Monitoring and evaluation in developing countries: An African experience


This chapter reviews the literature on the monitoring and evaluation practices of two developing economies, i.e. Kenya and South Africa. The literature informs that while the field of M&E practice continues to grow and brings professionals together under specialized departments to operate, the institutional framework for M&E practice remains weak. Also, in an attempt to safeguard the foreign resource interest of the developed world and the emphasis on output, outcome, accountability and transparency of investments contributed to the rise in the demand for M&E in Africa. Lessons learnt from the review indicate that Kenya and South Africa have a well-structured M&E system, plans and processes for national, provincial and municipal infrastructure delivery with clearly stated M&E responsibilities. The regulatory, policy environment and support for M&E appear sufficient to give independence to institutions to effectively monitor and evaluate performance. Also, the South African Construction Industry Development Board (SACIDB) is well integrated with the national government-wide M&E structure and with the support of other constitutional bodies, exercises oversight responsibility to ensure the growth, development and sustenance of the South African construction industry. These are relevant for adoption and implementation by other developing nations.


This section of the study presents an understanding of M&E in developing countries with a focus on the Republic of Kenya and South Africa. The countries were selected based on the United Nations’ classification of economies with low per capita levels and which are less industrialized (World Economic Situation and Prospects, 2014). The purpose of this review is to understand the M&E practices in the context of other developing nations for lessons to be learnt and for the transfer of knowledge for the benefit of other cultural contexts.

Monitoring and evaluation in Africa

M&E in Africa dates back to as early as the 1990s and has seen a steady and fast growth on the continent (Basheka & Byamugisha, 2015). M&E has also

Monitoring and evaluation: African experience 137 evolved over the years as a field of practice, profession and academics. Basheka and Byamugisha (2015) aver that while the field of practice continues to grow and brings professionals together under specialized departments to operate, the institutional framework for M&E practice remains weak. Also, more than thirty national evaluation associations exist globally. However, before the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA) was established in 1999, the Ghana M&E Forum (GMEF) had long since been established in 1997, thereby becoming the first African national evaluation association to be established. It is believed that several factors contributed to the development of the AfrEA.

The rather fast growth of the evaluation association on the continent explains the need for and importance of evaluation (Mertens & Russon, 2000). Nonetheless, the influence of the developed world, particularly America, on Africa to adopt the M&E practice, particularly in governance, could only be an attempt to safeguard the foreign resources channelled into the governance of developing countries. This growth is evident in the over 500% increase in the numbers of national evaluation associations, with much of this growth occurring in developing countries between the years 1995 and 2000 (Basheka & Byamugisha, 2015). Also, due to the political recognition of the utilization of evaluation in governance and the emphasis on output and outcome, accountability and transparency, there was an increase in demand for M&E in Africa (Basheka & Byamugisha, 2015).

Evaluation is undertaken in all fields in Africa, particularly in all sectors of governance. Most government ministries and departments in Africa have established M&E units responsible for the M&E of policies, programmes and projects to ensure efficiency and accountability. The construction industry in Africa attracts heavy funding from governments and hence the need for M&E for efficiency and accountability of limited resources.


Kenya is an East African country and shares borders with Ethiopia to the north, Uganda to the west and Sudan to the north-west. To the east, Kenya shares a border with Somalia and the Indian Ocean towards the southeast (see Map 10.1). The Republic of Kenya is made up of 47 counties for devolution of governance and development and to ensure that development is sent to the doorstep of its citizens. Kenya is usually referred to as the economic hub as it serves as a host to some international corporations’ African headquarters and booming construction industry (Wanjira, 2016).

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