenditure management in developing countries….(More)”