03 July 2012

Open Government Partnership meeting in Africa

On 3 July 2012 representatives from African states participating in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) met to discuss their action plans.

Participants included government and civil society representatives from South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia and Tanzania.

The South African government delegation indicated that the South African action plan has not been approved by cabinet, despite the plan having been in place since September 2011, when it was presented to the OGP. The Department of Public Service and Administration, which is responsible for the plan, claimed that the lack of approval by cabinet means that it cannot easily advance commitments in the plan that require multi-sectoral engagement, such as the Open Environmental Data Portal.

Civil society representatives at the meeting remain adamant that South Africa's action plan is deficient in terms of substance and neglects key areas of necessary reform, instead focussing on commitments that formed part of initiatives that were already underway, largely as a result of the National Planning Commission. While representatives recognised that resource constraints may make it necessary for government to dovetail some initiatives, they emphasised that government must develop concrete new commitments to open government.

On a positive note, it was reported at the meeting that a number of further African states are considering joining the OGP; Libya and Tunisia have both approached South Africa directly and talks have begun in Nigeria, Rwanda and Zambia.

Read the minutes of the meeting.