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Exectutive Summary

This Project is subset of a broader proposal, “Africa i-Parliament Action Plan”, designed in collaboration with the Pan Africa Parliament (PAP) and national parliaments and endorsed by the PAP in a Resolution dated 2nd December 2005.

The Africa i-Parliaments Action Plan is an Africa-wide initiative whose overall goal is to promote transparency, accountability, democratic participation, and good governance in Africa by empowering African Parliaments to better fulfil their democratic functions; to increase the efficiency of their legislative processes and oversight capacity; to strengthen inter-parliamentary cooperation; and to improve civil society participation in the parliamentary process.

The Africa i-Parliaments Action Plan builds on the experiences, lessons learned, tools and applications developed during the implementation of the project “Strengthening Parliaments’ Information Systems in Africa”. The objective of the Action Plan is to empower African Parliaments with skills, services and applications that will allow them to become open, participatory, knowledge-based learning organisations and support inter-parliamentary collaboration.

The activities of the project “Support to the implementation of Africa i-Parliaments Action Plan” intend to contribute to the implementation of the broader “Africa i-Parliaments Action Plan” by focusing on:

  • build managerial and technical skills in parliaments.
  • develop information and e-services tailored to the needs of African Parliaments to effectively meet the ever changing information needs of parliaments.
  • deploy, develop and support applications based on open source and open standards to sustainably address the information management and dissemination requirements of parliaments.
  • support the development of a legal and regulatory framework for achieving an equitable and open Information Society.
  • improve parliamentary development assistance co-ordination and integration in Africa in order to maximise the use of human and financial resources available.

The Project will mainly focus on development of capacity building activities and common services in context of the Africa Parliamentary Knowledge Network (APKN), a recently established formal mechanism of inter-parliamentary cooperation in Africa, but will also directly assist national parliaments in adopting common standards (AKOMA NTOSO) and software applications (Bungeni). The Project will have to adjust its Action Plan to coordinate with the priorities of APKN and support APKN activities, to the extent possible, in order to build sustainability, synergies and economies of scale.

Through these activities, the Project is expected to promote greater access to parliamentary information and the exchange of information among Parliaments through the adoption of common standards and by the introduction of parliamentary information systems. The amount and quality of information and advisory services available to meet the needs and requirements of Parliaments will also dramatically increase, thus strengthening the capacity of Parliament to draft legislation and formulate policies.

The wider accessibility of Parliamentary activities, together with the greatly enhanced capacity of parliamentary staff and quality of Parliamentary Information Services, will significantly strengthen the pivotal role of African Parliaments as institutions that enforce good governance, promote democratic accountability, and create political legitimacy through the active and informed participation of civil society organisations and citizens.