Report on ‘Ex Africa Semper Aliquid Nova’

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Both Dr Alistair Tough and Simon Gill shared their perspectives on the importance of records in developing countries in Africa to fight corruption and to support development.

As Senior Lecturer, University of Glasgow, Alistair shared his extensive experience of working in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to re-configure records management programmes as part public sector reform.  He offered a specific lens on Tanzania and shared his experience of health care reform being developed thanks to improved records management, but more importantly the Government’s commitment to develop better health care systems across the country, and to encourage public participation in health care provision. Access to health care records thanks to digital offers, was improving health on a local level whilst building a trust and trustworthiness in the capture of decision making.

Complementing Tough’s presentation, Simon Gill representing the Overseas Development Institute as Head of Programme for Public Finance,  shared his experience of working in Uganda and the Government’s  considerable commitment to  transparency and open government.  Gill illustrated his talk with a showstopper of a web portal available through Uganda’s Department of Finance. This excellent on-line portal provides access to all citizens to every line in the Government’s budget, so its citizens can scrutinise spend and call to account local community officials to ensure allocated resource does go toward the purposes intended.  Community engagement at its best!

The overarching theme emerging from this excellent session was records play an increasingly pivotal role in delivering a transparency agenda, and it showed how the long-held belief of rife corruption in some African countries is being overturned, thanks to the power of archives!

 

Nancy Bell

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