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Exploring Budget Transparency in the Middle East and North Africa: A Study of Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia

Recent movements have shed light on the important practice of transparency and participation in the budget process as a way to influence policy, secure better livelihoods for citizens – especially for the most vulnerable and marginalised – and build a more inclusive development model.

Despite budget transparency increasingly being considered good practice globally and a key entry point to proactive citizen participation and accountability, many countries are still not able to transform transparency principles into good practice. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has historically performed below worldwide averages on governance and fiscal openness indicators. In MENA, where only 44 per cent of the region’s budget information is publicly available, the lack of transparency seemed to be exacerbated by limited opportunities for engagement.

This study looks closely at four countries in the region – Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia – with the aim of investigating the relationship between transparency, public engagement and accountability. It then offers recommendations in the form of strategies for quick wins and longer-term policy actions to advance and reap the benefits of fiscal transparency.