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The open contracting community loves a challenge

The International Monetary Fund is currently hosting an Anti-Corruption Challenge. The Challenge aims to support the development of new and innovative approaches that create behavioral change and increased transparency to enable good governance and tackle corruption in the public sector.

The challenge, launched during the 2019 World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings, seeks collaborative project proposals from country authorities, civil society organizations (CSOs), and staff from the IMF and other international financial institutions on a number of topics including the role of data and technology in enhancing governance in public finance, improving the understanding of risks of corruption, and other solutions that include the use of open/big data to enhance governance and fight corruption.

The challenge topics are framed in the context of the IMF’s Governance Framework. Information on the IMF’s role in helping support good governance can be found in the factsheet on IMF and Good Governance.

First, it is wonderful that the IMF is becoming more proactive in the governance space. We have seen in several contexts, like in Ukraine and Honduras, that the IMF can be a powerful stakeholder in encouraging adoption of open contracting reforms. We have written recently for the IMF’s Public Financial Management blog about the benefits of open contracting for well functioning public financial management systems. 

When we first heard about the challenge, we were excited to use it as an opportunity to begin collaborating with partners at the IMF more closely, and to advance some of our key technical priorities for the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) community: the development of an OCDS data registry and data quality assessment tools for reuse by civil society, academia, journalists, policy makers, auditors and others interested in improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity of public contracting. You can see the full details of the project here https://imfilab.brightidea.com/D336

The government of Afghanistan and representatives from the World Bank and IMF have already joined our project. We also see direct ways the project can be applied and add value to the work of partners in other OCDS-publishing countries. We would be delighted to welcome more partners into the project if you feel that it could directly benefit your own goals.  

But, in addition to our own project, we were thrilled to see dozens of other proposals submitted from the OCDS community, the wider open contracting community, and related initiatives (such as this one from Open Ownership). Here are the projects that caught our eye from the OCDS community: 

We are also excited by these proposals that aim to use public procurement data but are not working on OCDS specifically:

It is very exciting that there is so much energy for working on procurement related issues in the anticorruption space. In fact, it’s very possible that we may have missed some relevant proposals. If we did, please share them with us and we will update this blog 🙂 

We hope that the IMF will take up many of the above proposals into the challenge. But, regardless of what happens with the IMF Anticorruption Challenge, the OCP would like to explore how we can collaborate and how the OCP can offer support to make all of these ideas a reality. 

If you are working on one of these projects, please do share updates on the OCDS mailing list and let us know if you are looking for others in the community to apply to join your projects. We will plan to host a virtual conversation in the coming weeks where we can share our progress with each other.