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:
- Nosotrxs and PODER are leading an impressive project in Mexico to develop a Citizen Health Monitor (and OCP is part of the project team, represented by our Head for Latin America, Nicolas Penagos). The team plans to analyze contracting data and build a monitoring platform of medicines and medical supplies in Mexico to serve as a means to combat corruption in the sector and reduce shortages. You can see more details and vote for this project here: https://imfilab.brightidea.com/D412
- The Sustainable Infrastructure Foundation is seeking to align their infrastructure management software with OCDS & OC4IDS together with CoST & OCP (represented by our Executive Director, Gavin Hayman). They further seek to test the approach in Ukraine. You can see more details and vote for their project here: https://imfilab.brightidea.com/D385
- Fundación Ciudadanía y Desarrollo, one of the OCP’s LIFT partners from Ecuador, has submitted a proposal for their plans to develop a Public Procurement Observatory. The project aims to create a multi-sectoral public procurement observatory, that enables civil society organizations, academia, research journalist, and citizens in general, to monitor and evaluate government procurement, as well as to identify risks of corruption and improvement opportunities. You can see more details and vote for their project here: https://imfilab.brightidea.com/D384
- Spend Network, who OCP recently collaborated closely with on the soon to be published global value of public procurement research project, has an ambitious plan to build a tool that will allow authorities and civil society to easily identify public officials that benefit directly from public procurement by awarding contracts to companies that they have whole or partial ownership of. You can see more details and vote for their project here: https://imfilab.brightidea.com/D328
- FollowTaxes seeks to undertake open contracting work at the state level in Nigeria. You can see more details and vote for their project here: https://imfilab.brightidea.com/D294
- Alliance for Civic Initiatives Promotion in the Kyrgyz Republic is seeking support to use OCDS data for citizen monitoring of public procurement. You can see more details and vote for their project here: https://imfilab.brightidea.com/D338
- Directorio Legislativo is looking to explore the linkages between political campaign finance and public contracting in Colombia. You can see more details and vote for their project here: https://imfilab.brightidea.com/D345
- The Zambia Public Procurement Authority is planning the further rollout and improvement of their eGP & monitoring system (which publishes OCDS data and uses it for monitoring reports). You can see more details and vote for their project here: https://imfilab.brightidea.com/D313
We are also excited by these proposals that aim to use public procurement data but are not working on OCDS specifically:
- Beneficiary ownership of public procurement suppliers by Datlab (with whom we have been working on our data quality tool, Pelican): https://imfilab.brightidea.com/D320
- An artificial intelligence/machine-learning application to enhance the transparency and management of the national budget in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by L & B Research Consulting Group: https://imfilab.brightidea.com/D342
- Improving the perception of the integrity of the public procurement processes in Uganda by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority of Uganda: https://imfilab.brightidea.com/D395
- Big data analytics in auditing to identify corruption risks in public procurement by the State Audit Office of Georgia: https://imfilab.brightidea.com/D396
- Public procurement corruption risks: Harnessing Big Data for better fiscal governance and growth by DfID and the Government Transparency Institute: https://imfilab.brightidea.com/D323
- Hands-on!: Data for anticorruption in public finances by the CAF Development Bank: https://imfilab.brightidea.com/D321
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.