TECHNOCRAT MEDIA, Abuja
BudgIT Foundation and Connected Development (CODE), two Nigerian prominent civic-tech non-governmental organisations say they are set to implement the second phase of the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) in ten African countries.
Speaking with the press in Abuja on Wednesday, the two frontline NGOs said “We have launched the second phase of the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP), an initiative that seeks to promote accountability and transparency through tracking of COVID-19 intervention funds across ten African countries.”
Recall in 2021, the two organisations had launched the first of CTAP in seven countries across Africa that produced the first African COVID-19 accountability platform (www.covidfund.africa).
BudgIT and CODE known for their advocacies for openness, transparency and accountability in governance said CTAP second phase campaign is to build on the successes recorded in the first phase.
According to the organisations, “For the first phase of the project, both organisations leveraged their Tracka and Follow The Money (FTM) platforms to address the deeply rooted systemic profiteering culture associated with COVID-19 interventions and ineffective feedback mechanisms for tracking COVID-19 fund disbursements and management across focus countries.”
“The first phase also strengthened civic engagement on COVID-19 response related matters to ensure that targeted governments use COVID-19 funds effectively.”, they said.
“Building on these successes, the second phase of the project will advocate for improved funding and address the issues related to vaccine deployment and equitable distribution across focus countries,”
“Both organisations will do this firstly, by conducting research on the post COVID environment, the distribution of health sector resources, the government’s commitment to healthcare funding, vaccine procurement plans, and the issues affecting the equitable distribution in Africa, with special focus on vulnerable groups in terms of commercial activity and socioeconomic status.”
Oluseun Onigbinde, BudgIT’s global director said “This research will set a pathway for identifying the peculiar issues with procurement plans and vaccine distribution, after which we can build partnerships with relevant stakeholders and sectoral leaders to co-create inclusive frameworks and solutions for long-term health sector accountability.”
“We will not only collaborate with governments in focus countries to institute proper and sustainable accountability systems, we will also enhance the COVID-19 Accountability Platform (covidfund.africa) with a dashboard that tracks health sector resourcing and accountability approaches” Mr Onigbinde added.
He noted that beyond collaborations with government and sectoral leaders, citizen engagement and equipping civil society organisations in each country on how to prioritise vulnerable communities in local advocacy to improve health care investment.
BudgIT Nigeria country director, Gabriel Okeowo said the project is expected to sustain COVID fund accountability campaign across the ten countries in Africa.
On his part, Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive of CODE, noted that both organisations will mobilise at least 1.7 million Africans digitally and offline to monitor emergency funds and demand health sector accountability.
“We will also facilitate dialogue sessions between 36 CSOs and the government to create opportunities for engagement between both parties on improved funding and health sector accountability.”
“We are looking at achieving sustainable health sector funding and accountability across the 54 African countries through African Union (AU) and other relevant stakeholders in future,” he said.
Busayo Morakinyo, CODE’s director of engagement while speaking on the lessons learnt in the first phase, said “The first phase was an opportunity for us to learn about COVID-19 funds management in some African countries,”
“For instance, in Kenya, we saw that palliative didn’t get to the people as expected by design. The case wasn’t different in Malawi, and Nigeria.” Mr Morakinyo said.
CTAP is led by CODE and BudgIT in collaboration with Global Integrity, Oxlade Consulting and is primarily funded by Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Skoll Foundation.