Shows & Panels
Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- American Readiness: Renewable Power and Efficiency Technologies
- Ask the CIO
- Building the Hybrid Cloud
- Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future
- Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation: Discussion of Progress and Next Steps
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal News Radio's National Cyber Security Awareness Month Special Panel Discussion
- Federal Tech Talk
- The Future of Government Data Centers
- The Future of IT: How CIOs Can Enable the Service-Oriented Enterprise
- Government Perspectives on Mobility and the Cloud
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Mitigating Insider Threats in Virtual & Cloud Environments
- Modern Mission Critical Series
- The New Generation of Database
- Reimagining the Next Generation of Government
- Targeting Advanced Threats: Proven Methods from Detection through Remediation
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- The Truth About IT Opex and Software Defined Networking
- Air Traffic Management Transformation Report
- Cloud First Report
- General Dynamics IT Enterprise Center
- Gov Cloud Minute
- Government in Technology Series
- Homeland Security Cybersecurity Market Report
- National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
- Technology Insights
- The Cyber Security Report
- The Next Generation Cyber Security Experts
Shows & Panels
Liberia exposes finances with city billboard
Friday - 1/25/2013, 4:03pm EST
By JONATHAN PAYE-LAYLEH
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) - Liberia's people have a novel way of finding out how their government is spending their money.
On a bustling street in the capital, people can look up at an electronic information billboard that relays how state funds are being spent.
The U.S.-supported project in Monrovia aims to improve state transparency, and the government of Nobel laureate President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wants passers-by who might not normally read newspapers or surf the Internet to see what government projects are under way and where its money is being channeled.
Hundreds turned out Wednesday as the Harvard-educated president switched on the billboard, which is connected directly to the Finance Ministry's database, for the first time.
The billboard amounts to another step in the country's reconstruction following back-to-back civil wars from 1989 to 2003 that killed an estimated 250,000 people, displaced millions and devastated the economy. Founded in the mid-19th century by freed American slaves, the impoverished country has received hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid since the civil war.
The bright, colorful, viewer-friendly screen shows how tax dollars go to hospitals, roads, schools or agriculture, and how Liberia shapes up by sector compared to its West African neighbors.
Finance Minister Amara Konneh said the ultimate ambition is that Liberians "will hold public officials accountable for results." He acknowledged it won't be an antidote for corruption, but could help make inroads against it.
"The official corruption in our country is entrenched," Konneh told The Associated Press. "What we are doing by putting this symbol of openness out is to prevent; prevention is better than cure."
As Monrovians stopped to ponder the new billboard, some struggled to see the point or sensed a public-relations stunt.
"I don't see any significance," said James Smith. "Government should find another means to really educate people rather than plant billboards."
But Marie, a hairdresser who preferred to give only her first name, said: "Liberians should learn to appreciate a small beginning .... We were never being told of how our money was being spent. This is a way to start creating the awareness."
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)