In the Thick of It: Tackling the 'Technical' Side of Good Governance

Issue: Training
Country: International
Facebook logoTwitter logo

With each day of the advanced course, there is more to tackle and the topics get even more technical. It’s day four, and the participants have been asked to carry out a sensitivity analysis that takes into account four variables: inflation, the amount of debt, output prices and the discount rate. To you and me, this means changing some variables and noting how this affects the bottom line. They must then put the results on a graph that illustrates whether government take from a specific project increases or decreases as each variable grows or shrinks.

I am curious to get a reaction from the group to see how they feel about the complex nature of the course so far. How are they faring?

As we break for lunch, I sit down with a few participants: The first, Vladimir Gil, is a professor and researcher at Catholic University of Peru and Pacific University.

“The pace of the course is very fast and there is a lot to grapple with in a short space of time,” said Gil. “I for one would benefit from a glossary of terms on the course intranet – for us to refer to periodically.”

The advanced course was created to build upon our regional hubs, two-week courses held in Africa, Latin America and Eurasia that focus on the fundamentals of good governance and provide baseline analytical skills for fiscal regimes, revenue management policies, contracts and legislation. Many participants here are graduates of our hubs, but, for some, this material is new –and it can be overwhelming. Participants will be given assignments to do over the next two months, and will have an opportunity to revisit this material at a slower pace. They will return in March for the second half of the course with any questions or challenges they may have encountered. They will also have the services of a junior scholar (Ph.D candidate at the CEU) and RWI’s Matthew Genasci (the course convener) who will provide support remotely to ensure that everyone is confident with the content. Duke University Professor Robert Conrad, one of the course instructors, also generously invited and encouraged participants to reach out to him for one-on-one support.

“I have done some tax work in the past, but it was not nearly as technical as this,” said Paula Zuluaga Borrero, the Decentralization and Territorial Management Consultant for the Ministry of Interior of Colombia, and a researcher at the National University of Colombia. “I find the content very useful even though I don’t do negotiations on behalf of the ministry. However, I do work with local governments, and I need to understand how these things work as I handle the management of royalties and transfers from the central government.”

As we leave the room for a much-needed break, we agree that we are on the right track, even if it will take participants a little time to grasp all they have learned these last few days. Tomorrow, we will do a negotiation simulation exercise that will demonstrate the interaction of the different fiscal instruments – and gain insight into the negotiation process undertaken by governments and companies.

Angela Mugore is RWI Senior Capacity Development Program Officer.

Post new comment