TAI Weekly

TAI Weekly|How Can Africa Balance Debt in its Energy Shift?

By TAI (Role at TAI)


After decades of steady progress on transparency, secrecy enablers have found a successful strategy to turn back the clock: weaponizing privacy rights to block transparency. This new report addresses the arguments at the heart of privacy-washing.

10 dos and don’ts of social accountability 3.0 - this makes for a great entry point to a new paper from ex-TAIer Florencia Guerzovich and Tom Aston. Drawing on 157 case studies they suggest what the next generation of social accountability programming could/should look like.

How might artificial intelligence affect the right to information? This is the first in the OGP Horizons series that aims to capture open government innovations from around the world to tackle today’s biggest challenges.

Jide Okeke suggests a different narrative of democratic renewal in Africa.

Yeung Yeung Ang argues that traditional corruption rankings are biased, one-dimensional, and ultimately misleading. She again makes the case for a more comprehensive assessment, considering multiple dimensions. 

This first edition of the OECD Anti-Corruption and Integrity Outlook analyzes Member Countries’ efforts to uphold integrity and fight corruption.

Karla Velasco Ramos from the Association for Progressive Communications, argues that “AI replicates and exacerbates the inequalities and oppressions of our world. To Velasco, “algorithms reflect the capitalist, patriarchal and colonial power dynamics.” What do you think?

In an age marked by growing authoritarianism, a new guide from Apolitical Foundation aims to provide actionable insights and strategies to strengthen democracies and rebuild trust between politicians and citizens. 

UNESCO has published its 2023 report on public access to information.

The United States Department of Justice has asked a judge for permission to seize an apartment at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York City. The request is part of a corruption probe into the president of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, who is accused of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars from his country's treasury.


Last week we had an intriguing discussion with author Erica Benner, building on her new book Adventures in Democracy – The Turbulent World of People Power.  In the call, we explored questions such as, “How to hold the powerful to account?” and, “How to anticipate and respond to the vulnerabilities of people power?” Access the full recording of her presentation here. 


USAID: People Power - How USAID is trying to incorporate a movement mindset into its work 

OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS: Is looking for 3 talented and creative people interested in working at the intersection of finance, climate and equity. Two of the openings are for program managers, one based in Dakar, Johannesburg, or Nairobi and one based in Singapore, Seoul, Colombo, or Kuala Lumpur. 

LUMINATE: TAI´s Steering Committee Toyin Akinniyi gave opening remarks at Yiaga Africa’s Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Elections in Africa. Toyin urges African institutions to remain committed to ensuring healthy information ecosystems.

MACARTHUR FOUNDATION: MacAthur’s On Nigeria program shares its new tool to foster inclusion.

PACKARD FOUNDATION: is on the lookout for a global learning partner for their Civil Society and Leadership initiative. If you're experienced in Global Majority countries and have a deep understanding of civic space, they want to hear from you!


Sweden's decision to open its NGO funding pool globally and cut ties with Swedish actors has sparked debate. Some applaud the move, while others question its sincerity, fearing it will hollow out domestic aid support and infrastructure. 

Leif Wenar questions effective altruism's accountability in this in-depth essay.

The European funder collective Civitates publishes a new review on European civic space funding

In Brazil, philanthropy is transforming with independent and community-driven practices leading the way. Are US foundations following suit? Kathleen Enright makes the case for how funders are spearheading efforts to enhance support for locally-led development. 


Watch the video of this session on national approaches to tax transparency, and the role of international collaboration in the fight against tax fraud and illicit financial flows.  


Navigating Debt, Fiscal Needs, and the Energy Transition in Africa

The African continent faces a pressing challenge as low-income countries grapple with mounting debt burdens amid development and climate needs. Debt solutions cannot be viewed in isolation, Saliem Fakir argues it is crucial to consider how debt can be leveraged to foster economic resilience, which in turn supports climate resilience. Fears over debt repayment can limit the ability to mobilize private capital. Yet, assumptions might not match reality. The release of more data from the Global Emerging Markets Risks Database reveals that sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa, typically labeld regions of highest risk, have the highest recovery rates across the three highly aggregated sectors covered in the new report. As Mark Plant explains, “We very much hope that this report is a first step on the road to greater openness and transparency.”

One way to restore balance sheets and aid the energy transition is to tackle the vast spending on fossil fuel subisidies. Nigeria was a bright spot last year when it made that move. It offered money to states to help offset the pain, but have those been well used? , New analysis details how the Post-Subsidy Palliative funds were used in the Plateau State government's response, thanks to a freedom of information request from #FollowTheMoney (CODE's social accountability platform). Hopefully, more information will follow for other states.

One potential source of income for some African states, is through scale up of critical minerals mining, processing export. However, it is hard for countries to seek better deals as demand has grown. Since the Paris Agreement entered into force in 2016, investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) cases have targeted investments in at least thirteen different critical minerals, amounting to over US$ 200 billion in damages claimed by foreign investors. This underscores the need to navigate the complex intersections between mining, the just energy transition, and ISDS, as highlighted by Madeleine Songy and Martin Dietrich Brauch.




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