Mwazna means “state budget” in Arabic and is a website, launched in April 2015, that is intended to empower citizens to monitor the revenue and spending of the Egyptian government. With the aid of clear visualisations, taxpayers and international backers can follow where their money is going. At a glance, it is evident that the bloated bureaucracy, subsidies, and interest payments for the exorbitantly high state debt eat up 75% of the budget. The state provides subsidies for things such as petrol, cooking gas, and bread, but also for the gigantic property bubble. Co-payments and extreme tax advantages drives housing construction in the desert cities on Cairo's periphery, even though almost no-one wants to live in these satellite cities; instead, millions move into the city’s informal residential districts. In contrast, 5% goes into the health sector, and only 3% is spent on the country's youth – even though more than half of the population (57.2%) is under 25. Developments can be analysed on a timeline, with the debt load tripling in size in the last four years, from 663 billion Egyptian pounds in 2009-10 to 1.4 trillion Egyptian pounds in 2013-14.
Mwazna is the product of two young Egyptians: internet entrepreneur and part-time hacker Amr Sobhy (who is also the originator of the Morsimeter) and data expert Tarek Amr. With the help of facts, they want to make emotionally-charged political discussions more objective. The state budget platform is equipped with an open data API, so that imiatatora don't have to re-invent the wheel, but can rather adapt the transparency tool for their own purposes.
We discovered this case through our Lab Around the World research trip.
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