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Governance and APRM Programme

Good governance assists countries to adhere to the rule of law, enhance economic performance and minimise conflict. This programme seeks to stimulate informed discussion and insightful research on governance in Africa, through the lens of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), the continent’s innovative governance monitoring and promotion instrument. The GAP programme also works with civil society organisations to strengthen their interest and meaningful participation in the APRM and related processes in the emerging African Governance Architecture (AGA). We aim to improve the ability of the APRM to contribute to governance reforms, institutions and processes. As a result SAIIA is widely seen as the leading independent authority on the APRM.

The current programme is a collaboration between SAIIA and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA). GAP also works with the APRM Secretariat on a project to enhance the interaction of the Pan-African Parliament with the APRM.

The World Economic Forum on Africa met on 3-5 May in Durban, and discussions included the need to enhance nations’ development through technological advancement.
  Sunday 23 April saw French citizens vote in the first stage of their presidential elections, with a second run-off stage for the two lead candidates Emmanuel Macron (of En Marche!) and Marine Le Pen (of the National Front) on 7 May. While Macron won a majority of the vote (65.8%) in the second round, the pertinent conversation to be had is not one of victories and losses, but one of opinions rather than outcomes – opinions that veer strongly towards the favourite new buzzword in politics: populism.
With the passing of struggle stalwart Ahmed “Uncle Kathy” Kathrada this week, we are freshly reminded of his legacy in the anti-apartheid movement as well as that of other struggle heroes who fought for freedom. Among them are ANC President Oliver Reginald Tambo and Steve Bantu Biko, the liberation activist murdered by security police 40 years ago, both of whom were commemorated on human rights day last month.
A prominent thread in the conversation about Africa’s development since the end of the Cold War has been the need for good governance. The continent’s resource and economic constraints have posed serious problems but a consensus has emerged that Africa’s success would hinge on getting its policies, institutions and public administration in order. This need for good governance was underscored by the tide of democratisation in the 1990s.
The recurring xenophobic violence is no new matter in South Africa. In 2006 an assessment on South Africa's state of democracy by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), urged the government to address the perception that migrant workers are unfair competition for locals.
Monday, 27 February 2017

The Future of Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe turned 93 last week, making him both one of the oldest and longest-serving presidents on the continent.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 251, February 2017
The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) today launched the Fourth edition of the African Governance Report (AGR-IV).
This year's African Union (AU) January summit, appropriately themed around the potential of the continent’s youth, sought to position the continental body to meet the challenges of the coming decades – an era during which the continent, having fallen behind its global peers, is pursuing a decisive developmental breakthrough.
Technology for Accountability, or 'T4A', is fast becoming the latest catchphrase in development. Also called 'civil tech', T4A broadly refers to any use of technology to further the aims of good governance, enhance transparency and promote accountability. To explore this area, SAIIA held a workshop on 'Technology and Accountability in Africa in the 21st Century' on 3 November 2016.
‘Grandpa, it’s enough.’ Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters party in South Africa, has called for President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe to step down and not ‘overstay his welcome’. At 92, Mugabe is the oldest president in the world, bearing ironic comparisons to the gods of Ancient Greece. Like Zeus, who refused to share power with his siblings, Mugabe is unlikely to step down anytime soon.

SAIIA Policy Briefing No 158, January 2017

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Trump’s plans for Africa

Donald Trump's election as the 45th President of the United States of America was announced on 10 November 2016 - a day set to be remembered in history books.
How can technology can be used to enhance accountability and governance, especially in the African context? What has worked and what hasn’t, and why? What role do young people play? And what are the downsides of new technology? SAIIA held a conference today to discuss these issues and others.
The 2016 Mo Ibrahim Index was released earlier this month.
Declining safety and deterioration in the rule of law are holding back progress in governance in Africa. This is according to the latest Ibrahim Index of African Governance.
Partnerships between government and civil society organisations (CSOs) can be volatile if not adequately nurtured, leading to mutual suspicion and questioning each other’s agendas. CSOs in South Africa have recently expressed dissatisfaction about the lack of consultation and implementation of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). This is a voluntary international initiative where government and CSOs work together to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. The OGP will reflect on its first five years in New York on 21-22 September 2016 and the stakes are high for South Africa to lead by example and…
The African Peer Review Mechanism – the continent’s home-grown governance assessment and promotion tool – seems to be slowly turning its fortunes around. On 6-7 September, it will hold a workshop in Sandton discussing how to implement its first ever five year strategy for 2016-2020.
The slowdown of the African economy – due to declining Chinese demand for raw materials, unsustainable, uneven growth and the potential Brexit fallout – calls into question the hopeful ‘Africa Rising’ narrative. What is holding back Africa’s development, and what’s being done about it? To what extent is corruption to blame, and is the continent’s 50-year development plan, Agenda 2063, up to the task of tackling it? The latest ‘Panama Papers’ revelations, released late July 2016, have implicated more African countries – 44 out of 54 countries on the continent use offshore financial structures.
A telling feature of South African municipal elections is the near seamless manner in which they blend into the country’s national political narratives. Whether this involves appeals to socio-economic transformation, combatting corruption, redistributing land, party brand-loyalty or invoking the images of party leaders – whose names will not appear on ballots on 3 August – an important subtext is that these elections are speaking to something altogether ‘bigger’ than local governance and the management of service provision. Cynics might even consider these polls mere warm-ups as we approach the main tournament of national elections in 2019.
The drought that has hammered Southern Africa over the past years is a potent reminder (if ever it was needed) of the foundational importance of agriculture to the continent’s fortunes. Agriculture remains a mainstay of Africa’s economy, accounting for around a third of GDP and two thirds of employment.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 232, May 2016
With eight countries already going to the polls and seven more planning to do so before December, 2016 has been a busy year for elections in Africa. At the halfway point of the year, what can be concluded about democratic processes across the continent? And what can be expected from the coming months?
African countries seem to be forever undergoing assessments and evaluations. Many stem from the governments of international development partners who have poured money into a plethora of projects, programmes and plans, and want to know what has worked and why. Others are commissioned by international organisations such as the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund that have likewise invested in development or infrastructure initiatives. Credit rating agencies also put African state’s political economies under their microscopes to pronounce on the investment climate.
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Turkey is the state with the most refugees worldwide, hosting three million refugees from Syria alone. It was therefore apt that Istanbul hosted the first ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) from 23 to 24 May 2016, building on Turkey’s humanitarian policy.
The ‘Land Question’. From legislation under consideration – such as the new Expropriation Bill – to a reopened land claims process, to violent evictions in Hammanskraal, to emotive rhetoric around current landholding patterns, the politics of land is shaking South Africa. In this, South Africa is not unique.