AND THIS IS WHAT WE LIKE TO DO NOW
MORE ABOUT WHAT WE DO
AFI is a start-up which aims to harness existing data and new cost-effective technology to deliver better fiscal intelligence. Every country in the world faces the challenge of making their scarce public resources deliver the best outcomes for their people. For developing countries’ this task is made harder by lower capacity and reliance on systems and technology that do not meet their needs. The general remedy for this is usually expensive long-term international Technical Assistance (TA), but the results are poor and often not cost-effective. Most firms in this market are not looking to be innovative treating low capacity as a fixed constraint. This innovation gap creates space for AFI to use what we have learned on the ground over 20 years combined with new technology to deliver better outcomes and value for money for both donors and clients.
AFI is founded on the belief that we can significantly increase our clients capabilities to build better systems for government in most if not all countries around the world, but especially in poorer, less developed economies. In these countries information quality is poor, data is inconsistent, and weak systems make using evidence as a basis for policy extremely difficult, if not next to impossible. AI applied to fiscal policy can help reduce silos and unlock the power of a government’s own data, helping policy makers to learn from their experiences and to build demand for evidence-based policy making.
The founders of AFI bring extensive experience of analysing fiscal and team performance for governments around the world. The founders have been helping governments over two decades to improve fiscal performance using innovation to help drive change, and applying knowledge and expertise to solve intractable problems. Too often developing countries are told reforms are too complex and systems need to be simple. We believe that to be wrong and dangerous thinking. We think the experience and knowledge of decades of international practice and incredible technological advances are a golden opportunity for developing countries to be the agents of their own reform destiny, not beholden to outdated TA paradigms that do not deliver real value and sustainable results. AFI’s products and services are split into two categories: those focussed on specific countries, governments, or reformers, and those that are cross-cutting in nature.
OUR TECHNOLOGIES AND PLANNED INVESTMENTS
When we partner with a government or an institution AFI provides three key approaches that are unique.
Diagnostics of Fiscal Performance in Multiple Dimensions
Products include: Development and Fiduciary Risk Analytics (DFRA), Political Will Analysis (PWA); Corruption Risk Assessment (CRA) and Fiscal Risk Assessments in Public Private Partnerships (FRA-PPP)
This is an area of international development assistance dominated by mechanical approaches that typically fail to bridge the gap between problems and solutions, and tends to drive perverse incentives. AFI has developed detailed frameworks and analytical tools for DFRAs and is looking to invest some modest capital in refining some tools over the short to medium term. There is potential for these analytical frameworks and tools to be used more widely by clients and competitors expanding the reach of AFI over time.
Here are examples of a couple of papers we're working on. The first one uses publicly available data to help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of donor and government resource allocations: Sector Absorptive Capacity and Sectoral Donor Dependency Indicators
The second one argues for a revocable debt relief as a new aid instrument to help achieve achieve reforms that last the test of time:
Fiscal Performance Improvement Implementation
Products include: Fiscal Performance Improvement Strategy (FPIS) development and consensus building; Fiscal Performance Improvement Plans (FPIP) and Team-Based Performance Management (TBPM)
This is a key operational gap, with most reform programs able to identify what they want to do, but not how. More standard approaches have often been expensive and have largely failed to address seemingly intractable problems where AFI leadership has been able to make quantifiable progress. AFI has prototype systems and processes ready for both FPIP and TBPM and will be looking to invest capital in developing ready to deploy software and systems solutions in the next year.
Artificial Fiscal Intelligence
Products include: Performance and Policy-Based Budget Intelligence (PPBI) solutions, Fiscal Performance Benchmarking (FPB), Automated Economic Evaluations (AEE), and Smart Fiscal Transfer (SFT) systems
This is a global gap, where analytical tools are only available by building them from scratch to meet individual needs. They typically require high levels of capacity and expertise, meaning they create a dependency on international technical assistance. AFI team members have developed budget systems around the world. We are ready to develop a more sophisticated system that employs open source software and modern low-cost technology to make it make easy to use in wide variety of settings.
Here's an example of a fiscal intelligence tool we developed, which draws on public data and creates some new Sector Absorptive Capacity Analytics and Donor Dependency Indicators: Sectoral Absorptive Capacity - Artificial Fiscal Intelligence
Here's another example of a fiscal intelligence model:
Revocable Debt Relief WP - Artificial Fiscal Intelligence, which was developed for the Revocable Debt Relief Lending Instruments paper.