The following abstract and summary of a presentation by Mayor Adoulaya Drame of Matam, Senegal provides another example of the many participatory budgeting initiatives underway in Africa. - Editor
PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING IN MATAM, SENEGAL
Abstract from a Presentation made by Mayor of Matam, Hon. Abdoulaya Drame during a PB Conference held in Malaga Spain from 28 March – 1 April 2007.
Matam is a small town in Senegal with 20,000 inhabitants. Before 2002, the city didn’t know its budget – no one tracked it. The PB process in Matam involves a constant exchange between the city and neighborhood committees. The city asks committees to prioritize projects and decide their costs, then the committees and city employees develop the budget together through many meetings (co-management). The city council even includes one spot for a councilor from the town’s international diaspora, who mobilizes resources from the diaspora that are used for the PB.
Presentation by Abdoulaye Drame, Mayor of Matam Senegal
Following a brief introduction about the City of Matam, the Mayor went on the describe the motivation for introducing participatory budgeting. He pointed out that previously, local governments draw up their budget in a small circle and most of the time, the information was not shared with the populations. The few who were consulted for data-gathering were not present during the budgetary orientation meetings or during the budget vote meeting. He pointed out that beside the local population, even sometimes local elected officials had no information about the financial capacities of their municipality, or about the use of these financial resources. Furthermore, the results of theprevious budget were not looked into. There was an enormous deficit of communication between the elected officials and the inhabitants about the use of public resources. Such failures turned out to be obstacles to realising good local governance – efficiency, participation, transparency and equity.
It was against this background that during the budgetary orientation meeting (2005), the local elected officials deplored this situation and decided to try out the participatory budgeting. It was the determination of the councillors to get the community to:
- Determine the assignment of whole or part of the available public resources and
- Participate in subsequent decisions related to expenditure assignment
The local authority asked ENDA ECOPOP to monitor the process of participatory budgeting and to provide capacity building for both council officials and the community. Among the activities was a four-day workshop organised in Matam to elaborate on the investment opportunities as part of the budget with all the different actors – local elected officials, local technicians, state technicians, women, youngsters, traders, carriers, old aged people, delegates, handicapped people and other stakeholders.
A second workshop with all the actors was organised to analyse the best follow-up strategies of the activities which were started through participatory budgeting. The idea was to reflect on the obstacles to local financial resources mobilization and also the collection strategies. The working groups were created during the workshop which constitute an interface between the council and the populations.
The Mayor highlighted some capacity building challenges. He stressed that citizens have a crucial role to play in the financial resources mobilization of their community. However, whilst they are fullfledged actors in the budgetary process, they do not know what they must do and how they must do it.
Mayor Drame outlined the lessons learned as follows:
- The mayor plays a key role in encouraging citizens to participate in the budgetary process.
- A budget committee must be set up to follow up on the process
- The participatory budget is voted for and priorities are discussed in public
- The priorities should be in line with programmes of the state
Among the Impacts and lessons learnt are the following:
- People now appreciate that there is transparency in the budgetary process
- Financial and technical assistance from ENDA was very useful
- The mayor plays a key role in implementing participatory budgeting
In his final remarks, Mayor Drame said “PB is a reality that reconciles peoples’ dreams with the resource realities they are in”. He went on to say that participatory budgeting is an instrument of democratization in public management and has two fundamental principles namely; participation and transparency.