The Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results – Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA) recently completed five studies on evaluation supply and demand in African countries. The study argues that the political economy of a country influences opportunities for evaluation to be used in policy processes. Consequently, evaluation capacity development practices need to be undertaken in a manner that works towards development with the prevailing political economy.
Political economy issues become less evident as analysis moves from the policy space towards technical delivery, but still impacts upon the way evaluation processes unfold. This argument has been developed through synthesising findings from the case studies in five African countries; namely, Ghana, Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia. Individual country reports are found here.
The studies map evaluation demand and supply with consideration for the political economy, finding that there is potential rather than actual technical capacity to manage, undertake and demand evaluations. This is a major constraint on the use of evaluation. High-quality evaluations are more often commissioned and managed by development partners than government, which means that they are less likely to be used in policy. There are, however, some notable examples development partner led evaluations being used. In some cases universities, think tanks and civil society actors in the country have some good technical capacity and can navigate the political context in a manner that promotes development rather than self-interest. Such technically good and politically savvy evaluation actors offer entry points to evaluation capacity development efforts.