The Association of Research and Analysis ZMAI has begun its activities in Africa with the support of the International Center for Local Democracy from Sweden. Part of the ZMAI team spent the past three weeks visiting several municipalities in Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. During the visit, Viktor Mitevski and Prof. Dragan Tevdovski met with local authorities, the local administration, representatives of the civil sector, and various affected citizen groups. According to them, each country has its own specifics and differs economically and politically, but there is one thing they have seen among all interlocutors: optimism for the future and the desire to improve conditions.

Collaboration with African municipalities aims to assist these administrations in improving participatory processes in the creation of local budgets through the publication of local civil budgets. With the support of the ZMAI Association, two-way communication between municipalities and citizens should be improved, and their requests should be heard and incorporated into local budgets.

According to the Executive Director of ZMAI, Viktor Mitevski, the digital progress of some countries is interesting, especially regarding electronic payment methods. On the other hand, there is also a great interest among all to democratize the processes of budgeting and involve as many citizens as possible.

Professor Tevdovski, on the other hand, spoke about the desire and enthusiasm of all actors, administrations, and citizens for the economy and development to move forward.

“The greatest impression left on me was the optimism of the people. The belief that things can change for the better. At every meeting, whether with local administration or citizens, everyone without exception enthusiastically provided suggestions for improving participatory processes in the budgetary process and were interested in hearing examples of successful practices from other countries. In economic theory (according to Keynes), it is known that the expectations of people drive the economy, and whenever they are positive, it is a strong signal that the economy will grow and move for the better. And this is a strong incentive for us to continue working in these countries and contribute to their progress in some elements.” – said Professor and former Finance Minister Dragan Tevdovski.