Working paper 69
Sam Hickey and Badru Bukenya
In 2015 the Government of Uganda agreed to start rolling out a social pension programme across the country and to increase its own financial contribution to this. This outcome was largely driven by the decade-long and highly politicised efforts of a transnational policy coalition, led by mainly by international donors and national bureaucrats. This was a struggle over ideas as well as incentives and resources, with this coalition having to overcome strong resistance from the Finance Ministry tendency and wider notions of deservingness, dependency and affordability. This resistance largely held until the policy coalition started ‘thinking and working politically’ in ways that helped align the social protection agenda with Uganda’s shifting political settlement dynamics, particularly the President’s increased susceptibility to pressures from below in the context of populist patronage and multi-party elections. Nonetheless, government’s apparent commitment to social protection remains meagre and even after the roll-out only a tiny proportion of Uganda’s poor will benefit from this small transfer. Whether cash transfers will amount to more than another form of vote-buying clientelism remains to be seen. The evidence presented here raises serious concerns regarding both the developmental character of Uganda’s contemporary political settlement and also the costs of the ‘going with the grain’ motif of the new thinking and working politically agenda. Aligning policy agendas with dominant interests and ideas may render interventions politically acceptable whilst further embedding clientelist logics and doing little to address distributional problems.
Working paper 68
This paper examines the political economy of Rwanda’s Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP) and argues that strong government commitment to the VUP has been shaped by the specific characteristics of the political settlement that was established around 2000. For the Rwandan government, the VUP has never been just a social transfer programme, but a key part of the development strategy that aims to promote social stability and the legitimacy of the ruling coalition. While donor social protection ideas have been influential, these are purposefully adapted by government, with a view to meeting its developmental and political goals.
Working paper 67
Brian Levy, Robert Cameron, Ursula Hoadley and Vinothan Naidoo
This paper synthesises the findings of research on the politics and governance in South Africa, undertaken at multiple levels, and using multiple methods. The research explored two core questions: how politics and background institutions influence educational bureaucracies; and the relative merits of hierarchical and horizontal governance. South Africa’s institutional arrangements provide a ‘natural experiment’ for analysing these questions. While policymaking, the regulatory framework and resourcing are uniform nationally, responsibility for implementation is delegated to the country’s nine provinces, which differ substantially from one another, both politically and institutionally. The Western Cape emerges as a strong performer relative to other South African provinces. However, econometric analysis confirms that, notwithstanding strong bureaucracy and abundant resources, its outcomes were below those achieved in Kenya.
The institutional arrangements also assign substantial responsibilities ‘horizontally’ to school governing bodies, where parents are in the majority. School-level case studies detail how in the Western Cape a combination of strong bureaucracy and weak horizontal governance can result in unstable patterns of internal governance, and sometimes a low-level equilibrium of mediocrity. In the Eastern Cape, pro-active engagement on the part of communities and parents sometimes serves as a partial institutional substitute – supporting school-level performance even where the broader governance environment is dysfunctional.
While reforms in Uganda in the 1980s and 1990s aimed at achieving public sector efficiency, those in the 2000s focused on achieving effectiveness through public financial management initiatives and modern management practices. The latter have yielded limited fruits, and this study sought to investigate factors that account for this state of affairs. We argue that implementation of the recent public sector reforms coincided with a shift in the national political settlement in which competition within the ruling NRM party, and between the NRM and other parties, made the ruling elite vulnerable. The threat of losing power distracted politicians at the national level from building a more effective public sector that can deliver high-quality services, in favour of one that helps them to maintain power.
The promotion of social protection in Uganda has been a highly political affair, closely shaped by political dynamics involving the perceived interests of the ruling coalition in securing its stability and legitimacy. The government’s shift away from the poverty reduction agenda towards a focus on ‘prosperity for all’ and structural transformation in the mid-2000s seemed to reduce the space for pro-poor policy-making, including on social protection. Although social protection has again risen up the policy agenda in Uganda in recent years, much higher levels of commitment and capacity will be required if it is to become an integral part of the government’s development strategy and to achieve lasting gains for the country’s poor and vulnerable people.
Maternal and child health conditions account for over 20 percent of the total disease burden in Uganda. The persistent poor maternal health outcomes stem from poor quality provision and low utilisation of health services at all stages. Despite having a roadmap for accelerating reduction in maternal morbidity and mortality, there are many bottlenecks in the system, and after nearly five years of implementing the plan the successes have been modest. The imperative of maintaining power seems to have distracted politicians at national and local levels from building a more effective health service that can deliver high-quality provision. Our research traces the sector’s changing politics, focusing first on the national level and then on a comparative case study of government performance in Sembabule and Lyantonde districts.
Developments in the Ugandan education sector since 1996 paint a picture of increased enrolments, but little or no improvement in quality, despite several policy initiatives and an apparent policy consensus that initiatives to improve quality are important. Studies on education reforms in Uganda tend to take the education policy process for granted. They do not deal with how improved education becomes part of a political agenda or the politics behind how initiatives are implemented and sustained once they are introduced. This briefing paper asks whether Uganda is committed to increasing not only access to basic education, but its quality.
The framework used in this study brings together a political settlement approach and recent feminist analysis of women’s political empowerment in Uganda. In order to explore how the general configuration of power establishes the key incentives and ideas that shape the ways in which institutions work to deliver gender-inclusive development, this framework has been applied to two policy cases: the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) and Universal Primary Education (UPE). Through an analysis of the politics of each case, the paper tests the logic that one would expect transformative policy agendas to encounter stronger forms of resistance from dominant interests and ideas within a given political settlement than more ameliorative approaches.
Working paper 66
Anthony Bebbington, Elisa Arond and Juan Luis Dammert
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) originated in the international domain but can only operate if adopted at a national scale. How EITI unfolds in a particular country is thus a consequence of the particular interactions between domestic and transnational political processes, and among ideas, institutions and political interests existing at these different national and transnational scales. National politics is especially crucial to the forms taken by EITI. This paper addresses how national political settlements have led to diverse responses to EITI across three Andean countries: Peru (an early adopter); Colombia (a late adopter); and Bolivia (a non-adopter). We argue that national elites have taken up (or, in the case of Bolivia, rejected) EITI as part of a strategy to secure broader goals and to convey particular messages about the state of democracy and political priorities in their countries, including towards actors on the international stage. We conclude that the EITI, and the idea of transparency, are leveraged by national actors to meet domestic political goals and interests, even as these may also be intertwined with other international pressures and contexts. While EITI, and arguments over transparency, can affect the nature of the domestic political settlement, they do so primarily by helping deepen domestic political changes that are already underway and that were the same political changes that created the initial space for EITI.