Secrecy is getting in the way of effective government
By Mo Ibrahim
October 31, 2013 5:00 pm
We have seen a global financial crisis triggered by bad corporate governance and increasing political unrest, from Tunisia to the Occupy movements, protesting against poor political governance. Public confidence in government has been eroded, leading to growing global demands from civil society for greater accountability. Citizens are increasingly demanding to know what is happening around them and are no longer willing to be taken for granted.
For citizens to become fully engaged in holding their leadership to account, accurate information is required to see where action is needed, to measure the results of policies and programmes, to build support for courageous decisions and to consolidate political legitimacy.
Over the past decade, my foundation has attempted to do exactly this through the Ibrahim Index of African Governance , a database of almost 90,000 data points that is available for citizens, governments, institutions and business to assess exactly how well governments are performing. However, we are reliant on partners to collect the data and are the first to acknowledge where gaps exist – in key areas of poverty, equity, gender and unemployment.
Subsequently, in the past two years, I have been involved in the Open Government Partnership , an entirely new multilateral organisation that focuses on exactly this politically charged issue – how to inject more transparency and accountability into national governance.
Rather than relying on civil society to collect data, we are working to open up access to government data. Remarkably, governments are beginning to embrace the idea that nothing enhances democracy more than giving voice and information to everybody in the country. Why not open their books if they have nothing to hide?… MORE