Civil society, public action and accountability in Africa
Devarajan, Shantayanan ; Khemani, Stuti ; Walton, Michael, World Bank,
01 July 2011
This paper examines the potential role of civil society action in increasing
state accountability for development in Sub-Saharan Africa. It further develops
the analytical framework of the World Development Report 2004 on accountability
relationships, to emphasize the underlying political economy drivers of
accountability and implications for how civil society is constituted and functions.
It argues on this basis that the most important domain for improving
accountability is through the political relations between citizens, civil
society, and state leadership. The evidence broadly suggests that when
higher-level political leadership provides sufficient or appropriate powers for
citizen participation in holding within-state agencies or frontline providers
accountable, there is frequently positive impact on outcomes. However, the big
question remaining for such types of interventions is how to improve the
incentives of higher-level leadership to pursue appropriate policy design and
implementation. The paper argues that there is substantial scope for greater
efforts in this domain, including through the support of external aid agencies.
Such efforts and support should, however, build on existing political and civil
society structures (rather than transplanting "best practice"ā€¯
initiatives from elsewhere), and be structured for careful monitoring and
assessment of impact.
(1813.02 kb), English
Smouldering Evidence: The Charterhouse Bank Scandal
Smouldering Evidence, AfriCOG’s latest report, examines the Charterhouse Bank Scandal which has received much attention in the media recently and dates back several years. The report documents the scandal and analyses violations of law and criminal acts including money laundering and the curious flip-flopping of public officials, including the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, on the issue of whether the Bank should remain closed.
(825.69 kb), English
Report on the Regional Workshop on ‘Public Administration Reform in Africa: Towards and effective and efficient service delivery’
Africa Governance Institute,
Report of workshop held in July 2011 by the Africa Governance Institute (AGI) on the theme 'Public Administration Reform in Africa: towards an effective and efficient service delivery.'
(383.41 kb), English, French
SIERRA LEONE AT 50 IN THE LENS OF THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON DEMOCRACY, ELECTIONS
Society For Democratic Initiatives (Sierra Leone),
This report begins by detailing the political history of Sierra Leone from 1787 to the the end of civil war in 2002 and free and fair elections in 2007. Peace brought new hope for Sierra Leone and a promise to guarantee the fundamental human rights and freedoms particularised in the 1991 Constitution. Section 2 considers each of these freedoms and rights in turn and discusses the extent to which Sierra Leone has fulfilled promises of reform. Sections 3 to 7 elucidate and analyse the circumstances and institutions which lead to democratization and which now interact to ensure rule of law. A progress review concludes each section, applauding achievements and noting the challenges that must be faced in the context of Sierra Leone’s human rights' obligations. Corruption has tainted all endeavors to ensure good governance and this subject thus dealt with in detail under its own heading in Section 8. Here, developments by Sierra Leone in the fight against corruption are discussed and evaluated. The report concludes by bringing together its observations and recommendations.
(719.58 kb), English
Implementing the APRM: Views from Civil Society
South Africa Report
South African Insittute for International Affairs,
This report reflects the views of a group of civil society researchers and activists – convened by the APRM Monitoring Project (AMP) – on the implementation of the APRM in South Africa. It takes as supplementary reference points South Africa’s Implementation Reports (SAIRs). The report intends to complement the two SAIRs by providing evidence-based feedback on how the issues in the Country Review Report (CRR) have been addressed since 2007.
(1766.41 kb), English
The African Peer Review Mechanism at Country Level: Views from Kenya
Angela Reitmaier, SAIIA,
In Kenya, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) began well. In 2006 the country became the third African state to be peer reviewed and thus one of the APRM pioneers. But neither government nor civil society championed the implementation of the National Programme of Action (NPoA). Progress reports were prepared but reviews delayed at the continental level. Monitoring and evaluation were not institutionalised, and the NPoA was not harmonised with Kenya’s new development blueprint, ‘Vision 2030’. The APRM was already losing momentum in Kenya when the disputed presidential elections in December 2007 led to unprecedented violence and internal displacement of Kenyans. The analysis in the Country Review Report guided the peace mission of African Union mediator Kofi Annan, but did not bring the APRM itself back to national attention. The implementation of a new constitution and a planned Second Country Review could provide an opportunity for the APRM to anchor itself in Kenya.
Pre-requisites for re-energising the African Peer Review process are improvements at the continental level with a re-invigorated African Peer Review Forum, panel and secretariat and a Second Country Review of Kenya that actually takes place. What would be helpful are stronger continental guidelines on how to implement NPoAs and institutionalise civil society-led monitoring and evaluation and more learning between actors and stakeholders in APRM member countries. Finally, realising that a push for good governance is more likely to come from civil society, it would be important to link support for civil society to APRM activities.
(483.59 kb), English
Democracy, AID and Disenabling Environment: Motivation and Impact of Disenabling Environment on Development Work in Africa
Africa Civil Society Platform on Principled Partnership (ACPPP),
The Africa Civil Society Platform on Principled Partnership (ACPPP) is a continental platform established in 2010 to address continental challenges to the operating and internal environment of CSOs through among other strategies the establishment of a set of engagement principles with governments and development partners. This review is based on cases and discussions in 40 countries in Africa, to present the struggle of CSOs across Africa as they work in often hostile circumstances. Democracy, AID and Disenabling Environment presents a case for donors, governments and CSOs to take this worrying trend into account and consider how to address its causes and implications on development work across Africa. It aims to motivate all development stakeholders to act for countering the Disenabling Environment with its potentially devastating impact on our work on the African continent.
Bulletin of the African Peer Review Mechanism Secretariat Vol. 02 Quarterly April-June 2011
Includes articles on the 14th APR Forum, January 2011, missions to Zambia and Djibouti, and review of the APRM questionnaire.
(1274.96 kb), English, French
The "Born Frees": the Prospects for Generational Change in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Robert Mattes, Afrobarometer,
Afrobarometer working paper on the hopes of a rapid movement toward a transformed citizenry in 1994, based on an emerging post-apartheid generation of the new South African citizen, compared to the reality that many of the key fault lines of apartheid have been replicated within the new post-apartheid generation, which is less committed to democracy than their parents or grandparents. The working paper sets out that South African democracy remains dependent on performance based legitimation, the new political experiences of political freedom and a regular, peaceful, electoral process are diminished by frustrating encounters with the political process, victimization by corrupt officials, and enduring unemployment and poverty.
When Politicians Cede Control of Resources: Land, Chiefs and Coalition-Building in Africa
Kate Baldwin, Afrobarometer,
Workpaper which examines why many African governments have ceded power over the allocation of land to non-elected traditional leaders. Contrary to perceptions that traditional leaders’ power is a hang-over from the colonial period that has not been eliminated due to weak state capacity, the author argues that African politicians often choose to devolve power to traditional leaders as a means of mobilizing electoral support from non-coethnics. A new data set, including approximately 180 sub-national regions in Africa, was constructed by combining data from surveys with environmental, anthropological and historical data and is used to show that historical and geographic constraints do not fully explain patterns in the devolution of power to chiefs, and that traditional chiefs in a position to mobilize electoral support from politically unaligned ethnic groups are given greater responsibility over the allocation of land. The cross-sectional analysis is complemented by an analysis of changes in land legislation across time in each country, which shows that the prospect of competitive elections often triggers decisions to devolve power to chiefs.