These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
"The country that gave the world two groundbreaking innovations in technology: M-Pesa, a mobile banking system, and Ushahidi, a platform for crowdsourcing information during disasters, is now taking its technological talents to new heights. The East African nation of Kenya has just started construction on a 5,000-acres piece of land in Konza, about 60km south of Nairobi, to turn the savannah area into ‘the most modern city in Africa’.
Using the same company that designed Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in New York City, SHoP Architects, Kenyan authorities want to transform Nairobi’s Konza City into Africa’s technology hub, dubbed Silicon Savannah, similar to California’s Silicon Valley. The designers told the UK’s Financial Times that ‘the scale of the project compares with creating another Manhattan, central London or inner-city Beijing.’" READ MORE
Open Gov Partnership
OGP Rules of the Game
"I worry that civil society advocates working on Open Government Partnership are making a tactical mistake.
There has been a lot of activity – rightly – around which OGP countries should be ‘in or out’. There were discussions in the past year around South Africa’s media bill (the so called ‘secrecy bill’) and whether it might impact the country’s OGP eligibility. Most recently the discussion has centered on Russia’s decision to ‘postpone’ its entry into OGP. Many had informally questioned whether Russia should have been eligible in the first place.
Whilst important, such a strong focus on eligibility misunderstands the nature of the Partnership. The Open Government Partnership is not a ‘good performers’ club’. If it was, it would entail setting a high bar for entry and focusing civil society attention on getting new countries in to meet the entry standard and monitoring those that fall behind with a view to expelling them. OGP is different. It purposefully sets a low bar for entry and then seeks to encourage countries in a ‘race to the top’ by rewarding excellence and penalizing backsliding or inaction. Here is where as a community we could do a lot more to ensure OGP succeeds in these precious formative years." READ MORE
10 Least Corrupt African Countries
"Vision of Humanity released its second annual Positive Peace Index (PPI) this year. The PPI measures the strength of the attitudes, institutions, and structures of 126 nations to determine their capacity to create and maintain a peaceful society." READ MORE
"As open government gains traction in the international agenda, it is increasingly common to come across statements that assume a causal relationship in which transparency leads to trust in government. But to what extent are claims that transparency leads to trust backed up by evidence?
Judging from some recent publications on the subject, such a relationship is not as straightforward as advocates would like. In fact, in a number of cases, the evidence points in another direction: that is, transparency may ultimately decrease trust." READ MORE
The Deadliest Countries for Journalists
"From 1992 to May of 2013, 985 journalists were murdered around the world. While pursuing critical but often controversial issues in oppressive landscapes that utilized censorship and control to muffle freedom of press and the right to bear witness, journalists ranging from reporters to photographers have been killed. Where has it been most dangerous for media workers to perform their jobs? And are their killers being brought to justice?" READ MORE
"My colleagues and I at QCRI are spearheading a new experimental Research and Development (R&D) project with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) team in Cairo, Egypt. Colleagues at Harvard University, MIT and UC Berkeley have also joined the R&D efforts. The research question: can an analysis of Twitter traffic in Egypt tell us anything about changes in unemployment and poverty levels? This question was formulated with UNDP’s Cairo-based Team during several conversations I had with them over the past 6 months." READ MORE