This Week: Transparency On The Move in Africa / Project Pulse: Connecting Countries

AidData Co-Executive Director Dr. Brad Parks announcing the China in Africa Database launch 

Last week, AidData launched a public database of 2,000 Chinese-financed development projects in Africa from 2000-2012, an interactive dashboard to visualize these projects, and a working paper that addresses the political and economic factors that influence Chinese development finance in Africa.  Stay tuned for a recap of the launch event and for an opportunity to chat with the experts.  In the meantime, read up on mapping Chinese investments in Africa.

If you missed celebrating GIS Day and African Statistics Day this week, be sure to check out AidData’s GIS map repository and new China in Africa geospatial dashboard.  The Ugandan Government’s decision to make public its Development Assistance Management System, which includes a geocoded map of development projects throughout Uganda, could not have had better timing.  Myanmar is also taking steps toward greater transparency and citizen engagement by advancing plans to join the Open Government Partnership.

Also occurring last week was the seventh annual installment of the UN’s Global South-South Development Expo hosted this year by the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. Members of AidData’s team joined policy practitioners, leaders in business and education, and other actors working to develop practical, scalable solutions to development challenges “from the South and for the South.” Joaquim Tres of the Inter-American Development Bank captured the spirit of the Expo, explaining that “it’s about countries getting together to identify joint opportunities for development.”

There was a particular emphasis placed on the importance of equality and reciprocity in South-South partnerships, as well as on people-centered cooperation. The UNDP held a special panel event on scaling up responses to the ebola crisis. Other panel discussions explored solutions for sustainable industrial development and emerging green economies, highlighting the need to rely on and mobilize domestic resources as part of local solutions. Focusing on the importance of the USAID’s Tony Pipa discussed the role of open data for transparency, but also as capital for development in the hands of individual and local actors.

Other topics of discussion included the role of think tanks in South-South cooperation as part of post-2015 agenda and transitioning from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As Gina Casar, UNDP Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator, explained, “the MDGs taught us that inclusiveness must be addressed in the new SDGs.” Casar noted that there is a link between the achievement of global development goals and South-South cooperation, and that progress towards the SDGs would fall short without effective inclusiveness.

Read AidData’s take on the importance of South-South Cooperation and the SEGIB alternative here.

Project Pulse Project-in-Focus

Today we are featuring the eighth Project in Focus of the Project Pulse series: The Road Improvement and Transport Facilitation on the Bamako-Dakar Corridor Project.  This program was initiated by the governments of Mali and Senegal and funded by the African Development Bank to improve economic cooperation in West Africa, to open up landlocked areas in the sub-region by building a highway between Mali and Senegal, and to remove constraints on movement so as to reduce overall transport costs and foster economic exchanges between the two countries.


Akela Lacy is AidData's Policy and Communications Intern and a student at the College of William & Mary. Katie Paulson-Smith is the Special Assistant to AidData's Co-Executive Director and based at the College of William & Mary. Taryn Davis will return to This Week in two weeks time.

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