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Governance

Hope and fear in transition

Caroline Freund's picture
Also available in: العربية
World Bank | Arne Hoel | 2011We’ve just hosted the Middle East and North Africa Forum bringing together international and regional experts to focus on the important topics of governance, employment and inclusive growth in this open moment for region. Fear and hope were the dominant emotions in this turbulent period.  Fear of the unknown, fear of repeating the mistakes of failed transitions, fear of continued unrest in some parts of the region. And, hope for a better future, a future built on dignity and inclusion, hope for peace and prosperity in the region. Few talked of a return to the compromises of the past.

The demand for elections and the supply of politicians: The structural economics of democracy

Will Stebbins's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
World Bank | Arne Hoel | 2012Successful democracies need more than elections, according to Professor Roger Myerson of the University of Chicago. They need a steady supply of politicians with good reputations for responsible leadership. While this may seem an obvious conclusion, the question of how politicians develop track records is a critical one. It is especially critical for societies in transition, with no tradition of competitive elections. In his opening remarks to the MENA Chief Economist Forum on Economic and Political Transitions, Professor Myerson looked beyond processes such as elections to the very structure of democratic systems and how they determine outcomes. 

How to survive the revolution and thrive … in the long run

Mariana Felicio's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
World Bank | Arne Hoel | 2012For citizens of the Arab world – and probably most especially young citizens – the post-revolution era has seemed a bit of a cold shower; the obstacles daunting; the heady moments of people power faded; and the question for some perhaps whether there even was a revolution. In this context it’s empowering to hear the voices of recent history from elsewhere in the world and fascinating among them is Dewi Fortuna Anwar from the Vice President’s Office in Indonesia. She is steeped in her country’s history of independence, democracy, and dictatorship.

Arab voices loud and clear

Dale Lautenbach's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
It’s so uplifting to walk into a room that’s crackling with energy. I was a little late for the opening session in Rabat today for a workshop focused on Supporting Citizen-State Engagement in the Arab World. That’s ok, I thought, forgiving myself a little too easily, it’ll take a bit of time to warm up. How wrong I was: some 90 people in the room from seven different countries across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – Egyptian, Jordanian, Lebanese, Moroccan, Tunisian, Palestinian and Yemeni teams. The debate was whipping around with everyone pitching in about whether this workshop should be open and transparent.

Morocco: Opening the door towards gradual and steady reform

Lida Bteddini's picture
Also available in: Français
Against the noise of citizens echoing their demands from the streets of Rabat, our discussions with Moroccan authorities in preparation of the Accountability and Transparency Development Policy Loan (DPL) were promising – both on the central and local level.  There is a strong will to deliver on governance reforms which respond to popular demands for change and an urge to produce strong and visible results in the short term.  This interest is also reinforced by an ambition to translate recent constitutional reforms into real change on the ground.  On Monday, Moroccans marked the one-year anniversary of the country’s own version of the Arab Spring uprisings. Thousands of citizens joined in Casablanca and Rabat, and a few more thousand across the country , to reaffirm demands for democratic change.

Quick win for government accountability

Caroline Freund's picture
Also available in: Français
In an attempt to improve government transparency and accountability, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti this week made his cabinet disclose their finances. The public was so curious that the government website crashed. Is this a sensible step towards better governance?  A recent paper on disclosure by politicians says yes. Djankov, La Porta, Lopez-de-Silanes, and Shleifer (2010) collect data on the rules and practices of financial and conflict disclosure by members of parliament in 175 countries.  They find that less than one third of countries make disclosures available to the public, and less than 15% of potentially useful information is presented. 

We Are Egypt: The movie

Will Stebbins's picture
Also available in: Français
Long before anyone was paying attention, Lillie Paquette was listening.  Her debut film, screened before a diverse audience of World Bank staff and guests, recounts the prologue to the Egyptian revolution. We Are Egypt: The Story Behind the Revolution follows opposition politicians and civil society groups over the course of the two years leading up to the mass uprising. With the benefit of hindsight, the ultimate conclusion in Tahrir Square appears inevitable, but for the men and women struggling for change it was a long process, with many setbacks.  Though the film ends before February 11, 2011 when former President Mubarak stepped down, and focuses on the painstaking work of organizing and building institutions, it is an engaging and valuable historical document.

Arab citizens demanding a seat at the virtual table

Amina Semlali's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
World Bank | Arne Hoel | 2011Development agencies, such as the World Bank, have often been criticized for not sufficiently listening to the people they are trying to help. For acting without first systematically assessing whether beneficiaries agree with the strategies produced and projects developed on their behalf. To address this, many World Bank teams now arrange in-country consultations with a broad range of people including civil society, young people, and government representatives, depending on the type of project.

All aboard! All aboard! transparency is on its way

Lydia Habhab's picture
Also available in: العربية

World Bank | Arne Hoel, 2011Francis Maude, Minister of the Cabinet in the United Kingdom, was at the World Bank recently talking about transparency in the UK. He said it best when he described the classic road of transparency: “Politicians think transparency is a great platform to run on for elections. Politicians think transparency is a great idea once elected because it gives them the opportunity to expose their predecessors. After about a year, transparency seems doesn’t seem like such a great idea anymore because it means politicians then have to expose themselves.”

Unbundling governance: what is the role of the World Bank?

Guenter Heidenhof's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
People often ask me what exactly the World Bank means when it uses the term “governance.” Many think the governance agenda is associated mainly with activities to fight fraud and corruption. That is true, but only partially. In our view, fraud and corruption are visible consequences – symptoms if you like – of breakdowns in government systems and institutions. Ideally, countries should have strong institutions that are responsive to citizens’ needs and deliver public services. Ideally, countries should have transparent processes and regulations that benefit all citizens and the entire private sector, not only a small elite. Ideally, governments should have the capacity to ensure that public money is well spent and that policies are implemented. 

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