Economic Governance Overview
Using the mass media and community radio, alternative media and social networks - twitter, facebook, myspace, etc, the Economic governance programme will embark on a public education and enlightenment programme to complement other civil society-led initiatives to mobilize the people at the community and local government levels for direct participation in formulation, implementation and monitoring of economic reform programmes. It will seek to build capacity of the legislature and civil society organizations on budget monitoring and tax justice.
West Africa is generally rich in natural resources. Resources such as oil, phosphates, bauxite, wood, gold, iron ore, uranium, diamonds, timber and rivers for hydropower exist in many countries, but a combination of autocratic and unaccountable government, violent conflict throughout the continent and decades of mismanagement deprive the region and its people of the benefits from its natural resources.
There has been recent progress in democracy and human rights which offers new hope for reversing the region’s underdevelopment, unequal distribution of wealth, access problems, unprofessional and ill-equipped public service, social inequality and widespread poverty, but entrenched corruption buoyed by institutional weaknesses and poor oversight pose serial threats to the gains.
In the past, OSIWA, through its Economic Governance program, has supported initiatives to to raise awareness about the rights of citizens in order to take part in decisions affecting the management of natural resources of the country. Through a combination of support for capacity building and advocacy OSIWA support contributed to creating an empowered citizenry capable of demanding for transparency and holding government officials to account in management and allocation of natural resources and revenue flows. Interventions to strengthen budget advocacy, track resource revenues, establish important normative frameworks for transparency and accountability and citizens’ participation have all created important resource for systematic transformation of governance challenges in the region.
OSIWA will seek to improve equity and transparency with the hope that this will enable citizens to benefit better from their countries’ resources. OSIWA work therefore aims to strongly support PWYP/EITI campaign to develop a regional strategy for the promotion of transparency and good governance in the management of natural resource revenues which could efficiently alleviate poverty and bring stability in the region. Additionally, it will support initiatives to promote Accountability and Transparency in extractive industry in West Africa, especially the focal countries, by advocating and building capacity of civil society and other local actors (media, parliament, and communities) and institutions to influence national, regional and international policies necessary to transform resource revenues into catalyst for economic development and social cohesion and human capital development. The expected output from these activities are (i) a regional PWYP/EITI network/dialogue mechanisms; functional national PWYP/EITI coalitions a cluster of informed civil society advocates and activists with specialized skills that are able to engage in policy level discussions/advocacy in national budget, petroleum economy, resource contracts and a regional communication strategy developed. The foundation will also seek to build the capacity and accountability of anti-corruption commissions.