Sammy Obeng, the Executive Director of the Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica), recently participated in the 2nd East African Regional Conference for Parliamentary Monitoring Organizations (PMOs) held under the theme “Digital Technology and Parliamentary Monitoring: (Re)imagining Futures and Possibilities.”

The conference, organized by the Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Kampala, aimed to explore the role of digital technologies in enhancing transparency, accountability, and good governance across the East African region and Africa as a whole.

CEPA, a progressive regional non-profit public policy think tank, seeks to bridge the gap between research, policy, and practice. Through its Parliament Watch Uganda initiative, CEPA works to foster a people-centered parliamentary democracy by providing information and engagement platforms on legislative, budgeting, and oversight processes in Uganda’s Parliament. With support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), CEPA is currently implementing a project to enhance the transparency, accountability, and responsiveness of the Ugandan Parliament to its citizens.

The conference provided a platform for networking and collaboration among regional and continental PMOs, aiming to collectively re-imagine the possibilities and futures of PMOs in light of the rapidly changing digital technology landscape. Discussions focused on how digital technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), can enhance and complement PMOs’ efforts on accountability, transparency, and good governance.

Key objectives of the conference included discussing the role of AI in enhancing PMOs’ efforts, providing a platform for networking and collaboration, and sharing experiences on the effectiveness of the Open Parliament Index (OPI) in shaping parliamentary democracy in Africa. The conference featured plenary sessions, specialized panels, and media engagements to create awareness and sensitize stakeholders on the importance of parliamentary monitoring organizations.

Sub-themes explored at the conference included parliamentary monitoring and democracy in the digital age, the Open Parliament Index as a tool for advancing open parliaments in Sub-Saharan Africa, and financing and sustainability of PMOs in the digital era. Participants included representatives from PMOs, organizations advocating for good governance, academia, government, political parties, and development partners.

The conference highlighted the importance of leveraging digital technologies to enhance transparency and accountability in parliamentary processes. It underscored the need for PMOs to adapt to the digital era and explore innovative approaches to financing and sustainability to ensure their long-term effectiveness and impact.

Source: Clement Akoloh/ PNAfrica Comms Officer

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