President Kikwete at OGP Summit in Brazil, April 2012. Photo from ikulublog.com
Tanzania has made strong statements about the Open Government Partnership (OGP). It has also promised to deliver. When President Kikwete spoke at the OGP Summit in Brazil in April 2012, he said:
“I promise that we will do our best to live up to the expectations of this partnership to promote transparency and accountability of our government to the people of Tanzania. I wish to reaffirm that our political will to achieve the OGP goals will not falter because open government is at the heart of the contract between state and citizens”
But is Tanzania is living up to these bold words? The sceptics out there are not so sure. Continue reading →
In particular, this post will mostly look at what the report says about Tanzania. But first, some more detail on the report as a whole.
The report details aid flows from traditional donors, of course, but also goes much further – looking at private investment, loans, remittances, aid spending by NGOs and non-traditional donors, for example. And as the chart below shows, these other sources of funds now dwarf aid (official development assistance, or ODA).
This blog has long argued that the major challenges in the water sector are more political than technical. We have also highlighted the fact that the political nature of the challenges has not been matched by political attention. Water supply was largely ignored in the 2010 election campaigns, for example, not featuring in the major campaign promises of any of the big three parties’ presidential candidates nor gaining much attention in election media coverage (here and here).
Now, four separate developments in the past few weeks point to a change in the politics of water supply in Tanzania. So what are the new developments, and what is the change that they point to? Continue reading →
I spent two days last week at the annual Joint Water Sector Review meeting – the so-called “highlight” of the annual calendar of “dialogue”. This was the sixth such meeting to be held – and I have the “distinction” of having attended all of them. But as you can probably guess from the profusion of “inverted commas” in this paragraph, I’m having serious doubts about the whole exercise. Before I come to that, though, let me give you some background.
Around 250 people from the Ministry of Water, other related government ministries and agencies, the “development partners” and civil society all attended, in the workshop factory that is Ubungo Plaza. All the main stakeholders were there. Apart from water consumers that is, who are only represented in the sense that everyone consumes water. And those consumers (or perhaps I should call them citizens) weren’t represented by their official representatives either – no MPs or local councillors attend, with the exception of the Ministers officiating at the formal opening and closing sessions. We civil society folks had to take on that role. Continue reading →
This has got me thinking. What actions could the government take that would have a positive impact on open government immediately? I’ve come up with some options, and would love to know what you think. Continue reading →
A lot of people have been pushing recently at the link between mapping and accountability. Whether it’s detailed local maps of reported crime in the UK or East Africa’s own Ushahidi platform, the internet and mobile phones are enabling new map-based ways of collecting, visualising and sharing information that can potentially be used to hold decision makers to account.
The most recent example comes from the World Bank. They recently published their Mapping for Results site, which presents (on a map, of course) details of 1250 current World Bank-financed projects in over 16,000 locations in 79 countries. Each location has a marker that can be clicked to reveal more details of the project and its location. Continue reading →
The Ministry of Water had an important visitor last week – President Jakaya Kikwete himself. Like any good visitor, he came bearing gifts, pretty impressive ones at that. Reports differ on the precise amount promised, but whether it’s “between 500 and 700 billion shillings” (The Citizen) or a straight “700 billion” (The Guardian), this is serious money. The Ministry’s budget for the current financial year is “only” 300 billion, itself a major increase compared to just a few years earlier.