South Africa ranks 2 out of 115 nations, making the country the second most transparent system after New Zealand,
and leading Sweden and Norway that rank at 3rd and 4th respectively.
The Open Budget Survey (OBS) is the world’s only comparative and independent assessment of fiscal transparency, oversight, and participation at the national level. The survey is carried out by independent researchers who respond to a set of factual questions in each of the 115 countries assessed. Each country’s results are then reviewed by an anonymous expert, and governments are also given an opportunity to provide their comments.
The survey examines formal participation in the budget process at the national level. The 2017 OBS also assessed the core institutions of representative democracies by evaluating novel approaches to formal public participation in budgeting.
Brand South Africa’s CEO, Dr Kingsley Makhubela said: “Transparency is an important aspect of good governance, and transparent decision making is critical for the public sector to make sound decisions and investments, while also attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country.
“Transparency creates an environment for effective decision-making. The most frequently cited argument for transparency is information should be accessible to enable citizens to actively participate in policymaking and hold leaders accountable for their decisions, and ultimately influence which decisions are taken and why. At a more basic level, transparency is critical for decision-makers, as it assists them to formulate policy, improve service provision, and manage resources responsibly.”
The OBS 2017 report states that ‘Sub-Saharan Africa showed the largest decline in transparency in this round, yet the region drove much of the improvement in transparency in the 2015 survey.’ It also notes that ‘this recent decline in transparency overall is significantly less than the gains found in previous rounds of the survey; which means that government budgets are still considerably more transparent today than they were a decade ago.’
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