Tetra Tech worked with the Government of Mali, subnational governments, and civil society to advance efforts to decentralize government authority and resources.

Mali’s political environment is characterized by a lack of capacity and accountability; poor intergovernmental coordination; weak communication between national and subnational governments and civil society; and gender inequality and gaps in access. To overcome these challenges, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funded the Mali Sub-National Governance Project (SNGP) to advance Mali’s decentralization process by creating and institutionalizing effective financial and asset management procedures, containing corruption and improving overall operational efficiency in the management of Mali’s financial resources between Bamako and the administrative regions. The project aimed to ensure that public funds intended for decentralized services were delivered effectively and transparently. The five-year SNGP built on progress from earlier projects implemented by Tetra Tech, the Shared Governance Program (PGP) and PGP2. It covered all the administrative regions of Mali and several central government institutions.

Mali SNGP had three major interrelated components, with cross-cutting emphasis and implementation of gender integration throughout:

  • Component 1: Strengthen national and regional public financial management (PFM) systems
  • Component 2: Improve coordination and communication between national and subnational governments and civil society
  • Component 3: Improve the capacity of the Contrôle Général des Services Publics (General Control of Public Services) to conduct performance audits that meet international standards of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), and to monitor public spending and service delivery at national and subnational levels

Public Financial Management (PFM) is a catalyzing theme for the SNGP. Tetra Tech focused on improving the ability of regional and district level governments in Mali to mobilize their revenue and piloted scalable approaches to releasing available funds for local budgets and increasing locally sourced revenue. Cash flows from the central government continued to be substantially less than stated goals, forcing regional governments to seek alternative forms of revenue mobilization.

The property tax system in Mali generates only a fraction of its potential income. SNGP analyzed the system’s inefficiencies, drawing on regional comparisons, previous inputs in the sector in Mali, and international best practices. Our team provided recommendations for improving revenues and developed a detailed plan for pilot activities to increase revenues.

In 2018, Mali committed to adopting program-based budgeting to comply with international standards for more efficient and transparent PFM, following the directives of the WAEMU. Tetra Tech trained auditors of the Mali Supreme Audit Institution on audit scoping, design, and report writing; evidence collection; and quality control .

SNGP activities increased citizen access to transparent budgetary information and worked toward key objectives to:

  • Make government budget data more easily available to the public
  • Encourage local governments to open budget planning to the public and encourage citizens to participate in that process
  • Encourage citizens to pay their taxes to fund the services they need
  • Support tax reforms and efficient alternatives for local and domestic revenue and resource mobilization and generation
  • Encourage the Government of Mali to fund regional governments as promised

SNGP activities improved internal audit and control systems and used information communication technology tools to improve municipality financial management. In addition, they enhanced financial self-reliance through increased local revenue mobilization, more consistent data-driven and predictable transfers from central government, enhanced capital investments, and greater private sector investment. SNGP built the capacity of Malian institutions and individuals to develop their own solutions to the country’s decentralization challenges.