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M&E provides managers and decision-makers at all levels with unique, objective and credible information to aid in the various stages of the cycle, i.e. planning, policy and programme design, and budgeting. It supports managers in monitoring performance and serves as a ‘learning’ function by identifying adjustments that may be needed to policies or programmes. Finally, M&E reveals to what extent government programmes and policies have achieved their objectives, thus providing the evidence needed to ensure strong to parliament, civil society, donors, citizens and to the various government bodies, all of which can provide incentives to improve performance.

The use of M&E in the policy cycle imparts a certain discipline at all stages that may not have existed in the past. It also assumes that non-specialists know where and how to use M&E information and that reliable information will be made available in a useable form at a time when it is needed. These assumptions do not always hold true in many countries, particularly in the early stages of M&E system development.