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Contxto – Latin America’s public sector is in dire need of a serious touch of technology for more transparency. And one startup from Panama is looking to address this issue in its native country and cut down corruption.
Through ContratistaVisible’s platform, citizens can view the management of public projects in a user-friendly way. Naturally, this brings about more accountability to governance.
A scandal that led to a startup
Remember the Panama Papers? That’s right, that big ol’ leak from 2016 that revealed the offshore fiscal shenanigans of politicians and celebs alike. For one Panamanian, the event left a lasting impression.
Capi Balid studied abroad, but upon returning to Panama and the surfacing of these tidbits on tax evasion, things changed. He soon became interested in topics related to transparency and public access to information. Balid was also concerned that transparent initiatives often present boatloads of information that aren’t digested for your average citizen.
So, in the end, those projects, while built on good intentions, were futile because people didn’t understand what they were being shown.
In the end, he was determined to make it possible for citizens and governments to be on the same wavelength. For that he set out to develop the most transparent government platform in the world.
ContratistaVisible went live last December and the first government agency to sign up and appear was the Panamanian government’s Ministry of Public Works. At the moment it hosts 201 projects. Among which 137 are still ongoing, 63 have already been concluded, and one is on hold. There are other government institutions interested in signing up.
Giving data visibility with technology
As a user, it’s pleasant to see the information on ContratistaVisible displayed in a summarized way. The platform gives you the name of the public official managing the project, its progress, assigned budget, the deadline for its completion, among other scraps of information.
To add another layer of transparency ContratistaVisible reports that all information shown is live. Meaning as a public works inspector places the information into their own reports, it’s added directly to ContratistaVisible’s platform. This feature hypothetically cuts down corruption as information isn’t intercepted by third parties before a user sees it.
Nonetheless, that doesn’t hinder whoever feeds the information from tampering with the data now does it?
Moreover, considering that the Americas region from Canada to Tierra del Fuego scored an average regional score of 44 out of 100 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index means there’s still more to be done.
There’s a long road to squeaky-clean governance. But hopefully, startups can help in this regard as they’ve done in others through technology.
Wanna hear more? We recommend you listen to the following podcast episode: Ser o no ser blockchain, y un poco más de profundidad sobre criptomonedas. Time stamp available in the description.