Follow the Money, the accountability initiative of Connected Development (CODE), which monitors government and international aid spending in health and education, has launched a Covid-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP).

The goal of CTAP is to track spending of Covid-19 donations across seven African countries, including Nigeria, Gambia, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Kenya, Malawi and Cameroon. The funds that have been and that continue to be donated to the cause of fighting Covid-19 by well-meaning individuals and organisations now amount to billions of dollars. CODE has therefore stated that certain measures must be put in place to forestall the mismanagement and misappropriation of funds.

Through CTAP, CODE will track all donations and interventions by governments, international donors, local organisations and philanthropists. In keeping with Follow the Money objectives, CTAP will ensure judicious use of funds and blocking of financial leakages. The organisation will also publicise all expenditures of Covid-19 funds as a way to promote transparency. CODE will advocate for compliance with international standards and practices, holding government institutions accountable to all stakeholders.

CODE stated that in order to ensure transparency and accountability responses to the pandemic should prioritise the participation of vulnerable communities at all stages, including needs assessments, provision of palliatives, procurement and delivery of items, programme reviews and evaluation.

CODE began its CTAP by urging the Nigerian Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health and the National Centre for Disease Control to centralise and publicise all data on donations and contributions. In expanding its campaign to an additional six countries, CTAP will activate a Community Response Toolkit across all seven countries to advocate for an open contracting approach to Covid-19 procurements; ensure emergency procurements have a structured reporting framework, with all signed contracts made public; create an online repository of received funding that provides information on their sources, amount, target areas or groups; mobilise businesses and civil society organizations to collaborate on real-time procurement monitoring.

CODE stated that the common challenges facing governance in its seven countries of focus is the poor access to information, secrecy in government, and poor accountability. The organisation said that CTAP, under their Follow the Money initiative, is therefore mobilising citizens for socio-political change and both opacity and misinformation, using digital tools.

Source: Connected Development

Photo source: Trinity Care Foundation

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