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Report Finds Brazil Ranks First in Resource Transparency

The Revenue Watch Index report wants to help citizens get accountability from resource-rich governments.

The first Revenue Watch Index has been released, ranking Brazil in the top position, and Turkmenistan at the bottom. The report evaluating 41 countries with oil, gas and mining resources was released by U.S-based Revenue Watch Institute and Transparency International.

The report monitors how governments are publishing information about payments they receive from oil, gas and minerals.

Primary author Juan Carlos Quiroz, from Revenue Watch Institute, explains the importance.

"In all these countries, oil, gas and minerals are public resources," Quiroz said. "These resources belong to the state so citizens have a right to know what their governments are doing with the money they get from it and how they manage it."

Norway was second to Brazil on the list, and in third Russia was a surprise to Quiroz.

"That was a surprise because in many other indexes that measure good governance or corruption, they appear very high on the negative," Quiroz said. "What we found is that for the period where we researched which is 2006 to 2009 we found reports that contained information we were looking for."

Along with those three, nine other countries, including the United States, made it in the satisfactory category which was called comprehensive revenue transparency. A majority of countries, 29 out of 41, failed to pass the test, including resource heavyweights Venezuela, Indonesia, Nigeria and Angola, all ranking in the second of three sections, called partial revenue transparency.

Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Kuwait were ranked in the bottom section called scant revenue transparency.

Equatorial Guinea ranked second to last in the new transparency report.
Equatorial Guinea ranked second to last in the new transparency report.

Quiroz said being in the top section is necessary for citizen rights, but not a guarantee either.

"We know that transparency does not translate automatically into good governance or a democratic society but without information it is impossible to have any meaningful opportunity for accountability," Quiroz said.

Overall, the world's worst ranked region was sub-Saharan Africa, with Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea faring particularly badly.

The latter two were just above the worst of the worst,Turkmenistan,according to this ranking.