In 2013 the Norwegian government organisation NORAD (Norwegian Agency for Development) started a project with Somalia, which combines the goals of development policies with anticorruption techniques in order to ensure sustainability in governance and development. The BBC quoted the Oslo newspaper The Local on the implementation of this technique¹ two days after they published the article on this issue by the British journalist Richard Orange². According to these articles, the government workers are registered with their biometric data in order to ensure a functioning payroll and prevent corruption and misuse. The first report came from the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, which published an article by its journalist Lars Inge Staveland on September 8, 2013³
In order to find out more we consulted the data base of NORAD, the Norwegian Agency for Development. The microdata in question show three posts with the involvement of the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers that have as their objective the following4:
To ensure good management of the Special Financing Facility for Somalia (SFF), and increase capacity in the Somalia Ministry of Finance Expected results:
- 1. Operational SFF systems and procedures
- 2. Capacity in Financial Management Unit (FMU) and Temporary Implementation Unit (TIU) increased
- 3. Verification and certification of payment requests
- 4. Monitoring and reporting
These payments are grossing in 2013 and 2014 at USD $2,668,462.73 according to NORAD. Additional posts can be found in the database that include the cooperation with other consulting firms, NGOs and government departments in both recipient as well as donor country. These financial activities focused on “Public Finance Management” with the goal of good governance gross at USD $21,211,676.30.
What is interesting about this approach however is not the cooperation with finance or consulting firms, but the attempt to prevent a misuse of the money transferred. The activities by PricewaterhouseCoopers involved, according to BBC and Aftenposten, the payment of government salaries. After having contacted PwC we were informed that these activities have been taken over by the Oslo based company Abyrint a few years ago. Abyrint has not yet replied to the request for information, but the website contains information on their work.
This includes guides on how to build “payroll systems for governments in fragile and conflict-affected states”5. It is however not clear how much it costs NORAD to outsource the task to partners such as PwC or Abyrint.
The question “Why is this important?” remains unanswered and I will try to give an answer to that. Development aid is often criticised for being ineffective or having the flaw of providing corrupt regimes with funds. When the approach described above functions in the way it was intended by NORAD then one source of corruption, opacity at the recipient side, can be avoided and thus improve the effectiveness of development. A well-functioning pay roll system in the recipient state can potentially fulfil this task. On a final note, it is important to mention that transparency by NORAD facilitated this research and shows that it is a crucial part of good governance.
Anti Corruption International is always interested in projects of governments, NGOs and companies that aim to tackle and prevent corruption. In order to report to you on these issues we get in contact with these actors and try to shine a light on the process and present the matter in an understandable way. If you are interested in further research you can contact us or consult the sources named for this commentary. We are currently also working on a piece on the German approach to combine development aid and anti-corruption work.
1 BBC Monitoring, “Somalia: Civil Servants get Norwegian cash”, accessed February 8, 2017. URL:
2 Richard Orange, The Local, “Norway pays Somalia’s government salaries”, accessed February 8, 2017. URL:
3 Lars Inge Staveland, Aftenposten, “Somaliske statsansatte får lønn – Norge betaler“, accessed February 8,
4 Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, “Access to microdata”, accessed on February 9, 2017. URL:
5 Abyrint, “ The guide to building payroll systems for governments in fragile and conflict-affected states”,
accessed February 9, 2017. URL: http://www.abyrint.com/the-guide-for-building-payroll-systems-forgovernments-in-fragile-and-conflict-affected-states/