Open Budgets, Sustainable Democracies: A Spotlight on the Middle East and North Africa

Jul 22, 2011

Open Budgets, Sustainable Democracies: A Spotlight on the Middle East and North Africa

Citizens in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have asserted their rights to sustainable livelihoods, societies free of corruption, and opportunities for engagement in public affairs. The poor state of economic governance in the MENA region has not gone unnoticed and has no doubt contributed to the current political instability. The International Budget Partnership’s Open Budget Survey 2010 reveals that, with an average Open Budget Index score of 23 out of 100, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is the lowest scoring region in terms of budget transparency and accountability. In addition to the lack of public availability of budget documents, this region performs poorly with regard to the engagement of oversight institutions and the general public with the budget process. Even though some MENA countries have begun to undertake public finance management reforms, they should use the Open Budget Survey results to emphasize budget transparency and accountability as an essential component of good governance.

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