DMU researcher leads World Bank financial aid review

A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) researcher is to play a key role in the World Bank’s moves to help developing countries improve their finances.

Accounting and Finance principal lecturer Fred Mear, who has more than 20 years’ experience in international economic reform, has been appointed to lead a review for PEFA, the Public Expenditure Financial Accountability secretariat of the World Bank.

fred inset

The PEFA Program is used to assess the financial system of governments including debt management, taxation systems, spending, procurement processes and other public finance systems of countries which have applied for or are receiving aid from the World Bank, EU, UK Department for International development and other major donors. It was created in 2001 to help create a co-ordinated assessment of a country’s problems to be used by all PEFA partners (WB,IMF,EU,DFID as well as the French, Swiss, Norwegian governments) the assessment is used to inform the agreements for a step-by-step process for reform which can be followed by the country’s Government with the support of the donors.

Mr Mear, who has worked with EC for many years, has now been asked to update its 2011 report to provide a comprehensive overview of all the tools available to improve financial governance and performance reducing corruption, waste and inefficiency.

The three-month project, which will involve two other practitioners, will help Governments looking for financial aid understand the range of tools available and what could work best for them. It will form part of the guidelines used by donors and aid recipient countries in developing the reform agendas for fiscal sustainability and country development.   

Mr Mear, has previously worked on EU projects including taxation  and accounting reforms in Cuba, reforms in the former Soviet Union adapt to market economies, worked on accounting reforms in China, and has presented to international audiences on Public Financial Management, which is crucial to fiscal reforms.

He said: “In terms of impact, this project is about as big as it gets. What we will be doing is mapping across the existing tools and creating guidelines on using high level and specific diagnostic tools for public finance.

“Financial diagnostic tools have become more and more sophisticated and can help ensure really effective interventions. Public Financial Management affects all areas of an economy, and can reduce opportunities for fraud, corruption and inefficiency. It’s fundamental to ensure that these tools are there to assess how countries have been managing their money.

“Effective reforms can take 12 to 14 years to take effect. and involve the whole system, the sequencing of those reforms are crucial in achieving effective improvements and the diagnostics are the starting point that must be correct”
PEFA has been a focus of Mr Mear’s research for some time and he has recently made a number of presentations to international bodies on his work.    

Professor Cillian Ryan, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law, said: “I hope you will join with me in congratulating Fred on winning this contract. Fred’s success demonstrates the high-quality, impactful research that is being undertaken in the faculty.”

PEFA is a partnership programme between the European Commission, the International Monetary fund, the French Ministry of foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, the UK’s Department for International Development and the World Bank. Since it was created in 2001, 499 assessments covering 149 countries have been carried out.

Posted on Wednesday 27th April 2016

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