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The call for Effective and Inclusive Governance in Africa: Bridging the Gap between Norms and Performance, joint analytical report of the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission and the International Peace Institute December 12, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, African Poor, Colonizing Structure, Corruption in Africa.
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IPI - International Peace Institute

Building on colonial rule’s multilayered identities of first-, second-, and third-class citizens, newly independent African countries regarded ethnolinguistic diversities entrenched in divergent political opinion as detrimental to unity and contrary to the nation-building project. They sought to dilute them in various systems of common-identity, single-nation projects and one-party systems.  The failure to accommodate multiple community identities constitutes a critical challenge that poses severe threats to lasting peace, stability, and development, with particular importance in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.

The combination of local mistrust in the current government and the opportunity for material gain present a recipe for violent conflict. Just as colonial powers developed systems focused on extracting resources from the continent to fund their own empires, local elites often use the profits from natural resources on the continent for their own ends. At the heart of the resource curse are issues of democratic governance. Without accountable institutions, the wealth from natural resources corrupts elites and thwarts democratic governance. – http://www.ipinst.org/media/pdf/publications/ipi_e_pub_effective_governance_in_challenging_environments.pdf

 

 

The “Africa rising” narrative has gained traction in recent years. But who, exactly, is rising? While statistics point to a continent whose fortunes have improved, many African citizens remain at the margins of socioeconomic development.  Citizens’ uprisings in North Africa and in Burkina Faso provide a fresh reminder of the danger in touting impressive economic growth statistics while the majority of a
country’s population remains excluded from democratic governance processes and development.
It is also widely believed that development failures and governance deficits lie “at the heart of
Africa’s violent conflicts.”

According to the report Africa will only live up to the “rising” narrative if it can strengthen its systems of governance, promote inclusive development, and embed a culture of democracy and peace. It examines the obstacles to effective governance in challenging environments—from identity crises to poor natural resource management. A growing youth bulge and the widespread marginalization of young people, enduring underdevelopment, and persistent inequalities are among the social and economic challenges that are negatively impacting efforts to improve governance.

The report argues that Recent reverses in peace and security across Africa illustrate the persistent gaps that exist between the aspirational norms of democratic governance and their implementation. Yet, in the face of these setbacks, policy responses tend to focus on the violent symptoms of insecurity rather
than addressing one of the primary root causes of these conflicts: poor governance. To overcome this ambivalent record, Africa needs a unified strategy to address the continent’s governance challenges and advance long-term peace and stability. Effective, inclusive, and accountable governance; visionary leadership; and solid democratic institutions are critical to ensuring Africa reaches its potential in ever challenging environments. Thus, restoring and strengthening governance in fragile and conflictaffected
contexts calls for a new social contract built on accountability and inclusiveness—of institutions, politics, economic growth, natural resource management, and the delivery of public services. This new social contract, which is an essential prerequisite to Africa’s transformation, has the potential to facilitate the kind of socioeconomic development and responsive, inclusive politics that leads to an enabling environment for sustainable peace and stability.

Exploring African responses to these challenges, the authors outline progress and setbacks in developing frameworks for effective governance and strengthening institutions at regional, national, and local levels. They offer a number of recommendations for the African Union, its member states, and others to enhance democracy, bridge the divide between governance standards and performance, and promote effective governance from the ground up. Read @ http://www.ipinst.org/media/pdf/publications/ipi_e_pub_effective_governance_in_challenging_environments.pdf

 

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