Parliamentary Oversight in Francophone Countries

The aim of this project was to address the scarcity of research on parliamentary oversight in Francophone countries.

It is widely recognized that corruption hinders development. Over the past decade, a growing body of research has demonstrated that parliamentary oversight is an important determinant of corruption. More specifically, parliamentary oversight is seen as an important component in the reduction of corruption and the promotion good governance, which in turn boosts development. This view is based on a simple proposition: if parliaments can scrutinize executive government activity, then governance will be improved. Furthermore, since financial oversight is a cornerstone of accountability, effective parliamentary oversight of government spending is a crucial component of governance. 

These propositions have been well tested in developing countries with Anglophone (or ‘Westminster’) parliamentary forms of government and have been translated into practical guidance for parliamentarians. By sharp contrast, little research has been undertaken on how parliamentary oversight is carried out in Francophone countries.  As a result, there are few scholarly articles on the ‘Francophone’ approach to parliamentary oversight. Furthermore, because Francophone parliaments lack documentation of good practice and specific curricula to improve parliamentary oversight relevant to their system, it is not surprising that Francophone countries generally score poorly on global indices of good governance.

This challenge linked scholars from McGill University and Université Laval to work on parliamentary oversight issues. It also connected universities with parliamentary practitioner organizations and networks, including the World Bank Institute (WBI), the Parliamentary Centre, and Association des secrétaires généraux des parlements francophones (ASGPF). The partnership catalyzed the different strengths of these organizations and brought together anglophone and francophone parliamentary research experience and perspectives to build upon and extend recent applied research in mainly Anglophone countries to Francophone countries.

(SSHRC grant # 890-2011-0122)        

Principal Outputs

“Le contrôle parlementaire des finances publiques dans les pays de la Francophonie” (eds. Louis Imbeau and Rick Stapenhurst), Quebec: Laval University Press, 2019 

“Contemporary Developments in Parliamentary Oversight in Francophone Countries” (eds. Rick Stapenhurst and Louis Imbeau) Ottawa: Canadian Audit and Accountability Foundation, 2017 

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