Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter will lead the African Regional Conference on the Right of Access to Information Feb. 7-9, in Accra, Ghana, hosted by The Carter Center and its partners in Africa.

Only five African countries currently have a statutory right to information and of these, some laws are being used repressively and others not implemented. Many obstacles continue to exist to  passing and implementing further legislation, including a failure of political leadership, a culture of secrecy, low public awareness, and institutional barriers.

"We are bringing stakeholders together to consider the issues in a meaningful way and will come up with a concrete action plan to move forward the right of access to information in Africa," said Laura Neuman, project manager of the access to information initiative at The Carter Center.

The conference will convene more than 100 participants representing regional and international institutions, government, civil society, media, academia, and the private sector from at least 15 countries in Africa. A regional action plan with specific guidance for African nations will be developed and function as an addendum to the 2008 Atlanta Declaration and Plan of Action for the Advancement of the Right of Access to Information <>.

Feb. 1, 2010


In Atlanta: Deborah Hakes, +1-404-420-5124


The Carter Center has worked in the access to public information field since 1999, with a special focus in Jamaica, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Mali, and China to support the establishment of comprehensive laws and voluntary disclosure strategies and assist their implementation and enforcement. The Carter Center also has worked at the regional level with organizations such as the Organization of American States, the World Bank, and regional civil society networks.

A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers in developing nations to increase crop production. The Center has observed over 70 elections in nearly 30 countries. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

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