Posted on June 16, 2016 by
Agim Salihu is a municipal development specialist with USAID’s Advancing Kosovo Together (AKT) program. AKT facilitates inter-ethnic cooperation among majority and minority communities to promote security and stability.
You’ve said that you believe public financial management is the foundation of sustainable development in southeastern European countries. How does this belief translate into the work you’re doing on AKT?
I am fully confident that in any part of the globe, including southeast Europe, public financial management is the basis for sustainable development. I apply this conviction in my daily work. One of the objectives of the Advancing Kosovo Together program is to increase the efficiency and capacity of local governments to respond to the needs of citizens — first and foremost, in public financial management and planning. To do this we provide formal training delivery, on-the-job coaching, and action planning. Based on an initial capacity assessment, to date we have held training events on municipal revenue legal frameworks and supported improved implementation through property tax registration and on-the-job coaching on financial management across all of our partner municipalities. We reinforce these efforts by helping citizens to mobilize and engage their municipal governments, demanding improved services and infrastructure and accountability for revenue spending. Effective public financial management and planning is, without a doubt, crucial for achieving our program goals.
What is the biggest challenge in working with municipal governments to manage their finances, collect revenue, and provide consistent services? What needs to be done to overcome that challenge in Kosovo?
As you probably know, Kosovo is young democracy — a country without extensive experience in financial management. Bearing in mind that public finances are an important factor for sustainable and quality provision of municipal services and public investments, the challenges faced by many local institutions are enormous. Although Kosovo has formed legislation that is compatible with the legislation of EU countries, challenges exist. AKT is strengthening the capacities of 16 municipalities for strategic planning and public service provision in an effective manner that meets expectations of the citizens. We help the municipalities to develop improvement action plans for priority services that outline appropriate local finance and revenue managements.
In May you had the opportunity to attend the ICGFM Annual Conference. The theme was “transforming development finance.” What was your biggest takeaway from the conference and how does it relate to Kosovo’s context?
It was interesting that many participants were facing similar challenges to ours and great to hear from well-developed countries, institutions like the World Bank, and global companies about how they overcome these challenges. For example, there was an interesting session called “Data Visualization for Financial Transparency and Accountability,” which offered more professional ways of presenting financial transparency and accountability. This session would have been useful for the municipalities of Kosovo. They usually draft their information on financial transparency by relying heavily on text narrative and numbers, making it difficult for citizens to focus their attention to important report findings. Drafting reports in a more visualized format would make it easier for citizens to read them and fully understand.
Learn more about the importance of public financial management. "3 Questions" is a blog series offering quick takes from development experts on issues that matter.
Posted on April 28, 2016 by
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the biggest regional trade agreement in history
Twelve countries representing nearly 40 percent of the world’s GDP
— Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New
Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam — have
agreed on a trade pact that will link their very diverse economies
around a set of commitments centered primarily on free trade
principles. With one sweep, the partnership could potentially
create a uniform set of rules...
Posted on February 16, 2016 by
In April, I visited farmers’ plots and greenhouses in western
Georgia supported by the recently closed USAID’s New Economic Opportunities (NEO)
. Our team met dozens of farmers, who were eager to
share how they adopted new technologies or new crop varieties to
double, triple, or even increase their household income 20 times
over. For some, enthusiasm
was an understatement.
I specifically recall speaking to Nana, an animated new
strawberry farmer who heard about an information session...
Posted on February 3, 2016 by
December 17, 2015, marked a monumental moment
for Afghanistan. After 11
years of negotiations, The World Trade Organization (WTO) formally
adopted Afghanistan’s terms of accession at its 10th Ministerial
Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. What does this mean for Afghanistan’s
future? Here are eight reasons why WTO membership will benefit
Economic growth, investment, and job creation
Afghanistan’s export structure is
dominated by agricultural products and some manufacturing of...
Posted on February 2, 2016 by
By Christy Sisko
and David Fischer
Last year was a busy one for international trade and development
actors. We observed major progress in the renewal of the African
Growth and Opportunity Act, continued global ratification of the
World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, proposal of
the Tripartite Free Trade Area in Africa, and announcement of the
Trans-Pacific Partnership, all of which bring new attention to the
interrelationship between global trade and sustainable
Posted on January 21, 2016 by
The business case for promoting in women’s economic empowerment
is clear. According to a recent McKinsey Global Institute Report
, expanding and
improving women’s economic participation can add as much as $12
trillion to $28 trillion to the global GDP by 2025. In addition, as
studies consistently affirm, an investment in a woman’s economic
empowerment is an investment in the health, education, and security
of her family.
With new international trade agreements, such as the Trans
Posted on January 14, 2016 by
Doina Nistor is chief of party for USAID’s Moldova
Competitiveness Enhancement Through Workforce Development and
Innovation (CE-WIN) project. She also served as chief of party for
the predecessor projects, Competitiveness Enhancement and
Enterprise Development (CEED) I and II. Before going into
development, she worked in Moldova’s private sector.
Q: CEED had success using USAID’s Global Development
Alliance (GDA) model in Moldova’s information technology (IT)
sector. Can you describe the...
Posted on October 15, 2015 by
The World Bank predicts that India will receive $70 billion in
remittances from its diaspora around the world in 2015. In absolute
terms, this is the
largest volume of remittances of any country
in the world
(followed by China, the Philippines, Mexico, and Nigeria). It is
also more than six times USAID’s
entire budget request
for fiscal year 2016 and is continuing to
grow at an average rate of nearly
annually. Redirecting a small fraction of this vast
pool of capital could go a long...
Posted on October 13, 2015 by
Globally, the number of people living outside their country of
origin has almost tripled — from 76 million to 232 million — over
the past 45 years. For many who leave their homes, starting a new
life in search of refuge, employment, education, or other factors
does not mean disregarding their heritage or the family and friends
they left behind. Motivated by diverse factors, such as emotional
ties, economic opportunity, social status, and political influence,
diaspora communities have been giving...
Posted on September 29, 2015 by
As a landlocked country of about 3.6 million, nestled between
European Union (EU)-member Romania and Ukraine, Moldova has
Since gaining its independence in 1991, Moldova’s gross domestic
product (GDP) has actually declined from Soviet-era levels. Part of
the reason is that the government has hampered Moldovan export
sales with prohibitive customs requirements that are
time-consuming, unduly complicated, and unnavigable to
As is the case in other developing...
Posted on September 25, 2015 by
Today, the United Nations
Sustainable Development Summit opens in New York. More than 150
world leaders are expected to gather there to adopt the proposed
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an ambitious document meant
to define the world’s development agenda for the next 15
With 17 goals and 169 individual targets, the SDGs are more
numerous and complex than their predecessor, the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs), adopted in 2000. But they are hugely
important, both individually and...
Posted on September 22, 2015 by
This blog was originally published by the SEEP Network
is cross-posted with permission.
There are approximately 500 million smallholder farms in the
world providing up to 80 percent of food consumed in Asia and
Sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, despite smallholder farmers’
substantial role in the world’s access to food resources, they
consistently face constraints including poor access to improved
inputs, reliance on rainwater for irrigation, poor natural resource
Posted on September 10, 2015 by
Success in the fashion industry, in any country, requires a
delicate balance between artistic ability and keen business skills.
As a designer, you need to not only understand what your market is
and what customer you are targeting but what trends are emerging
and how your personality will come out in your collections. The
“toolkit” for a designer is clearly a multifaceted one and
undoubtedly one that is changing as quickly as what trends are
hitting the streets each season.
For young designers in...
Posted on September 1, 2015 by
Ibrahim Osta is the chief of party for the Building Economic
Sustainability Through Tourism (BEST) program in Jordan, which
focuses on improving the country’s tourism sector and ensuring that
Jordan has the skilled workforce needed to keep the sector
BEST program works at the intersection of tourism and economic
development. Could you elaborate on how those two issues are
and tourism is the world’s largest industry. With more than one
billion people crossing...
Posted on August 27, 2015 by
Cairon Macmac, a merchant who selling pearls in the Philippines,
was one of the first in her market to start using GCASH to sell
pearls to her customers. Cairon was introduced to mobile
e-money by the Chemonics team managing USAID’s
Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS)
in 2010. She now accepts all local and international credit
cards using a mobile point-of-sale system. Her dream is to
one day have her own website and sell online.
Currently, the USAID E-PESO activity...
Posted on August 14, 2015 by
The very first proposed goal of the new Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs) is simply this: “End poverty in all its forms
This is an incredibly bold statement. A commitment to END
POVERTY. In ALL ITS FORMS. EVERYWHERE. I usually avoid writing in
all caps, but in this case, I feel the need to emphasize just how
significant a commitment we are making to ourselves and to our
world. Bold letters don’t even do it justice. I have worked every
day for the past 15 years to end poverty; it’s...
Posted on July 23, 2015 by
Proposed Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8 is to “promote
sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and
productive employment and decent work for all.” For those who are
familiar with the existing Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),
this language may sound familiar. Under Goal 1 of the MDGs, the
second target is, “achieve full and productive employment and
decent work for all, including women and young people.”
So what is really new with the
SDGs in the world of economic...
Posted on July 7, 2015 by
Melissa Scudo is the team leader for the Tunisia Tax and
Customs Reform Activity (TCP)—a two-year initiative to help the
government of Tunisia bolster economic growth through tax and
customs reform. TCP is part of Chemonics’ Asia and Middle
East Economic Growth Best Practices (AMEG)
Q. Regional turmoil makes
this a challenging time to implement a reform project in the Middle
East and North Africa. In a changing Middle East landscape, how
does your work on tax reform fit into helping...
Posted on June 4, 2015 by
Consortium on Governmental Financial Management (ICGFM)
convening this week in Miami, Florida, with the shared interest of
improving public financial management in their respective
countries. To kick off the conference
Financial Management Specialist Svetlana Klimenko from the World
Bank highlighted the importance of public financial management
within the larger context of the Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs), and the soon-to-be established Sustainable...
Posted on May 29, 2015 by
In this photo, the owner of a small business in Ucayali, Peru,
works with an employee to create a product using seeds from the
Amazon rainforest. The business, Pro Mujer Oriente, employs 54
women to make handicrafts using tree materials. The
Peru Environmental Management and Forest Governance Support
, or Peru Bosques Project, supported Pro Mujer Oriente
to establish partnerships by participating in national trade fairs
and to improve the appearance of its products. With...