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Open Government Program Helping to Prevent Corruption in Mexico
Photo by Natalia Jardon
With the Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE), Abt Global produced animated videos in Spanish to promote fundamentals of competitive procurement and encourage reporting of corrupt practices. Mexico’s social stability and economic development — including the livelihoods of millions of households and businesses — depends on good governance. However, the country struggles with systemic corruption.
Through USAID’s Mexico Economic Policy Program (MEPP), Abt Global worked directly with government champions to create and implement innovative, practical policies and procedures that improve transparency and reduce corruption.
Governments become transparent only when they provide vital information about citizen welfare in a meaningful way. Red Mexico Abierto, the “Open Mexico Network,” was the Mexican federal government’s initiative to promote public sector transparency at the state and municipal level. MEPP helped launch the effort.
MEPP developed benchmarks for local governments to measure how open their procedures were in budgetary transparency, business regulation, and public procurement. The Open Mexico Network used these benchmarks to ensure local government members did not simply talk transparency, but actually fulfilled their commitments to open government by making relevant information available to all citizens.
More Accountability, More Transparency
MEPP, led by Abt Global, worked with Mexico’s National Digital Strategy Coordination unit within the Office of the Presidency to operate Red MX Abierto, or the Open Mexico Network, a centralized networked platform—launched in 2014 and operating through the start of the subsequent administration—designed to give local governments practical resources to upload public data. MEPP organized hackathons at major universities to generate fresh solutions and spur youth participation in this effort.
MEPP also supported several of Mexico´s most important national open government initiatives. These included creating a new electronic platform with free access to every federal agency audit, launching a first-of-its-kind platform for small businesses to report corruption by public officials, and helping the Ministry of Finance make its public works transparency portal more interactive and user-friendly.
On another front, Mexico’s public procurement laws and regulations are sometimes weak, ambiguous, or incomplete, which invites corruption in thousands of construction and infrastructure projects. Observatorio NAICM, a citizen-led observatory organized with MEPP support, monitored the construction process of Mexico City’s new airport, the costliest infrastructure project in Mexican history.
MEPP worked with an alliance of several of Mexico’s most prestigious policy NGOs to expand the observatory to other high-profile public works projects. MEPP also contributed to accountable procurement in major construction, and developed detailed best practice guidance for civil society to encourage local governments to adopt and implement.