Idasa and Governance in Africa


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This presentation was made at a UNDP conference in Namibia in November 2009, considering governance indicators in Africa.

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  • Developed in 1998, first published in 2002. Next anticipated publication – May 09
  • UNECA – UN Economic Commission on Africa – 2002/3 report, revisions incorporated in 2006. A multi-country study – Idasa conducted the South Africa study and sat on the expert group advising the process. Study involved an elite panel survey, a desk-top study and a household survey that were cross-referenced to form the report. APRM – Idasa applied and was appointed as the Technical Support Agency (TSA) for the Democracy and Good Governance theme of the self-assessment. 9 sub areas – intra and inter state conflict; constitutional democracy; protection of economic, social, civil and political rights; judicial independence; the effectiveness of the public service; corruption; and, protection of the rights of women, children and vulnerable groups. Received submissions from government institutions, political parties and civil society. Also, reports from Community Development Workers across the country. Produced – technical report which was debate at a conference – feedback incorporated in final report submitted to the National Governing Council with a Programme of Action. Afrobarometer – comparative series of national public attitude surveys on Democracy, Markets and Civil Society. Scientific – focus on accurate and precise measurement of nationally representative samples. Policy relevant and used in advocacy. Advancing democracy in Africa by promoting the voice of public opinion. Local Governance Barometer, a research tool designed to measure local government performance. Developed by Idasa, together with its partners, international development agencies SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and Pact, the Local Governance Barometer generates scores for the state of governance in different municipalities. It translates the major aspects of good governance into locally relevant and easy to understand indicators. It is presently conducted in 50 municipalities across Africa. “ The Local Government Barometer has proven itself in practice to be a useful tool to address governance issues at local level in South Africa as it translates complex governance concepts into locally contextualised and relevant issues. It functions as a mirror for the participating groups as they receive critical but constructive feedback from other groups of stakeholders in the municipality. Comparative Study on the Development and Use of Governance Indicators in Africa - to research the political economy of the production and use of governance indicators at a country-level in cooperation with government and local stakeholders in Ghana, Mozambique and Rwanda. In all three countries the proposed research will present a description and analysis of the demand and supply sides of governance indicators at international, national and local levels. The inclusion of an analysis of local governance speaks to the need to ensure context and evidence-based as well as non-traditional data sources are incorporated in the study. In keeping with a current organisational focus on the development of governance indicators for Africa based on African instruments, the project will use the “AU Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance” as a reference framework for the analysis. The overall objective of the research is to enhance mutual accountability and transparency as an integral part of work to strengthen democratic processes on the continent. AU Charter project – run by Stefan Gilbert, Governance Specialist, Political Governance Programme
  • Countries that have signed: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, CAR, Congo-Brazzaville, Djibouti, DRC, Ethiopia The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius Namibia, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo
  • As Idasa, we view the Charter as marking a milestone in the AU’s attempt to promote various elements critical to the realisation of healthy democracies on the continent. Between 1990 and 2000, African states saw a rapid increase in democratic practices, with many countries opening up to multi-party parliaments, and other political and economic reforms. One should also note that, in comparison to pre-1990, the occurrence of unconstitutional regime change and conversely, the increase of elections that are deemed free and fair, is a movement that the Charter can directly support. Hence, Idasa has recently launched a project to build constituencies of support for the Charter in ten different African countries. The project is to last two years and it is hoped that one of the by-products of our efforts will be the ratification of the Charter in at least some of the countries targeted. Mapping exercises in the 10 countries concerned has now begun. The aim of this is to try and get a sense of what the political dynamics are in the country, locate potential partners, identify key institutions and individuals who shape and/or influence the political arena, and also to gain a better understanding of the legal process by which the Charter needs to be ratified. In February, we will gather the selected partners at a project Launch Workshop, where focus will be concentrated on developing country and continent strategies to realise the objectives. Country partners will be provided with a very modest sum of money to implement their own strategy workshops in their home countries. In some cases, we will seek to link on-going projects with the promotion of the Charter as this can lend greater weight to both initiatives. In particular, raising the issue of the Charter within contextual issues is an effective way of making the content of the Charter accessible and relevant. One of our primary roles, and that of our project partner the Africa Democracy Forum (a network of about 450 NGOs across Africa), will be to seek additional funds to implement national conferences, community involvement, and another workshop that would reunite all the country partners to review their work and share their experiences with the others. One of the important elements, in my view, is that the momentum of the project creates not only a national movement that can influence governments, but also an international dimension that can lend additional pressure and, perhaps more importantly, generate a sense of unity amongst all the participants in the campaign.
  • Idasa and Governance in Africa

    1. 1. INTRODUCING IDASA Idasa is an independent public interest organisation committed to promoting sustainable democracy based on active citizenship, democratic institutions, and social justice. Country-led Governance Assessments Sharing Experiences and Increasing Political Accountability Namibia, November 2009
    2. 2. Programmes <ul><ul><li>Idasa has nine programmes with expertise in </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Political facilitation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public education and training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coalition and network building </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Monitoring and information dissemination </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>Building a climate for Democracy </li></ul><ul><li>A Critical Ally of Transition </li></ul><ul><li>Supporting Critical Elections </li></ul><ul><li>Looking towards Africa </li></ul><ul><li>Building Democratic Institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Empowering Citizens </li></ul><ul><li>Building Capacity for Democracy </li></ul>I d asa: 20 Years of Democracy Advocacy The role of African think tanks in Accountable Politics 1987 2009
    4. 4. Engagement with Governance and Measuring Democracy <ul><li>Idasa’s Democracy Index </li></ul><ul><li>Measuring South Africa’s new democracy – how do you tell if you are moving forward? How can you seriously examine the quality of democracy? </li></ul><ul><li>Central question: Do the people rule and do they rule equally? </li></ul><ul><li>Developed 2002, refined from 150 to 100 indicators </li></ul><ul><li>Five Branches: Consensus on and Participation in Popular Self-government; Popular Selection of Decision-makers; Popular Control over Decision-makers; Equality; and Human Dignity </li></ul><ul><li>Involves work by five analysts and “scoring” by Idasa management based on analysis and experience in the field </li></ul>The role of African think tanks in Accountable Politics
    5. 5. Engagement with Governance and Measuring Democracy (2) <ul><li>UNECA Governance Study (Report & Revision) </li></ul><ul><li>South Africa’s APRM (2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Afrobarometer (ongoing) </li></ul><ul><li>Local Governance Barometer (ongoing) </li></ul><ul><li>Comparative Study of Governance (Ghana, Mozambique, Rwanda) </li></ul><ul><li>Developing ‘African’ Indicators - AU Charter on Democracy, Governance and Elections (measuring Africa by it own benchmarks) </li></ul>The role of African think tanks in Accountable Politics
    6. 6. The African Charter on Democracy, Elections & Governance <ul><li>Adopted by the African Union in January 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Thus far, only Mauritania (August 08) and Ethiopia (Jan 09 have completed the necessary ratification process </li></ul><ul><li>25 Member States have signed the Charter </li></ul><ul><li>For the Charter to become a legal instrument, 15 members must sign, ratify and lodge the ratification with the AU Commission </li></ul>The role of African think tanks in Accountable Politics
    7. 7. Idasa’s African Charter on DEG Project <ul><li>The project seeks to a) assess and measure ten countries using the Charter as a lens and b) build constituencies of support for the Charter in these 10 countries </li></ul><ul><li>The countries selected: Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and South Africa </li></ul><ul><li>This will involve desktop and in-country research and mapping exercises are underway at present </li></ul><ul><li>Identified local partners will attend a project Launch Workshop in February at which a report will be launched and country strategies will be developed in the service of ratification </li></ul>The role of African think tanks in Accountable Politics
    8. 8. Idasa’s African Charter on DEG Project (2) <ul><li>Report Structure </li></ul><ul><li>Governance Indicators </li></ul><ul><li>Incl. a comparative look at the World Bank, Freedom House, Economist Intelligence Unit, Bertelsmann Transformation Index and the Ibrahim Index of African Governance </li></ul><ul><li>2. Highlights based on Charter Chapters </li></ul><ul><li>Incl. a focus on democratic institutions, democratic elections and building a culture of democracy </li></ul><ul><li>3. Conclusion and ratification strategies </li></ul>The role of African think tanks in Accountable Politics
    9. 9. Discussion Points <ul><li>What are the incentives and disincentives for accountability and transparency? </li></ul><ul><li>What factors limit local capacity to both develop and use indicators in the service of accountability? </li></ul><ul><li>What factors shape and determine political will ? </li></ul><ul><li>What does ‘democracy’ mean in the African context? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the AU well placed to promote and ensure democratic practice? </li></ul>The role of African think tanks in Accountable Politics
    10. 10. Further information <ul><li> </li></ul>