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Africans lack access to public information – Afrobarometer report

Africans lack access to public information – Afrobarometer report

According to the latest
Afrobarometer Pan-Africa Profile, majority of Africans have rejected the idea that information held by public authorities is only for use by government officials and should not be shared with the public.

Based on national surveys in 39 African countries, the report shows that most respondents think that ordinary citizens and the news media should have access to information about local government budgets, contracts, and salaries.

In a press statement issued and signed by Afrobarometer communications officer for anglophone West and North Africa, Maame Akua Amoah Twum said but only few Africans think they could obtain such information.

The analysis further shows that in countries where access to information about local government plans and budgets is seen as limited, citizens are more likely to see their elected officials as corrupt, and less likely to trust them.

Key findings

▪ On average across 39 countries, a majority (55%) of Africans reject the proposition
that information held by public officials and agencies is exclusively for government
use and should not have to be shared with the public.

▪ About eight in 10 respondents say information about local government budgets (81%)
and local government bids and contracts (78%) should be accessible to the public. A
slimmer majority (55%) favour public access to information about the salaries of local
government officials and teachers.

▪ More than seven in 10 respondents consider it unlikely that they could obtain
information about local government bids and contracts (72%) and local government
budgets (71%), and 65% hold the same view regarding local school budgets.

▪ Access to information is strongly associated with perceptions of corruption and trust: Citizens who consider it unlikely that they could access local government and school
information are more likely to perceive widespread corruption among government officials at all levels, including the Presidency.

” And trust in local government officials and members of Parliament is much lower in countries where citizens feel they cannot access information about their local governments and schools”, it said.

Source: Eric Nii. Sackey

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