Accelerating Implementation: Scaling Our Country Support

Louise Russell-Prywata · Sep 2019

Since OpenOwnership was founded three years ago, the momentum for beneficial ownership transparency has grown enormously. The EU’s 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive is shifting the norm towards public beneficial ownership registers, and from 2020 the 52 Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative countries will be required to publish beneficial owners of extractives companies. More countries are committing to beneficial ownership transparency, and are increasingly looking to OpenOwnership for guidance on how to implement.

Supporting countries to publish open beneficial ownership data is central to our mission. It helps us deliver high-quality linked data via the OpenOwnership Register, and is the foundation for real world evidence showing how open beneficial ownership data benefits countries, companies, and societies.

We’ve advised several countries on implementation, such as creating effective data collection forms in Nigeria, and developing legislation in Kenya. Through our Pilot Program, we’ve also taken a deep dive into implementation in Ukraine and Kyrgyz Republic, providing support throughout the journey - from putting in place legal frameworks, to collecting data effectively, and publishing it publicly.

Earlier this year we consolidated what we learned into an online implementation guide, and are now poised to scale and help more countries implement beneficial ownership transparency in ways that generate high quality data and maximise policy impact.

Our strategy is to support countries that can lead the way by implementing beneficial ownership transparency themselves, and can catalyse others to follow. In partnership with the UK and the Open Government Partnership, OpenOwnership is bringing together such countries to form a Beneficial Ownership Leadership Group; this government-led coalition will connect and leverage national efforts to accelerate a global norms shift towards beneficial ownership transparency.

Our plans for in-country work strengthen this international advocacy by supporting concrete progress in Leadership Group member countries where the needs and potential impact are greatest. In the coming year this is set to include countries as diverse as Armenia, Kenya, Indonesia, Mexico and Nigeria; a unique opportunity to strengthen the global movement towards beneficial ownership transparency.

Our approach will be underpinned by two key factors, informed by our work to date:

First, the countries that request our support will be at different stages of implementing beneficial ownership transparency, and will operate within diverse contexts. To steer our support to where it can have the most impact, we’ll map each country’s activities to the six stages in our implementation guide, and use this to target and prioritise our support.

Second, identifying how and where OpenOwnership can best add value will depend on a solid understanding of each national context. We know what effective beneficial ownership data looks like, but the pathway to getting there will vary widely between countries, and support needs are likely to political as well as technical. We’ll therefore work directly with governments, and with partners including local civil society, OGP and EITI to assess opportunities and constraints that may affect implementation. We’ll use this to develop a bespoke support package for each country, in partnership with the government and stakeholders across civil society and the private sector.

To do this we need to increase our capacity to deliver. We’re currently recruiting two new Country Managers to lead engagement and delivery with a portfolio of countries. Given the diverse range of countries we’ll be working with more closely, we’re seeking candidates based anywhere within +/- 5 GMT. We’re particularly keen to hear from applicants with local knowledge of Leadership Group countries (listed in the job advert).

We’re also recruiting a Policy & Research Manager to deepen our evidence base for effective policy development and ensure that learning from our in-country work continues to drive the iterative development of our tools, policy recommendations and implementation guide.

We’re thrilled to be gearing up for this new phase, and are excited by the potential to tangibly accelerate progress on beneficial ownership transparency globally. If you are too, please help us spread the word about our job vacancies, or consider applying to join us!

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