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Governance

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down, and focuses on the painstaking work of organizing and building institutions, it is an engaging and valuable historical document.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.”

Corruption not in the culture

Caroline Freund's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
President Mikhail Saakashvili recently addressed a standing-room-only crowd at a book launch for Fighting Corruption in Public Services, a case study of Georgia’s reforms.  This short book provides a timely account on the “how to” of eliminating corruption, which all new government officials seeking to redesign the system should read. Emerging immediately after the revolution offered the government a unique opportunity for major reforms because of the overwhelming popular support for change.  This experience provides important lessons for new governments in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.  Georgia’s success proves that corruption is not in the culture, but simply a response to poor governance.   

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. 

What does inclusive growth mean for the people of the Middle East and North Africa?

Elena Ianchovichina's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Last week I was in Abu Dhabi for the opening of the joint World Bank – Arab Monetary Fund course on policies for inclusive growth. The course was offered to mid- and high-level policy makers and government officials working in central banks and ministries of finance in sixteen Arab countries. After the opening remarks, I was scheduled to start the course with two lectures on economic trends and inclusive growth in the region. I looked forward to the opportunity to engage with a diverse group of Arab policy makers on a topic that is so relevant in the context of the events of the past year.

Davos and the new Arab discourse

Omer Karasapan's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
World Economic Forum l Jolanda FlubacherLast week  Al-Arabiya News had an article on the new (and old) Arab faces at Davos - "For years, the Egyptian government spared no effort or money to impress the Davos crowd. Ministers of trade, investment and finance were always on the chase for the next panel or interview, with Jamal Mubarak (as) the face of the more modern and energized Egypt. Scores of businessmen flocked to hunt for opportunities on the back of a strong government presence.  Actors and pop stars were…the trendy part of the entourage. That was the Egyptian delegation before January 25, 2011."

January 25th, a day Egyptians will never forget

Khaled Sherif's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
January 25th, 2011 began like any normal Tuesday in Egypt except that it was a national holiday (Police Day).  I had arrived three days earlier to the news of my mother being ill and in hospital.  Everything in Egypt was normal on January 23rd and 24th although we all expected demonstrations on Tuesday the 25th.  But, virtually everyone including the security services thought very little would come of it. On Tuesday January 25th the Imam in our mosque encouraged people to go to Tahrir and join other demonstrators.  I hadn’t gone to the prayers, and maybe because I was so preoccupied with family matters, I couldn’t sense the gravity of the situation. 

The post-Arab Spring Islamists and Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party

Omer Karasapan's picture
Also available in: Français
In many respects the question of whether Turkey represents a model for kindred political movements in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has already been answered - with a clear, if not always resounding, yes. From the closeness of their names – at least in Egypt, Morocco, and Turkey – a variation on Justice, Development, and Freedom to strongly articulated support for political democracy and pluralism, the Islamist parties in Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia are sympathetic to and appear to be espousing positions broadly similar to Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).

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