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Governance, Democracy and Accountability (707)

SAIIA Policy Briefing No 158, January 2017
SAIIA Policy Insights No 39, December 2016
In the latest in SAIIA's series of briefings exclusively for our diplomatic members, we were pleased to host a closed diplomatic lunch discussion on 'The Gatvol Syndrome - The Year in Review, The Year Ahead', with SAIIA Chief Executive Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, and SAIIA Deputy Chairman Moeletsi Mbeki.
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.
The 2016 elections of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were scheduled for mid-September this year, and then postponed to 27 November. But the country is still nowhere near being ready to conduct a legitimate vote, and tensions there are reaching critical levels. What should South Africa be doing to help? 'Help'. That was the one-word message I received from my contact in the DRC. It was enough to tell me everything I needed to know.
SAIIA Research Report No 24, November 2016 Download - English Foreign Policy Programme As the global development landscape continues to evolve, new and emerging actors – countries transitioning from being aid recipients to aid providers – are becoming increasingly visible on the global scene. Although the approaches, interests and resources of emerging donors are far from uniform, their increasing presence in global development – particularly in fragile and conflict-affected settings – could create new ways of thinking about foreign aid and contribute to more horizontal, equitable and efficient practices. The rise of these donors also poses challenges: their compliance with…
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.
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.
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.
SAIIA, in partnership with the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation and the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to the launch of 'African Accountability: What Works and What Doesn’t’, edited by Steven Gruzd and Yarik Turianskyi.
Governance and accountability are vital elements in any society. Governance refers to the rules, procedures and institutions by which a state conducts its affairs. Accountability creates channels of communication and trust between a government and its citizens, as well as systems for holding officials responsible for their actions and policies.  In short, it is how a country is run and how the government and the governed interact with each other.
Nearly 26 years after he was forced out of power, former Chadian president Hissène Habré has been found guilty of crimes against humanity, torture (including sexual violence) and crimes of war committed under his rule from 1982 to 1990. He has been condemned to life imprisonment by the judges of the Extraordinary African Chambers (EACs), a court specially created by Senegal upon the request of the African Union (AU). This was the first trial of its kind on the continent and years of lobbying were necessary to convince the AU and Senegal to proceed with it. In pushing Africa to…
SAIIA, in collaboration with the Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa, hosted a panel discussion on 'The Panama lessons: how to effectively fight corruption and return funds'. This discussion will be led by HE Ambassador Valentin Zellweger, Director General of Public International Law and Legal Advisor of the Swiss Foreign Ministry.
‘I dream of the realisation of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in their effort to solve the problems of this continent.’ - Nelson Mandela
On 17-18 May, SAIIA and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) together held a regional civil society conference, ‘#ReviveAPRM: Where to Next for Civil Society?’ in Nairobi, Kenya.
Unless good governance is demanded by citizens, it will not be consistently supplied by authorities. For Africa, the nature of the relationship between governments and ordinary people, known as the social contract, has proven to be an enduring challenge in the post-independence period. Revolutionary technological advances over the past decade provide new opportunities for establishing deeper links between citizens and state institutions. Can they help Africans on their quest for better governance?
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 229, April 2016
Human Rights Day celebrates a precious proposition: each individual is a full member of society, with entitlements to opinion and behaviour that cannot be denied. It speaks directly to the ideal of human and civic freedom. For many people in South Africa and the continent at large, this is intimately linked to conceptions of democracy.
SAIIA cordially invites you to a SAIIA Roundtable on ‘The Habré Trial: African Justice in Action?’
SAIIA Research Report No 22, February 2016 Download - English Governance and APRM Programme Africa’s turn to electoral democracy over the past three decades has rightly been hailed as a significant achievement, but it has not rid the continent of restrictive and authoritarian governance impulses. This report attempts to interrogate the concept of ‘freedom’ and how it is faring in Africa. To do so, it conceptualises freedom in terms of ‘constitutional liberalism’, and discusses this conceptualisation in relation to two broad themes: constitutionalism and civil liberties.
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