The Africa Open Parliament Index (OPI), a joint effort of the Africa Parliamentary Monitoring Organisations Working Group, has ranked Ghana’s Parliament the First among 13 other African parliaments in its OPI Report.
With an overall score of 63.03 per cent, Ghana’s Parliament led the Cape Verdean Parliament, which scored 61.86 per cent, taking the second position.
Ghana’s Parliament also scored 27.71, representing 35 per cent in terms of Transparency, 21.00, representing 35 per cent in Civic Participation, and 14.32, representing 30 per cent in Public Accountability to be adjudged the First in the parliamentary openness survey in West Africa.
Sierra Leone placed third with 57.97 per cent; Nigeria came fourth with 49.21 per cent; Benin was fifth with 45.32 per cent; The Gambia took the 6th position with 45.03 per cent, and Cote D’Ivoire seventh with 43.86 per cent.
The OPI is a tool that periodically explores and measures the level of openness of legislative assemblies in Africa.
It uses the three criteria of Open Parliament, namely: Transparency, Civic Participation and Public Accountability, to evaluate parliaments across the Continent.
Mr Sammy Obeng, the Executive Director of Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica), in his presentation, said the OPI was to strengthen parliaments through CSO-parliament collaborations.
He said it was developed with three specific objectives; to identify, compare, and exchange knowledge and best practices among parliaments and CSOs that worked with parliaments and to foster collaboration towards achieving the principles of open parliament.
“It makes recommendations, which when pursued diligently over time, can show real progress and improvements in the level of openness in the assessed parliaments,” he said.
Mr Obeng said the combined indicators used for the Index were from global best practices, minimum standards in transparency, civic participation, and public accountability, to objectively and independently rank the parliaments of the selected countries in a way that identified the success stories and the open parliament gaps.
Mr Alban Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament, urged Civil Society Organisations to actively participate in the legislative processes of the country to improve democracy.
The maiden OPI results were presented to the Speaker by the PNAfrica and the Ghana Parliamentary Monitoring Organizations Network (GPMON).
The Report ranked Burkina Faso eighth with 42.69 per cent, Senegal placed ninth with 41.24 per cent, and Niger tenth scoring 37. 15 per cent
“The 11th position was occupied by Togo at a 36.28 per cent score, followed by Liberia with a 35.65 per cent mark to be the 12th, and Guinea Bissau was 13th at 22.36 per cent,” the report said.
The Africa OPI is made up of renowned parliamentary monitoring organisations, namely; Mzalendo Trust (Kenya); Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana); and Parliamentary Monitoring Group (South Africa).
The others are the Africa Parliamentary Press Network (APPN); the Pan African Parliament Civil Society Forum, which is coordinated by the Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria, and Parliamentary Network Africa.