The Government of Equatorial Guinea Fails to Give its Citizens Information about how it Spends Their Money

The Government of Equatorial Guinea Fails to Give its Citizens Information about how it Spends Their Money

October 19, 2010
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Independent global report reveals how Equatorial Guinea could improve transparency quickly with little cost or effort.

(Washington, DC, October 19, 2010)—Today the International Budget Partnership released its Open Budget Index (OBI) for 2010, the only independent, comparative, regular measure of budget transparency and accountability around the world. Produced every two years by independent experts, the report reveals that Equatorial Guinea has made no substantive progress on budget transparency since 2008, the first year the country was included in the Index. In 2010, Equatorial Guinea matched its 2008 score of zero (out of 100) in the Index, while the global average score was 42.

“The lack of transparency and accountability in Equatorial Guinea’s budget opens the door to abuse and inappropriate and inefficient use of public money,” said Tutu Alicante, Executive Director of EG Justice, the NGO which co-authored the report. “We urge the government of Equatorial Guinea to take immediate steps to make its budget process more open. Greater transparency would contribute to better oversight, better access to credit, better policy choices, and better service delivery for the people in Equatorial Guinea.”

The Open Budget Survey uses internationally recognized criteria to give each country a transparency score on a 100-point scale called the Open Budget Index. Despite the general lack of budget transparency around the world, the Open Budget Survey 2010 revealed a nine-point average improvement among the 40 countries that have been measured over three consecutive Open Budget Surveys. Some of the most dramatic improvements came from previously low-scoring countries, such as Mongolia and Liberia, which still do not meet best practices but have improved significantly over time.

“The good news is that all governments—no matter their income levels or political systems or dependence on aid—can improve transparency and accountability quickly and with very little additional cost or effort, by publishing information it already produces, and by inviting public participation in the budget process” said Warren Krafchik, Director of the International Budget Partnership. “In the long term, we would like to see the international community establish a set of global norms for budget transparency. Such norms could codify broadly accepted principles and guidelines with respect to transparency and would provide civil society organizations, the media, and legislatures a powerful tool to leverage improvements within countries.”

Read the 2010 Open Budget Index for Equatorial Guinea >>

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