World Bank is pleased to partner with the Ministry of Information Society and Administration, UNDP, UK Embassy and other partners to support FYR Macedonia's efforts to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP).This flagship initiative of the international community is the latest effort to improve the quality of governance and public services and empower citizens.
Governments, with minimal costs, can make large amounts of data available so that others can build innovative apps and eServices. Economic analysis for the new EU Public Sector Information Directive said that Open Government Data policies would increase direct business activity by up to €40 billion per year, which translates into adding 0.3% of EU's GDP. Same study showed that overall benefit, including direct and indirect effects, could be up to €200 billion per year, or 1.7% of GDP. FYR Macedonia can expect similar benefits from implementing Open Data policies.
Based on Government's request, World Bank organized a knowledge exchange program which includes several videoconferenced seminars, support for Macedonian delegation participation in open government conferences in Brazil and Moldova and facilitating a community of practice on open government data in order to facilitate preparation and implementation of the Open Government Action Plan.
On March 21, 2012 World Bank helped the Ministry organize Open Government Day and to bring to FYR Macedonia two leading international experts on Open Government, Andrew Stott(UK) and Jeff Kaplan (USA) who joined Minister Ivo Ivanovski, UK Ambassador Christopher Yvon, World Bank Country Manager Lilia Burunciuc and local experts in the discussion of the open government and open data challenges and opportunities in FYR Macedonia and multistakeholder consultation on the draft OGP action plan.
"A key priority for Macedonia is competitiveness and an important bottleneck is infrastructure", said World Bank Country Manger, Lilia Burunciuc. "We often talk about roads, power plants, irrigation, but we rarely talk about the digital infrastructure. Open Government has global momentum for good reasons. At the end of the day, it stimulates innovation, accelerates job creation and improves delivery of public services and investment client. Being part of the Open Government Program offers Macedonia a chance to "leapfrog" (or jump ahead of) other countries in the region, placing it at the table with global leaders and show the EU that Macedonia is aspiring to meet the standards set by the best in Europe in this area."
This event, co-financed through South South knowledge exchange grant on open government, was a critical milestone in preparation of the action plan. Over 100 participants were encouraged to openly share their views and invited to contribute to different aspects of the program which will require broad support and participation from across government, private sector, academia and civil society in order to be successfully designed and implemented.
World Bank looks forward to collaboration with all partners in FYR Macedonia on this worthwhile initiative whose time has come.