Civil society organizations (CSOs) can play an important role in enhancing transparency and good governance in developing countries, particularly on issues surrounding the formulation and implementation of government budgets and greater transparency of public revenues. Too often, however, CSOs are viewed by governments as political adversaries and policy lightweights. More effective participation of civil society groups on fiscal transparency will require strengthening the capacity of these organizations to participate on these issues. At the same time, senior government officials must welcome the increasing involvement of civil society as an opportunity to increase debate on public finance issues.
On October 18, Brookings hosted Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, distinguished visiting fellow with Global Economy and Development, who was recently named Managing Director of the World Bank, for a presentation of her paper titled The Role of Civil Society Organizations in Supporting Fiscal Transparency in African Countries. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was joined by several African finance ministers and representatives from African CSOs. Global Economy and Development Senior Fellow Charles Griffin introduced and moderated the discussion.