AFRICAN REGIONAL SEMINAR ON PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING

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From 10 to 14 March 2008, 150 delegates from several Sub-Saharan
Africans countries, Latin America, Asia, Europe, and North America will gather
in Durban, South Africa to share views and experiences on how to improve
citizens’ participation in budget setting at sub-national levels in Africa. The
Seminar will be held at Ethekwini Municipal Council and participants will
include: Ministers, government
officials, heads of local authorities, and representatives of development
agencies.

The Seminar is designed to provide opportunity for participants from African to get to
know each other, learn about each other’s interests and about the kind of
progress that is being made on issues of Participatory Budgeting. Besides, they
will have the opportunity to hear from their counterparts from other Latin
America, Asia, Europe and North America about their experience with
Participatory Budgeting.

As
democratization and decentralization reforms advance around the globe, State
and non-State actors are creating new channels of dialogue in local governance.
Under this context, Participatory Budgeting (PB) is rapidly gaining attention
from governments, civil society, and international development agencies as an
effective platform and tool for strengthening transparency, voice, and
accountability in revenue generation, expenditure planning, and delivery of
public services and infrastructure. From an experimental innovation in Brazil,
PB initiatives have been growing exponentially in many countries in Latin
America, Europe, and Asia, and more recently in Africa. Lessons from these
experiences have shown that PB is an effective mechanism to increase
transparency, voice, and accountability in local governance. PB, thus, opens
real opportunities in Africa towards enhancing trust between state and
non-state actors in public resource management, with the potential to improve
tax compliance, fight corruption, reduce poverty, and promote economic growth.

The
overall objective of the Seminar therefore, is to bring together key
representatives from African institutions which are committed to participatory
budgeting in the continent, offering an opportunity to share experience,
strengthen dialogue, and build lasting peer-to-peer collaboration efforts. The
Seminar will give specific attention to policy reforms that increase budget
transparency and demystification, voice, and independent oversight and
monitoring in public expenditure.

During
the Seminar, a Peer-to-Peer Mutual Learning Program will be launched. The Pilot
will see African local authorities, civil society organizations, and academic
institutions establishing partnerships with their counterparts especially from
Latin America in the area of participatory budgeting. In the past 20 years,
Latin America has made significant progress in the area of participatory
budgeting and local authorities are eager, not only to share their experience
and learn about the Africa’s experience, but are also ready to participate in
capacity building programs and exchange of information in participatory
budgeting. It is envisioned that the delegates from the African continent will
partner with each other to form clusters, and each cluster will subsequently
pair up with one or more Latin American institutions to develop a preliminary
work plan proposal on a peer-to-peer mutual learning activities.

The Conference is organized by the Harare based Municipal Development Partnership
Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (MDP-ESA), with support from The World Bank; The World Bank Institute; Trust Fund for
Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development; Swiss Development
Cooperation; CommGAP; ANSA-Africa; UN-HABITAT; New York University – Wagner
School Of Public Administration; and The Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF)
and will be hosted by Municipality of Ethekwini (Durban),

For further information, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/africanpbseminar/
or http://www.asaaf.org.zw Or contact: George Matovu gmatovu@mdpafrica.org.zw; or Dr. Takawira Mumvuma tmumvuma@mdpafrica.org.zw
Municipal Development Partnership for
Eastern and Southern Africa, Tel.: +263 4 774385/6.

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