The Open Budget Survey 2021 comes at a time when accountable and inclusive public budgeting is more urgent than ever. Democratic backsliding and other governance challenges abound. The pandemic has exacerbated inequality and left women and marginalized communities bearing the brunt of the fallout.
Public budget processes are an important space for governments to engage meaningfully with their publics around decisions that can help communities bounce back better. Accountable public spending reinforces the role of independent pillars of government and restores public trust that government can deliver.
Despite headwinds, our latest results affirm that investing in open budgets is a winning proposition. Since 2008, transparency scores have increased 20 percent. Nevertheless, we are still far from the levels of information the public needs to provide meaningful debate on public spending. Broader accountability remains weak, and in some countries executive overreach has undermined the impact of oversight watchdogs, putting at risk vital resources that are needed for an inclusive recovery.
This year’s survey showcases bright spots where reform-minded officials and civil society have been able to drive concerted, sustained progress to toward more open and accountable public spending. These champions for reform provide a roadmap for others to follow. Our event will feature reflections from several open budget champions on their paths to progress as well as insights on how to further bolster accountability systems worldwide.
This event will be simultaneously live cast to a global audience in English, French and Spanish.
Founder of Mazdoor Kisan Shakthi Sangathan
Aruna Roy is a socio-political activist and Founder-Member, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghathan (MKSS), National Campaign to People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), and the School for Democracy (SFD). She was with the IAS from 1968-1975. In 1975 she came to Ajmer District, Rajasthan to work with the SWRC and the rural poor. In 1987 she moved to live with the poor in a village called Devdungri, Rajsamand District in Rajasthan. In 1990 she was part of the group that set up the MKSS. She has worked for accessing constitutional rights for the poor – Right to Information, Employment, Food Security etc. She was a member of the National Advisory Council (NAC) from 2004-06 and 2010-13. 2014. She was a member of the steering committee of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) till 2014, and is currently in a Cabinet and Council member of Progressive International. She is President of the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW). She was the 2016 Professor of Practice at McGill University ISID, Montreal, Canada, and the 2016 George Soros Visiting Practitioner Chair in CEU, Budapest. Awards include the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2000, the Nani Palkiwala Award and the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award. She was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by the TIME Magazine for 2011.
IDC Goodwill Ambassador for SAI Independence and former Prime Minister of New Zealand
Helen Clark was Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1999-2008. She became the Administrator of the United Nations Development Program in April 2009 and the Chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of the heads of all UN funds, programmes and departments working on development issues. She was the first woman to assume these positions, which she held for a full two terms and eight years before standing down in April 2017. Helen is today engaged in several global initiatives, including as chair of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and Goodwill Ambassador for Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) independence.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning
Prior to her appointment as Minister of State, Minister Ahmed was the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) .
She has over 28 years of experience in accounting and public finance management, starting with the Kaduna state Ministry of finance. Minister Ahmed also worked in different positions in the defunct Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), rising to Chief Financial Officer of MTEL.
In March 2009, she was appointed Managing Director of Kaduna Investment Company. She was then appointed a member of the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG, the Board of NEITI) and later the Executive Secretary of NEITI in October 2010.
She obtained her first degree in accountancy from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and a Masters in Business Administration from the Ogun State University.
She is a fellow of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), a member of the Nigerian Institute of Taxation and the Nigerian Institute of Management.
Minister of Economy and Finance of Benin
A graduate of Harvard Business School (USA) and the Ecole Supérieure des Affaires de Grenoble (France), Romuald Wadagni has held the position of Minister of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Benin since April 6, 2016. He has been promoted to Minister of State in charge of the same portfolio since May 25, 2021.
Before joining the government, this Chartered Accountant accumulated several years of expertise within the French (Paris, Lyon), American (Boston, New York) and African (all French-speaking African countries) firms of Deloitte. Head of Audit for Francophone Africa, Director of Professional Practice for all of Deloitte’s activities in Francophone Africa and Managing Director of Deloitte’s offices in the DRC, he has developed in-depth expertise in several areas, serving clients in various sectors (Mines, TMT, Financial Sector, Public Sector, Retail) and various governments and donors.
Upon his appointment, he worked to consolidate public finances, launch an ambitious reform of Benin’s public finance management system and the structural transformation of the Beninese economy.
For two years (2018-2020), he was Chairman of the Statutory Council of Ministers of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) where he led numerous reforms, in particular the historic one of the FCFA.
He is the current Chairman of the Board of Governors of the African Guarantee and Economic Cooperation Fund (FAGACE) and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID).
On three occasions since 2018, he has been honored as Africa’s Best Finance Minister.
Minister of Finance of Georgia
Mr. Lasha Khutsishvili is the Minister of Finance of Georgia since April 2021.
Beginning his career as a member of the Council of Tax Resolution at the Ministry of Finance of Georgia in 2007, he then moved to Ernst&Young LLC’s, where he worked for 5 years in a Tax and Legal Division.
Mr. Khutsishvili re-joined the civil service in 2013 as a Director General of the RevenueService of Georgia and subsequently, since 2014 held position of the Deputy Minister of Finance of Georgia. From 2014 to 2020 he supervised Tax Dispute Council at the Ministry.
Mr. Khutsishvili is a graduate of the Free University Business School (ESM) and the University of Preston in the field of Business Administration.
Minister of Finance of the Republic of Moldova
Dumitru Budianschi was appointed as Minister of Finance of the Republic of Moldova on 6 August 2021.
Dumitru Budianschi is born in 1961 in Republic of Moldova. He is a mathematician, economist and public finance expert. He graduated State University of Moldova, Faculty of Mathematics and Cybernetics and holds a master’s degree in Public Finance and Taxation from the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova.
Before becoming the Minister of Finance, Mr. Budianschi held the position of Program Director at the Expert-Grup Analytical Center. Between 2013 and 2019 he worked as an expert and financial consultant for several international projects and institutions. The key covered subjects were improvement of quality in local government services delivery; public finance; public management and utilities regulation; public-private partnership development; strategic planning for local governments; economic development policies and instruments; transparency and citizens participation. He is author of 7 scientific articles and multiple researches/analyzes on various economic topics.
Mr. Dumitru Budianschi has acquired extensive experience and expertise in public finance sector during his career.
José Manuel Vicente Dubocq
Minister of Finance of the Dominican Republic
The Minister of Finance, José Manuel (Jochi) Vicente, is an outstanding economist graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), a specialist in the financial and management consulting industry.
He has an MBA from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA.
Vicente possesses strong professional skills in negotiation, business planning, international business, corporate development, and mergers and acquisitions.
He has held the positions of director of the National Council of Private Enterprise (CONEP), president of the Chamber of Commerce and Production of Santo Domingo and of the National Association of Young Entrepreneurs (ANJE).
In addition, he was professor of the master’s degree in Financial Management at PUCMM and the Economic Environment module of the MBA at Barna Business School.
The Minister of Finance served as director of MacroAnalit, a firm specializing in corporate finance and economics.
IBP Board Member and Event Moderator
Sofía Sprechmann is Secretary General at CARE International, a leading poverty-fighting and humanitarian response organization committed to social justice and gender equality. Sofia has worked for CARE since 1994 in several positions, providing leadership and support to programs in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. In particular, she has extensive experience in gender, impact studies, evidence-based policy advocacy, partnership and participation. She has a deep and broad understanding of alliances and networks that collaborate in the fight against poverty, of key issues and trends in approaches to development, and of the underlying causes of poverty and rights denial. Sofia is passionate about addressing gender inequality, having worked alongside some of the most discriminated-against and abused women to support their struggles, such as domestic workers, women working in the garment sector and survivors of gender-based violence. Throughout her career, she has shown an unshakeable commitment to the rights and participation of the people from the most marginalized, excluded and discriminated-against communities. Prior to her work in international development, Sofía worked as a Sociologist in the field of public opinion polls and audience research in Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from the Universidad de la República Oriental del Uruguay and an MSc in Epidemiology from the University of London/London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Sofia is from Uruguay.
Head of the Open Budget Survey, IBP
Anjali Garg joined the International Budget Partnership (IBP)’s Open Budget Initiative in November 2013 and is based in Washington, D.C. She is responsible for conducting qualitative and quantitative social science research, providing technical assistance to partners and in-country peer reviewers, as well as conducting country assessments and working with IBP partners to develop and implement advocacy strategies to promote budget transparency reforms. Prior to joining IBP, Anjali was an Economist at the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of International Affairs, where her work focused on Israel, Libya, Tunisia, and Palestine. Anjali also previously worked at the International Monetary Fund in the Middle East and Central Asia Department, and before graduate school, worked in the area of corporate finance with a focus on restructurings. Anjali holds a Masters from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.