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Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017) World Bank GroupSince 2013, a new legislation was being drafted by the Senate of Brazil, in response to the perception that the Agencies often lack financial, administrative and decision making autonomy, are subject to capture by both overt and tacit political interference, with appointees lacking the necessary skills and independence. In infrastructure, regulatory uncertainty and the resort to the court of law in matters that should normally be decided by the agencies and accepted by affected parties is particularly harmful when government faces excess (and growing) demand for infrastructure services. After being discussed and approved in two key Senate commissions, the draft law (DL) was approved unanimously by the Senate Special Commission on National Development with no need to go to the floor. The DL provides the agencies with considerable formal autonomy, being no coincidence that this is made explicit at the outset of the legislation (Article 3). While the DL provides substantial autonomy to the agencies, it also defines the mechanisms for external control and accountability in its second chapter. The fundamental reason for the support of the DL is the high degree of autonomy conferred on the agencies, guaranteeing independence of political interests, technical excellence, and greater transparency and accountability. Finally, the DL strongly encourages inter-agency cooperation, partly in response to a recurrent criticism regarding barriers facing firms when dealing with different government agencies both national and subnational.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-01) World Bank GroupThe Palestinian Authority (PA) is in the early phase of its e‐government journey and aims to utilize ICT to deliver services to its citizens and businesses to improve social well‐being and facilitate economic development. The PA aims to serve 12.1 million Palestinians in the West Bank (2.7 million), the Gaza Strip (1.7 million), and the remaining 7.7 million Palestinians who are dispersed among 28 different countries. Many Palestinians are refugees, including more than one million in the Gaza Strip, 750,000 in the West Bank, and about 250,000 in Israel. Of the Palestinian population residing abroad, otherwise known as the Palestinian diaspora, more than half are considered stateless, lacking citizenship in any country. The combination of the ongoing Israeli‐Palestinian conflict as well as the diaspora situation makes implementation of e‐government projects in the West Bank and Gaza (WBG) unique and complex. A review of e‐government documentation and stakeholder interviews reveals that the PA has made reasonable progress on e‐government amidst a challenging environment, but it is still in the nascent phase in terms of delivering benefits to its constituents. There are numerous challenges for the successful implementation of e‐government, including geopolitical conflict, insufficient legislation to facilitate electronic transactions, limited budget to support e‐government projects, inadequate policies and standards, and limited capacity within the e‐government unit under the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology (MTIT). The PA is at a key moment in its e‐government journey. It is an opportunistic time to drive modernization of its public administration and public service delivery through use of ICT, offer better services to citizens, and promote economic growth.
Responding to the Challenge of Fragility and Security in West Africa: Natural Resources, Extractive Industry Investment, and Social Conflict(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015) Maconachie, Roy ; Srinivasan, Radhika ; Menzies, NicholasThe inability to unlock natural resource wealth for the benefit of developing countries’ local populations, a phenomenon popularly known as the ‘resource curse’ or the ‘paradox of plenty’, has spawned extensive debate among researchers and policy makers in recent years. There is now a well-established body of literature exploring the links between natural resources and conflict, with some sources estimating that over the past 60 years, 40 percent of civil wars have been associated with natural resources. Following this introduction, Section two provides an overview of interstate tensions in West Africa in order to improve understanding of the drivers of fragility that trigger conflict between countries around extractive industry investment. Here, the discussion is grounded in examples in which interstate tensions have been apparent, including the case of the Mano River Union, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, a region with a history of conflict, and where the exploitation of commercial deposits of high-value resources may continue to have a potentially destabilizing effect. Section three focuses on the decentralization of natural resource revenues, a process that proponents believe can help manage grievances and defuse intrastate tension in areas directly affected by resource extraction, but one that is also not without challenges. Drawing upon the case of Ghana’s Mineral Development Fund, the section explores the potential for conflict (and conflict triggers) to arise when the redistribution of extractive industry revenues to subnational regions takes place. In doing so, it becomes apparent that the capture and misuse of revenues from the fund is as much a political issue as it is a policy or technical one. This sets the stage for section four, which focuses in greater detail on extractive industry-related conflict within catchment communities, and how contestation is most often a result of unequal power relationships. Section five, the conclusion, summarizes and reflects upon some of the challenges and struggles over resource management associated with West Africa’s recent resource boom, and draws out some of the cross-cutting themes. Here, suitable entry points for future lines of inquiry and engagement are identified.