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7 Efficiency

This chapter presents the evaluation’s assessment of the efficiency of the APP, aiming to measure the programme’s outputs in relation to its inputs. The evaluation has broken this down in efficiency from a cost perspective and efficiency from a management capacity perspective. The chapter will present the efficiency assessment along the lines of the geographical focus areas of the APP: the African continent (focusing on the AU), West Africa (focusing on ECOWAS, KAIPTC and WANEP) and East Africa (focusing on IGAD).

7.1 Efficiency of APP support to AU

The cost-effectiveness of AU APP programming is difficult to assess given the insufficient reporting over the years, not least because of the APP’s funding modalities through JFAs. The establishment of a dedicated finance unit within the AU Peace and Security Department is likely to improve reporting. Specifically, PSD Finance officials stated that the introduction of the results-based management tool AMERT (Africa Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Tool) is expected to improve reporting.

The AU has made good progress on accountability and has improved its financial reporting to such an extent that it is now undergoing the EU’s Pillar Assessment.[184] If passed, the AU is entrusted to carry out budget implementation tasks, which means that the AU will be given greater independency, can take advantage of streamlined procurement processes, and may engage in harmonised grant management.

Across the board, AU officials were very positive about Denmark’s funding modalities, which were characterised as very flexible. The evaluation also took note of the amiable perception of Denmark by all AU staff. The finance unit of the AU Peace and Security Department, for example, count Denmark as a constructive partner which engages at an equal level with AU offices. Other donors were perceived as applying more stringent conditionally and reporting requirements. Danish officials confirmed this perception of other donors and noted that Denmark actively pursued an equal partnership rather than a traditional donor-client relationship. Danish officials have sought to create a special relationship with AU officials since the start of the APP, based on personal relations and a strong understanding of the technical framework. Ambassadors and technical advisers reported instances where they had ‘special access’ to key AU officials and were invited to discuss policy issues in advance of the AU sharing these with the broader donor community.

APP staff resources have remained at a much lower headcount those of the other Scandinavian embassies in Addis Ababa. Denmark employs around 20 personnel, of which less than 10 are diplomats. The Norwegian embassy in Addis Ababa, meanwhile, which is responsible for significant parts of the Norwegian engagement with the AU, employs 13 diplomats. The Swedish embassy, while responsible for the whole regional development cooperation in Africa, has a staff of more than 50 people, with plans to expand. Senior Danish officials confirm that the Danish setup in Addis Ababa is ‘meagre,’ but that a viable solution would not be to hire more international staff. The preferred option would be more local appointees with expert knowledge on certain topics, which therefore would have more influence on the development of the AU.

7.2 Efficiency of APP support to ECOWAS, KAIPTC and WANEP

The efficiency of the APP support to the West Africa region can be broken down in efficiency from a cost perspective and efficiency from a management capacity perspective. No new full financial analysis of ECOWAS, WANEP and KAIPTC was conducted. The assessment is based on existing reviews and an overall analysis of the financial information made available to the evaluation. On this basis, the cost-effectiveness of the support varies for the individual West African APP partners.

The cost-effectiveness of ECOWAS APP programming is hard to establish, given the insufficient and fragmented reporting over the years, which makes it difficult to actually track the money against the APP outcomes. As stated by the APP III Mid-Term Review, there have regularly been delays in ECOWAS submitting overall financial reporting, including annual external audits and interim financial statements on the progress of utilization of funds according to agreed work plans. Overall, the Mid-Term Review finds that ECOWAS should ensure that gaps between the programme directorates and central administration are minimized. There is continued concern that quality and capacity of ECOWAS staff is inadequate to manage a grant like the APP efficiently.

The Review recommends that ECOWAS is supported on capacity building for administrative and financial staff on project management (especially Results-Based Management) and financial management to ensure and enhance the capacities, skills and capabilities to support on financial overview, including uniformed approaches, standards, budget, accounting and reporting and thereby ensure more harmonisation, transparency and accountability within ECOWAS.[185] Some improvement has been made in this regard since the establishment of the ECPF Secretariat in 2015. However, one of the benefits of the setup of the APP support (i.e. going through the ECOWAS system) can also result in the undermining of the cost-effectiveness of the support. This happens when ECOWAS partners (like the Mediation Facilitation Division) want to hire a consultant to undertake APP related work but their efforts are halted by the ECOWAS internal financial and procurement processes (in recent cases, a complete ‘hiring freeze’ makes it impossible to spend the APP funding). In those instances, ECOWAS partners are forced to go through other partners who can hire a consultant for them.

The cost-effectiveness of WANEP programming receives good marks in existing reviews, and other donors interviewed assess WANEP’s cost-effectiveness as high. The financial reports are clear and show a high value for money, with WANEP having a wide outreach and impact in the region with a relatively small staff. WANEP has high-quality staff in terms of required skillsets.

There is, however, room for improvement in terms of the cost-effectiveness of KAIPTC programming. It is difficult to truly assess this, given the fact that all donors interviewed indicate that the financial reports provided by the Centre do not provide a full overview and contain mistakes. The efficiency of the Centre’s staff capacity has been questioned for many years now – both in terms of quantity and quality. In relation to this, the balance between budget for the Centre’s own staff capacity and external consultants is put into question (as mentioned above). Also, KAIPTC’s supply-driven approach means that they are not cost-effective in relation to their own Strategic Plan (and hence the JFA), as they are pulled into too many different directions.

As for the cost-effectiveness of the APP management set-up: from a cost perspective, it is efficient to manage the programme as a whole out of one embassy. However, this impacts the effectiveness of the programme in West Africa when it comes to Denmark exerting the policy influence it potentially has vis-à-vis the APP partner organisations. It is also not clear that the current management setup strengthens the APP coherence, as it is not evident that the various programme components are being managed as components of one overarching programme. WANEP and KAIPTC were, for instance, not even aware of the fact that they were part of a larger endeavour. This is not only a missed opportunity in terms of more efficiently managing the two organisations (who partner on many activities, including those supported by the respective JFAs), but also in terms of managing their relationship with ECOWAS (and vice versa). One key issue in this regard is the fact that both organisations indicated that money is supposed to trickle down through ECOWAS to them (as key partners in the implementation of ECOWAS activities – i.e. Early Warning system and ECOWAS Standby Force – as indicated in the respective MoUs between the organisations and ECOWAS). This does not happen in practice, due to the internal management issues in ECOWAS. Both WANEP and KAIPTC are sometimes forced to use part of their core contributions to fill the gaps that follow from ECOWAS money not trickling down. If they would have known about the full APP setup, they could have used the Danish connection to chase the ECOWAS money (e.g. engage in dialogue on this issue together with Denmark).

Overall, the evaluation finds that there is a need to reassess the division of labour between the embassies in Addis Ababa, Accra and Abuja when it comes to the APP support in West Africa. The communication between the embassies in Accra and in Addis Ababa has been inefficient in the sense that – specifically for KAIPTC – there has been duplication and a lack of follow through. It was the embassy in Accra that was involved in the initial conversations on the new Strategic Plan for KAIPTC. But as Accra does not manage the APP, the embassy had to check in with Addis and get them to take the lead in order to actually move forward. In practice, Addis lacked the capacity to follow up, so there is now no concrete Danish engagement in the process. And for ECOWAS, Denmark has started to increase its engagement with ECOWAS since the opening of the Danish embassy in Abuja, allowing for some level of ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground for the embassy in Addis Ababa. However, as the embassy in Abuja is not accredited to ECOWAS, and as it does not have dedicated capacity to engage in a strategic dialogue with ECOWAS, for the moment the engagement is ad hoc and comes down to the good will of individuals rather than being tackled in a structural manner. As also indicated by the APP III Mid-Term Review, it would be advisable to have the embassy in Abuja more structurally involved in the management of the APP ECOWAS Component.

7.3 Efficiency of APP support to IGAD

The cost-effectiveness of the APP’s programmes with IGAD is difficult to establish given the quality of IGAD reporting thus far. According to the APP reviews, the financial statements report items’, rather than activities, which in the past has reduced Denmark’s ability to efficiently assess the projects. IGAD officials in Addis Ababa offer little help, simply pointing to the upcoming impact assessments, which would – once again – aim to improve such reporting. APP is behind the effort expecting narrative reporting to ‘improve knowledge-sharing on financial management.’

[186]Meanwhile, IGAD officials noted that the JFA, of which Denmark is a party, was not as efficient as the previously direct programme level support to individual IGAD units. Under the current JFA arrangement, IGAD units need to compete internally for the same resources, making this arrangement cumbersome and less effective. This risked duplication of efforts and more coordination was recommended. Conversely, aid officials, including Denmark, were pleased with the JFA, as this lowered transaction costs for donors, and they welcome the merit-based allocation of funds. Previously, the IGAD units with the greatest fundraising budgets attracted most funds, irrespective of their performance.

Compared to other donors, Denmark employs a low number of staff to manage its programming to IGAD and to the APP as a whole. Along with the ambassador in Addis Ababa, a single counsellor and a senior programme officer are responsible for the relationships with IGAD, ECOWAS, and AU among others. Other Nordic embassies invest more in human resources and claim greater impact as a result. The larger Swedish and Norwegian presence allow dedicated focus and engagement with IGAD officials at a level that Denmark cannot achieve. Danish officials note, however, that the small team ensures better coherence and no division between the Danish political and development initiatives: Sweden, for example, employs aid officials in parallel to policy officials who are not accredited to engage on the same issues and thus need to coordinate internally. The Danish embassy in Addis Ababa also confirmed that they were satisfied with the current human resource allocation.

Danish officials in Copenhagen and at the embassy consider themselves key supporters and frontrunners for IGAD engagement. This does not, however, include taking on greater responsibility. While offered by the European Commission, Denmark did not accept the role of delegated authority for its EUR 40 million contribution. Instead, Austria, a country with a briefer history on the Horn, took on the role through the Austrian Development Agency. Danish officials are content with this decision and do not consider it a missed opportunity. Meanwhile, the APP III Mid-Term Review recommends that Denmark’s support in the APP IV would need to be aligned with the enhanced EU support, as this would ensure donor harmonisation and effectively improve the support to IGAD.

Relations between the Danish embassy and IGAD are very positive. The IGAD Executive Secretary and other senior officials note that communications and relations are very friendly and accommodating. The consistent and predictable support allows for planning, and the flexible terms allow for shifting priorities. Yet other aid officials question whether the flexible Danish approach has partially distracted the overall donor effort to keep IGAD accountable and delivery-focused on its convening mandate and capacity-building efforts. Many recognise Denmark’s leadership on peace and security issues but are less patient in their desire to see results.

[184] Danish officials expect the AU to pass the assessment in 2018 whereas AU officials are more sceptical. The EU can entrust budget implementation tasks to certain countries, organisations and bodies. These entities must meet requirements in up to seven areas relating to the internal control system, the accounting system, an independent external audit and rules and procedures for providing financing from EU funds through grants, procurement and financial instruments and Sub-Delegation. Entities wishing to work with EU funds under the indirect management mode must successfully pass the so-called Pillar Assessment.

[185] Danida, Mid-Term Review Africa Programme for Peace, Phase III (APP III) – Review Aide Memoire, July 2016, p. 11.

[186] APP Mid-Term Review III 2016.


This page forms part of the publication "Evaluation of the Africa Programme for Peace 2004-2017 – November 2018" as chapter 7 of 12.
Version no. 1.0, 2018-12-13
Publication may be found at the address http://www.netpublikationer.dk/um/evaluation_africa_programme_for_peace_2004-2017/index.html