Edited by Trevor Hopper, Mathew Tsamenyi, Shahzad Uddin and Danture Wickramasinghe
Chapter 11: Government Accounting in the Global South: The Design, Implementation and Use of Global Solutions for Local Needs
Andy Wynne and Stewart Lawrence 1. INTRODUCTION This chapter examines the impact of globalized accounting and economic reforms on the public sectors of the Global South, focusing particularly on the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Over the last three decades, people living in these countries have experienced debt crises, civil wars, coups and, on top of all that, externally imposed neoliberal economic reforms. Accounting has been an integral part of those imposed ‘reforms’. International creditor institutions and donor agencies have promoted new public management (NPM) reforms in all developing countries (Ayeni, 2002). The central features of NPM have been said to include: a shift in emphasis from process accountability (input controls and bureaucratic procedures, rules and standards) to accountability for results (quantifiable outcomes, measures and performance targets); and devolution of management control, coupled with the development of improved reporting, monitoring and accountability mechanisms (Awio, Lawrence and Northcott, 2007). The claimed benefits of such reforms include improvements in efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the public sector. Universally, the reforms were expected to engender greater public service responsiveness and increased choice of providers of services, private as well as public (Olson, Guthrie and Humphrey, 1998). However, we argue that the results indicate that the global reforms have not necessarily met the needs of the local populations who have had to endure them. After stripping away activities that could be privatized, the remaining core government services were the targets of better financial management. Two of the most frequently recommended tools of public financial management...
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