News

17 January 2018

OGP in the News - Week of January 8, 2018

A weekly round-up of Open Government Partnership (OGP) media coverage around the world. Want to receive OGP in the News directly in your email inbox? Subscribe here.

Covering everything from anti-corruption to access to information to open data, this week’s OGP media coverage came overwhelmingly out of Africa with additional updates out of Italy, the city of Austin, and more.

Chief Executive Officer of the Organization Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), Wayne Duvenage, reviewed South Africa’s ongoing fight against corruption in an opinion piece for national media outlet News24. Drawing on “international research,” the author identified several key ingredients to successful anti-corruption efforts, including political will, change in political leadership, and a convincing argument linking anti-corruption to economic growth. He used the anti-corruption journey of Afghanistan as a source of inspiration, noting that it has “has numerous similarities to South Africa’s potential journey going forward.” Among the commendable anti-corruption initiatives Afghanistan has implemented in recent years, the author highlighted the country’s participation in OGP, international assistance in exposing “money corruption flows,” and the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Justice Centre (ACJC), among others.     

The fight against corruption and good governance were also newsworthy themes in Côte d’Ivoire. Abidjan.net covered a meeting between Ivorian Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly and the president of the High Authority for Good Governance (HABG), N’Golo Fatogoma Coulibaly. Reaffirming the government’s commitment to improving governance in Côte d’Ivoire, the Prime Minister said, “Good governance is one of the principles driving implementation of our agenda across all socio-economic development sectors and in all corners of Ivorian society.” According to the article, Prime Minister Gon Coulibaly is leveraging international support for anti-corruption efforts via continued participation in initiatives such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption, OGP, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).     

Elsewhere in Africa, Ghanaian citizens are calling on the government to pass a long-pending Right to Information (RTI) Bill, which, noted GhanaWeb, has been one of the country’s OGP commitments since joining the Partnership in 2011. Continued inaction from the government on this matter prompted private legal practitioner, Ace Ankomah, to call both of Ghana’s leading political parties—the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress (NDC)— “cowards.” In response, Ghana’s Upper East Regional Minister, Rockson Ayine Bukari, reaffirmed the government’s commitment to passing the RTI Bill.    

In new OGP country of Kyrgyz Republic, a number of department and ministry heads attended a meeting to discuss implementing an open data policy. Chairing the meeting, Gulnura Toralieva, head of the country’s open data policy development working group, explained that the “implementation of an open data policy is the first priority on the road to digital transformation and transition to e-government.” She added that the Kyrgyz Republic’s recent joining of OGP “reinforces our determination to achieve quality results both in the field of open data, and in providing transparent public procurement and public services that are available electronically.”    

On to Europe, Italy’s “Open Government Week” is fast approaching. Publicized by the
National Association of Italian Municipalities, the event will take place from February 5-9 with open government seminars, hackathons, public debates, and more organized in cities throughout Italy. Coinciding with the development of the country’s third OGP National Action Plan (NAP), the Department of Public Administration has invited citizens to spread word of the event using the #SAA2018 hashtag.          

Time traveling back to 2017, we revisit reflections on the city of Austin’s “Open Government Showcase,” which took place in December. Aimed primarily at raising awareness about the city’s OGP work (Austin is one of the pioneers of the OGP Local Program), the workshop welcomed over 100 attendees, ranging from Austin’s Mayor Pro Tempore to community groups and city staff. The workshop also integrated various tools and activities to maximize civic participation, and the city’s Office of Innovation continues to invite public feedback via online comments.  

Last but not least, does the new year have you already feeling a bit nostalgic? Check out OGP’s January newsletter for #opengov insights on both the past and the future.      

Of course, we can’t catch everything in our news round-ups, so if you see we’ve missed something or think a particular story ought to be featured, please send it to jacqueline.mcgraw@opengovpartnership.org.