Categorized | Features, General

De Ole Dawg – Part 3: Contribution

How can we “fix” our Leaky Tyre Economy?

BRADES, Montserrat, Oct 7, 2015 – Last time, we saw how, for many years, Montserrat’s economy has acted like a car with a leaky tyre. Pump it up with some new money, and there is some growth. But as soon as the stimulus goes away, pfft, it goes flat again; often at a most inconvenient moment.lion and tyres

The challenge is to fix it while dealing with the prowling lions, and it was suggested that over the next year or so, we need to:

  • identify and carry out agreed “safe hands” good governance reforms
  • develop an agreed list of “parallel priority,” economy- transforming “catalytic” investments (e.g., the sea port, geothermal energy, the new capital town, etc.)
  • set up a 10 – 20 year time-line for these key projects (that’s how long it took last time – from the 1960’s – 80’s . . .)
  • agree with DFID on a programme-based project cycle management framework to carry out and oversee the group of “catalytic” projects
  • put the agreements in black and white, through a development partnership MoU with DFID
  • establish joint GoM-DFID oversight, to keep things on track and on timeBut, why are we talking about complicated things like “programmes,” groups of “priority” “catalytic” projects and “project cycle management frameworks”? Can’t we just keep everything nice and simple?Einstein gives us a clue: everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler than that.And, the UK’s International Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI) – which in July 2013 issued a “pull up your socks” review on aid impact in Montserrat – tells us why we need to kick things up a notch or two, in its June 2015 Report on DFID’s approach to delivering impact:In difficult environments, DFID may need to set more modest objectives and plan its results over a 15 to 20  year  period.  Its  country  strategies  should  give  more attention to long-term pathways out of fragility and how to get  the  right  balance  of  risk  and  return  across  the portfolio.  Conversely,  when  DFID  is  working  in environments  that  are  more  conducive  to  development, its objectives can be more ambitious . . . .  Good,  impactful programming is flexible in pursuit of its goals . . . . We have been concerned to find that DFID is relatively weak at ensuring portfolio coherence, in large part because its results management tools are focussed at the individual programme level . . .For twenty years now Montserrat has been fighting for survival in the face of a disaster that has cost us half our economy, a big slice of our infrastructure and two-thirds of our population who were forced to seek refuge overseas. (No, contrary to the suggestion in the 2012 FCO MoU para. 2.1, those who left were not economic migrants seeking “greener pastures.”)Montserrat is a definite case of a difficult aid/development environment, but one with strong potential for development. As ICAI suggests, we need a 15 – 20 year strategic programme of action that brings together a group of agreed “catalytic” projects to transform a fragile “leaky tyre” economy, to address “safe hands” good governance issues and to begin to resolve the many social, cultural and welfare challenges imposed by twenty years of disaster.

    Pivotal to doing this successfully is the creation of an agreed programme-based project cycle management (PbPCM) framework, similar to what the European Union uses:program

     

     

    The idea here, is comparable to how a hand works. One finger alone cannot do a lot, but group them in a team as part of a hand and we can hold a pencil, a hammer, a nail, and more to get the house built. Just so, a PbPCM framework can set up the right cluster of projects working together on the right timeline to deliver the desired future Montserrat needs. (If you want to see a regional example, google “GEPROP, Cuba.” And yes, that’s 250 priority projects in Cuba.)

    With the organisational framework in hand, we can

    • identify and develop the right set of “parallel priority” “catalytic” projects,
    • formulate them in an agreed standard format that answers the key questions,
    • carry out fair and balanced appraisals, and
    • make sound decisions on time-line and funding. Then – instead of “going back to the drawing board” over and over again – we can move on to implementing, monitoring and control to keep things on track, on time. We will also need a joint GoM-DFID oversight commission that involves the private sector and civil society, with designated expediters specifically accountable to keep things moving to time. And there should by ongoing evaluation and audit processes. Also, as each project comes to its completion, there should be a further evaluation that draws lessons to be learned and makes recommendations for onward action of the programme.As well, once an agreed 15 – 20 year strategic time-line for our programme of action is put in place, the “burden of proof” will shift drastically. Instead of, why should we go ahead with spending so much of our scarce money on Project X, the key question now becomes, why do you want to delay or cripple the Montserrat development programme by road-blocking or ruthlessly cutting X, one of the Economy-transforming “catalytic” projects?That’s a huge difference, and a difference that – given delay after delay and cut-down after cut-down for twenty years – is well worth fighting for.Again, we have the St Helena £ 250 million airport project as a yardstick, we have means and opportunity. So, if not now, then when – and why?
ENDS –

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

How can we “fix” our Leaky Tyre Economy?

BRADES, Montserrat, Oct 7, 2015 – Last time, we saw how, for many years, Montserrat’s economy has acted like a car with a leaky tyre. Pump it up with some new money, and there is some growth. But as soon as the stimulus goes away, pfft, it goes flat again; often at a most inconvenient moment.lion and tyres

The challenge is to fix it while dealing with the prowling lions, and it was suggested that over the next year or so, we need to:

ENDS –