A sector-oriented ‘silo’ approach to development financing characterises much of the current discourse. International spending targets have been set for the key sectors central to social and economic development, namely: social protection, health, education, water and sanitation, agriculture and infrastructure. However, this silo approach can isolate decisions regarding targets and resource allocations in these individual sectors from the overall fiscal picture – making targets inconsistent with realistic or coherent budgeting.
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) has reviewed government expenditure and the feasibility of meeting sectoral spending targets in the six key sectors identified above in five low-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The findings provide a range of insights into sector targets and affordability, the implications of sectoral targets for good public finance management and the current donor approach to development financing.