OGP in the News – Week of October 24, 2016

A series providing a round-up of media attention received by the Open Government Partnership throughout the world.

Following a series of meetings held on October 24 in Kaduna, Nigeria between members of OGP’s Support Unit and high-level ministers and members of civil society, Nigeria was at the center of this week’s OGP press coverage.

Perhaps most newsworthy of all, The Nation, along with several other Nigerian news sources and the USA’s World News Report, featured Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami’s announcement that President Muhammadu Buhari will sign an executive order on “transparency and efficiency.” According to an article in The Nation, the selection of Kaduna as the hosting city of the OGP retreat was a symbolic one intended to commend the Kaduna State Governor Rafir El-Rufai’s “significant efforts in engaging with the citizens and in the publication of Budget information as well as his desire to fast track the development of open government partnership principles.” The Punch covered one of the retreat meetings during which Malami highlighted the potential of openness in advancing Nigeria’s development efforts: “It is a journey that will take us from transparency and openness to national prosperity.” In another article, The Punch quoted the chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Ibrahim Magu defending the government’s recent arrests of people suspected of corruption.

In other news from Africa, AllAfrica.com and South Africa’s business news site Fin24 reported that the South African National Treasury plans to launch a budget data portal called “Municipal Money” in an effort to increase civic engagement and fulfill OGP commitments. Paris-based francophone weekly Jeune Afrique featured an article highlighting the conspicuously few Francophone African countries represented in OGP – as of now, only Tunisia and Côte d’Ivoire are members. However, the article also pointed out that many civil society leaders from Francophone Africa are attending the Summit in December, while Summit coordinator Pauline Carmona said that one of France’s goals as new OGP co-chair is to see more Francophone African countries join the initiative.  

In Europe, meanwhile, Le Monde published an article, which was then picked up by France3, clarifying the nature of the open government “tool box” that will be showcased at OGP’s Global Summit. While the open data taskforce Etalab and its civic tech collaborators (Democracy OS, Cap Collectif, etc.) originally conceived a free online consultation tool, they are now working to build a centralized platform of open government solutions. In keeping with a democratic and transparent approach, the platform uses open-source software and will welcome continuous improvements and modifications by its users.

In Mexico, the President of the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI), Xiemena Puente, penned an op-ed that appeared in the widely-circulated El Universal. Discussing the ways in which Mexico can better uphold OGP’s principles of open government, Puente said that the commitments in the country’s most recent 2016-2018 National Action Plan (NAP) must be implemented across all 34 of Mexico’s national legislatures by 2018. She also emphasized the importance of civic education and the use of simple, universal language when presenting government information in order to “bridge the gap between the ruler and the ruled.” Meanwhile, a Huffington Post blog applauded the municipality of Sao Paulo—a participant of OGP’s subnational pilot program—for its innovative use of technology, including a variety of apps (Take Vista, At Hand, Urban Vista), in improving urban service delivery. The article explained how OGP can help the city’s current administration: “[I]mproving the interaction with citizens and among professionals is not always easy. The OGP will thus be an important support in maintaining this effort.”

English-language Sri Lankan news source The Island published an opinion piece by Sri Lanka’s Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Harim Peiris, commending the country for releasing its first ever OGP NAP. Also in Asia, a Chinese news source hailed OGP as a “leader in the open data movement” in an article about the promising impact of open data on urban development.

And last but not least, the same article from Jeune Afrique quoted above offered a new OGP metaphor that might just resonate with all of you techies (or your techie friends): “Open government is like open-source code: everyone can test, modify and improve it.”  

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.


Filed Under: OGP News