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Rethinking infrastructure in Africa: a governance approach

21 Apr 2017 09:57:46 GMT

Infrastructure deficits have long been recognised as being central to Africa’s developmental malaise. This paper looks at the state of the continent’s infrastructure, with a focus on the actions that governments can take to spur its development. In other words, it attempts this analysis from the perspective of governance. By any measure, Africa is on average less well provisioned with infrastructural assets (roads, railways, power grids, communication networks, water and sanitation systems) than any other part of the world. Much of what does exist has been degraded by unsatisfactory maintenance. The most comprehensive estimate is that an amount of some $93 billion annually will be needed until 2020 to achieve the necessary development. Funding continues to fall short of this, although the sums available are growing. Africa’s governments, bilateral and multilateral donors and the private sector are all investing large amounts in infrastructure. Funding is no longer the defining problem in relation to Africa’s infrastructure development, and questions of governance need to be accorded greater recognition.


Studies demonstrate that gains are to be had through better project preparation, greater efficiencies and so on. Adequate maintenance is particularly important. These actions would help secure better infrastructure without significantly greater outlays. Achieving them would, however, require sometimes tough and politically unpopular decisions – making appropriate governance choices are therefore critical. Managing infrastructure construction and maintenance across borders is central to Africa’s infrastructure needs. With so many countries landlocked, cross-border links are imperative for their economic fortunes. This is a complex issue, and resolving it demands that governments and regional institutions cooperate with one another, imposing another set of governance choices. The paper concludes by noting the need to shift debate around Africa’s infrastructure to the governance obstacles it needs to confront. It suggests that governance action could be taken in seven areas to help achieve this: finance; policy, planning and project preparation; efficiency; the regulatory environment; private sector involvement; engagement of Africa’s people; and a focus on regional integration.

South Africa’s local content policies: challenges and lessons to consider

04 Apr 2017 11:03:59 GMT

South Africa’s Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) identifies local content as a strategic industrial policy instrument to leverage the power of public procurement; reduce the country’s trade deficit; address market failures; foster infant industries; and increase the
government’s tax base (the dti, 2016). Although local content is a commonly used industrial policy lever, there is no formally agreed definition of what local or content means, and this makes implementing the policy difficult.

The main problem with local content policies in South Africa is they are not leading to the desired level of procurement from local manufacturers. This problem persists for several reasons. Local producers often fail to compete against foreign suppliers on both quality and price, unless they are given more time to increase, improve and modify their capacity and capabilities to suit specifications. However, procurement regulations allow no space for negotiations between procurers and suppliers, leading to non-compliance by many local suppliers or total exclusion from the process. Moreover, transaction costs of locally manufactured goods are usually higher than foreign-sourced goods. The relevant systems required to measure and monitor imports and compliance on local content and procurement are inadequate, compounding the difficulty of monitoring and evaluating the policy.

Key findings from the research suggest no overarching cost and quality data on local content exists. Therefore, programmes should be established to provide suppliers with timely information on specifications, price, and quality, so that local producers can comply, and have sufficient forewarning and upgrading support. Systems to monitor imports and compliance need to be put in place, including providing a clear regulatory and legislative framework that provides a simple and concise definition of local content.

This policy brief assesses the key challenges and lessons that determine the success and failure of local content policies in South Africa. In particular, it analyses the economic rationale for using local content policies. Furthermore, the brief highlights the reasons
local content policies are not effecting the desired level of local procurement and why the problem persists, and suggests possible solutions.

Wanted: good governance - protection of minorities and human rights in Northern Iraq

04 Apr 2017 03:44:46 GMT

Dealing with the aftermath of the current situation in northern Iraq requires a a mid-and a long-term strategy. Both have to recognize limitations that are due to the cyclical re-occurence of conflict and that mirror specific historical and socio-political circumstances. The success of mid-term strategies to tackle the stream of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) will depend in large part on the convincing development of long-term positive scenarios for the future of Iraq, introducing noticeable political and socio-economic change.

In the mid-term, promoting good governance practices, the protection of human rights, integration of refugees and ethnoreligious minorities with aid projects that benefit both the displaced and host communities ought to be rewarded. In the long-term, a sustainable conflict resolution as well as a solution for the withdrawal of international actors must be found even if the current political realities and military strategies in the country impede this and increase the need for external aid.


  • create inclusive economic incentives - camps can only be a strictly short-term solution. In the mid-term, cash-for-rent schemes under the roof of an international organisation such as the United Nations are necessary. Add rent subsidies from the beginning and combine vocational training, higher education and cash-for-work schemes in parallel to create inclusive economic incentives in the long run
  • promote small- and medium-sized enterprises with a conflict-sensitiveapproach - connect profound conflict and market analyses to (re-)build sustainable livelihood activities and markets. Rather than returning to an inefficient economic system, small- and medium-sized enterprises ought to be promoted
  • apply a needs-based community approach that addresses IDPs, refugees and hosts alike - foster local integration and reintegration policies of regional governments by creating the necessary additional infrastructure (housing/education/health) in destination communities as a compensation for the solidarity of hosting populations rather than increasing social tensions by targeting specific groups—such as vulnerable persons
  • link the protection of human rights with the delivery of assistance - reward minority/human rights guarantees, (re-) integration projects and good government practice by making them a prerequisite for assistance
  • foster reconciliation activities between host communities and the displaced - frame all activities with inter-community trust-building activities intended to foster reconciliation.Infrastructure projects should create spaces that connect hosts and displaced persons while respecting traditional structures of ethno-religious co-existence amongst different communities
  • make psychosocial support mandatory - Traumata are prevalent and have to be addressed in all projects by providing respective psychosocial support.

Interrogating Decentralisation in Africa

31 Mar 2017 12:10:22 GMT

This issue of the Open Access IDS Bulletin examines the impact of decentralisation at the local level through detailed case studies of five countries – Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. The issue deals with all three of the main aims for decentralisation reforms in Africa: improved service delivery, democracy and participation, and a reduction in central government expenditure. It analyses micro, comparative stories by accumulating evidence on how decentralisation works differently within each featured country, and the factors that are responsible for differential outcomes.

Contributors are mostly African scholars who live under the region’s decentralised systems and study them with a proximate lens often denied to visiting scholars. Their research questions, on their countries’ respective policy agendas, are joined by the common belief that more innovative methods should be applied to these questions in order to get at better explanations.

While decentralisation is an important issue, systematic analyses of its outcomes are limited. This IDS Bulletin represents first efforts to use more innovative and incisive methods to understand decentralisation and its impact.

South–South peacebuilding: lessons and insights from Turkey and South Africa’s support to fragile states

31 Mar 2017 04:14:43 GMT

Emerging actors, such as providers of South–South cooperation (SSC), are increasingly playing a role in peacebuilding, particularly in fragile states and conflict-affected areas. While there is much discussion on the role of emerging donors in sustainable development, there is little empirical evidence on their contribution to peacebuilding and state building. Joint research by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the Center for International Cooperation (CIC) analysed the features of South African and Turkish assistance to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia respectively, to unpack what sets these emerging economies apart from Western powers operating in similar environments.

This paper compares the peacebuilding approaches of South Africa and Turkey and attempts to assess their effectiveness in relation to the approaches of traditional donors. Evidence from the two case studies shows that, while operating under different paradigms, principles and drivers, Southern providers not only bring substantive support to fragile states but also get different types of results and responses from host countries. While it is still difficult to discern a clear ‘Southern peacebuilding model’, emerging economies play an important role in promoting peaceful and inclusive societies and accountable institutions, in their region and internationally.

Balancing coal mining and conservation in South-West Ethiopia

28 Mar 2017 11:09:37 GMT

Ethiopia is confronted by the challenges of a growing population and a diminishing natural resources base. The country’s economic growth has relied heavily on agriculture, but progress in this sector has been hampered by the lack of access to agricultural inputs like fertiliser. Ethiopia has devised a range of development strategies for meeting agricultural and energy needs through the extraction of coal resources.

Exploiting the considerable coal deposits found in Ethiopia’s south-western Afromontane forests would produce coal phosphate fertiliser and electricity in the coming decades. However, the forests are sites of exceptional biodiversity. With these conflicting interests in an area of high biodiversity, Ethiopia now faces pressure from competing uses of forestland, forcing the government to identify ecologically and economically feasible approaches to reconcile biodiversity conservation and coal extraction.

Civil society’s role in shaping Zimbabwe’s diamond governance

28 Mar 2017 11:00:01 GMT

Zimbabwe confirmed that alluvial diamonds had been discovered in the Marange area in Mutare District in 2006. However, as in many otherAfrican countries, the promise diamond mining holds for economic growth has been eroded by a lack of transparency and accountability. The country’s diamond sector has been bedevilled by smuggling, opaque licensing, human rights abuses, self-enrichment by executives and public officials, and extremely limited accrual of diamond revenues to the fiscus, among others. Civil society monitoring and lobbying at local, national and international levels has played a critical role in improving the governance of Zimbabwe’s diamond sector.
This briefing highlights the actions civil society has taken to promote transparency and accountability in Zimbabwe’s diamond sector. It concludes that civil society has contributed significantly towards better diamond sector governance in Zimbabwe in the last 10 years. It has also helped to broaden the view of what constitute conflict diamonds among international bodies such as the Kimberley Process (KP) Certification Scheme, the World Diamond Council (WDC) and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB).

Indigenous participation in resource development: a paradigm shift

28 Mar 2017 03:47:42 GMT

Indigenous Peoples as a demographic are amongst the poorest and most marginalized on the planet. Many have been displaced and exist in territories where extreme conditions make sustainable economic development challenging, with infrastructure, water and energy costlyand unstable. Often, traditional ways of life are no longer able to get them out of the poverty which they face. Government programs to a large degree have proven ineffective and can serve to perpetuate the inequality and marginalization that persists. As a result, many communities have looked elsewhere for solutions. While the old paradigm in resource development at best did little to close the gap in territorial inequality of these marginalized communities, new tools are emerging that are developed through community participation, rooted in collaboration and empowerment. Resource development today more than ever before presents opportunities for both sides to enrich each other’s lives and that of the global collective.
Resource development exists in some of the most remote parts of the globe, often alongside Indigenous Peoples. It brings with it billions of dollars in investment, jobs, business opportunities, programs and attention to often times forgot regions of the world. While successful examples of resource development bridging the inequality gap have historically been few and far between, instead fostering a slew of socialand environmental problems and perpetuating inequality, we are seeing more and more success stories. Resource development, if done right, can transform societies even the poorest economies.
This paper will suggest that through Indigenous participation in resource development, a new model based on true collaboration is born which can be a powerful solution to territorial inequality. This paper will look at new opportunities and models in resource development that can serve to empower communities and reduce inequality through best practice examples and case studies from the Canadian context and the potentials that exist elsewhere, particularly in Latin America. It will highlight factors that have been seen to exacerbate the problematique such as land rights, resettlement and the environment. Lastly, it will look at regions which have proactively developed and implemented regional development strategies around mining such as Northwest Territories (NWT), in areas of historically marginalized Indigenous groups, using mining to transform territorial inequality into a competitive edge.

Ageing and the city: making urban spaces work for older people

28 Mar 2017 02:51:20 GMT

Today, more than half of the world’s population live in cities, with this proportion set to rise to two-thirds by 2050. The global population is also ageing rapidly, with the numbers of people aged over 60 set to pass the 1 billion mark over the next decade. A significant and growing number of the world’s urban residents are older people – more than 500 million. These two trends – urbanisation and population ageing – are occurring most rapidly in low- and middle-income countries.

Research shows that for older people, cities present physical, social and economic barriers that prevent them realising their right to live in dignity and safety, or enjoying their surroundings. Groundbreaking initiatives to make cities more appropriate for older persons, such as the World Health Organization’s Age-friendly Cities and Communities model, have led to improvements in a number of cities.
Physical accessibility is absolutely essential, but thinking beyond this, what makes shared urban spaces and streets truly inclusive and liveable? What is the relationship between our health in older age and the physical, social and economic urban environment? What makes older people living in cities feel vulnerable to crime or disaster, and how does this affect their daily lives or the assistance they receive in times of crisis? These are some of the questions explored by this report.
Focusing on low- and middle-income countries, this report aims to stimulate discussion about some of the actions that governments and city authorities can take to build truly inclusive cities. It draws on the programme experience of the HelpAge International network across a range of settings, including in Kiev (Ukraine), Beirut (Lebanon), Bogotà (Colombia) and Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan).

The research process involved a literature review, engagement with a range of experts and a series of focus group discussions with older women and men in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Mexico City (Mexico), Sukkur and Peshawar (Pakistan).
The report concludes that a broad range of interrelated interventions can do much to improve urban environments for older people. HelpAge International calls on governments and city authorities to:
  • create inclusive and enjoyable shared urban spaces that encourage social activity and provide easier access to services and opportunities for all by reducing car use and traffic speeds, promoting walking and cycling, developing dense, mixed-use communities, and supporting those engaged in street-based livelihood activities. This also includes providing green and public spaces that encourage physical activity and social interaction, and increasing public transport provision that is adequate, accessible, safe and accountable
  • promote healthy ageing and tackle the key risk factors linked with urban living by tackling the high rates of non-communicable diseases in cities through awareness raising and encouraging physical activity and healthy eating, reducing air pollution from all sources, and creating communities that support people with dementia
  • help older urban residents feel safe and secure living in a city by involving older people in disaster preparedness planning, promoting better coordination between humanitarian actors and city authorities to ensure the specific needs of older people are met in times of emergency, and recognising the specific challenges facing displaced older people. Also, cities should consider crime, personal safety and security in planning and policy decisions, particularly in streets and shared spaces and on public transport

The governance of basic education in the Eastern Cape

28 Mar 2017 02:11:04 GMT

The Eastern Cape province experienced extensive governmental re-organisation following South Africa’s 1994 democratic transition. This entailed significant structural consolidation in the provincial government, and the integration of a disparate set of political and administrative actors under the stewardship of the African National Congress (ANC).

This process has had a profound effect on the province’s capacity to shape and implement policy, especially in institutionally  fragmented sectors such as basic education. Employing the political settlements framework to characterise the province’s governance transformation, we describe how historical patterns of clientelism were transplanted into a post-apartheid political and administrative settlement, resulting in considerable intra-party cleavages amongst the political elite and impeding the growth of a rule-compliant, insulated and performance-driven bureaucracy. This has been particularly acute in the education sector, which has seen chronic leadership instability, politicisation and financial mismanagement, and which has compromised the cohesion and integrity of provincial school oversight and policy management.

Competitive clientelism and the politics of core public sector reform in Ghana

28 Mar 2017 02:05:08 GMT

lthough Ghana has implemented several donor -sponsored public sector reforms (PSRs) in an attempt to improve core areas of state functionality, the impact of such reforms remains generally disappointing. In this paper, we show that the nature of the political settlement in Ghana, described as one of ‘competitive clientelism’, is central to understanding the country’s limited success in improving the effectiveness of public institutions.

Faced with a credible threat of losing power to excluded factions in competitive elections, reform initiatives tend to be driven largely by the logic of the maintenance of ruling governments , rather than by their potential to enhance the effectiveness of state institutions. This has often resulted in decisions that undermine reform efforts, ranging from needless and costly institutional duplications to the politicisation of the bureaucracy through patronage-based appointments, and the wholesale removal of public servants perceived to be associated with previous regimes. In this political environment, policy discontinuities across ruling coalitions are a norm, undermining the impact of reform initiatives that require a longer-time horizon to bear fruit.

The Bangladesh paradox: why has politics performed so well for development in Bangladesh?

28 Mar 2017 01:57:13 GMT

Bangladesh is widely seen as a ‘paradox’ in terms of governance and development because of the apparent imperfections of its political institutions and its leading players. It scores low/very low on many indicators of the quality of governance. It is close to the top of the global league table for corruption. But, over the last quarter of a century, it has maintained economic growth around a steady 5 to 6% per annum, has out-performed India on most social indicators and has brought down its fertility rate from more than 6 to around 2.2 births per woman. It has made great progress with the Millennium Development Goals, especially with poverty reduction but also in fields seen as especially difficult for a Muslim majority country - maternal mortality has dropped dramatically and girls match/outnumber boys at primary school level. Its government disaster management programs have
reduced deaths from super-cyclones by more than 99% (they used to drown up to 500,000 people in the 1970s but now mortality levels are well below 5000). Bangladesh is a ‘success’.
This briefing paper examines why and how political processes in Bangladesh have performed so well when the main theories of governance and development would predict economic and social stagnation.
Policy implications:
  • both a strong ideological preference for market-led growth amongst political elites together with a politically strong business community are needed to support a persistent ordered deals environment. The persistence of ordered deals creates enabling conditions for growth
  • it helps to conduct a political analysis at the outset of the key people who will oppose a development agenda and identify how to align policy agendas to minimise opposition
  • development in areas such as education and women’s empowerment is supported when there is an alignment with dominant ideas and incentives that shape the ruling coalition
  • when development agendas don’t align with the dominant ideas and interests of the ruling coalition, local level collaborative coalitions are needed, to run counter to national level policy and come up with problem-solving fixes
  • incentives within the political settlement should be identified to improve the status of the teaching profession, encourage teachers to perform better and hold teachers accountable

How transparent are think tanks about who funds them 2016?

24 Mar 2017 12:41:10 GMT

Through a survey of 200 think tanks in 47 countries worldwide, Transparify rates the extent to which think tanks publicly disclose through their websites where their funding comes from. The authors visited think tanks’ websites and looked at the funding and donor information disclosed online, including in online annual reports.

Rating and ranking institutions: a ten-step guide for think tanks and advocacy groups

24 Mar 2017 12:34:44 GMT

Ratings and rankings have become a staple output of advocacy groups and think tanks worldwide. This document offers a quick ten-step guide on how to write and achieve maximum impact with ranking reports.

The BRICS in an age of multipolarity: sustaining strategic partnerships under difficult economic conditions

23 Mar 2017 11:42:27 GMT

Culminating in the formation of the New Development Bank (NDB), which was inaugurated at the Ufa Summit in 2015, the influence of the BRICS countries has now clearly gone beyond the economic arena, with the grouping evolving into a vital multilateral cooperation mechanism including Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America,with the potential to bring new vitality and momentum for global growth.
This special edition of Global Dialogue contains contributions from scholars in the BRICS countries and beyond. Authors were encouraged to explore areas in their respective fields of expertise that would contribute to our understanding of the evolving nature of cooperation within and amongst the BRICS countries.
  • The BRICS in an age of multipolarity: Sustaining strategic partnerships under difficult economic conditions - Philani Mthembu
  • Intra-BRICS financial cooperation: Opportunities and challenges - Wang Fei
  • The BRICS agenda: functional co-operation between competing logics - Pooja Jain
  • Between dependence and autonomy: Understanding the power dynamics in Brazil–China relations -Daniel Cardoso
  • BRICS 2016 and IBSA’s ‘Three Blind Mice’ -  Francis Kornegay Jr
  • New economy and participation society: A general outline of the issue, formation of approaches in the BRICS countries and their promotion in the information space - Vadim V. Balytnikov
  • Current political and legal issues of international commercial arbitration: Globalisation of economy vs glocalisation of law - Aleksey Kartsov
  • Youth participation in the BRICS Youth Summits - Sarisha Daya
  • Book Review: The End of American World Order by Amitav Acharya - Siphamandla Zondi
  • Interview with Prof. Godfrey Netswera, head of the South African BRICS Think Tank (SABTT)

South African banks footprint in SADC mining projects: environmental, social and governance principles

23 Mar 2017 10:58:34 GMT

Environmental,  social  and  governance  (ESG)  concerns  are  an  increasingly  important  factor worldwide for banks when they invest in large projects. In the Southern African region with its rich mineral deposits, this trend has added importance. Mining companies extract minerals from the ground, and their activities routinely give rise to public concerns about the pollution of water sources, adequate land for agriculture, and fair community participation in mining projects. South African law accepts that the directors of corporations such as banks have fiduciary obligations to act in the best interests of shareholders.

Given the importance of mining activity to economies in Southern Africa an important question aligned to this fiduciary duty is this: Are banks when conducting business obliged to act in the best interests of stakeholders affected by the activities of the mining companies they fund? The trite response is that banks have recognised their obligations to communities through their commitment to SRI (socially responsible investment) practices and internal ESG processes that ensure that their funding decisions result in no harm to communities.

This paper sets out to critically consider the effectiveness of ESG principles implemented by South Africa’s banks when they fund mining projects in the SADC region. There are internal differences  in  ESG  principles  between  banks,  and  a  variety  of  funding  methods  to  which  the principles  are  applied. The study evaluates the ESG frameworks used by each bank and, given the significant market share, aggregates this information to present a picture of the effectiveness of  these  frameworks. The approach taken is a critical one, meaning that what is presented in bank annual reports and sustainability reports is not merely accepted, but (to the extent possible) internal ESG risk frameworks are interrogated for adequacy of application by banks when funding mining  projects. The effectiveness of the implementation of internal ESG  procedures  by banks is then measured against available evidence. This evidence includes the effects of mine project  funding  decisions  of  banks  on  ESG  categories  as  ascertained  from  public  information.  

After consideration of the evidence, observations and conclusions are provided on the analysis. In the closing section, recommendations are provided on areas for possible focus to improve the effectiveness of ESG principles used by banks in the SADC region.

Mineral governance barometer - Southern Africa

23 Mar 2017 10:35:35 GMT

Southern Africa is endowed with lucrative mineral resources such as diamonds, gold, copper, coal, platinum, and uranium.  This rich endowment can be a major asset in the quest for inclusive and sustainable development, yet mining in Southern Africa has often been criticised as an enclave sector that at best contributes little to economic development and at worst does substantial social and environmental harm.  To avoid such pitfalls emerging international consensus emphasises the importance of good mineral governance. This involves the adoption and implementation of regulatory frameworks that promote deeper linkages between the mining sector and the broader economy, and that protect people and the environment from the potentially harmful consequences of mineral extraction.

This pilot study provides a barometer of mineral governance in ten Southern African countries: Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, South  Africa,  Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The barometer takes stock of mining regulations in place at the end of 2015, the extent to which they are implemented, and features of supporting institutions.  It is based on the observation that while regulations impose obligations on mining companies, in doing so they directly impose obligations on the state to monitor and enforce compliance, and they also indirectly impose obligations for citizens and civil society to hold the state and mining companies accountable.  The barometer includes indicators of mineral governance  across  four  main  issue-areas:  national  economic  and  fiscal  linkages;  community  impact; labour, and the environment, with artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) treated as a special topic.  The barometer also includes indicators of state capacity and state accountability with respect to mineral governance.

Do electoral handouts affect voting behavior?

23 Mar 2017 03:25:40 GMT

The literature on vote-buying often assumes a complete transaction of cash for votes. While there is ample evidence that candidates target certain voters with cash handouts, it is unclear whether these actually result in higher turnout and vote shares for the distributing party.

Empirically, using different matching techniques and accounting for district-level factors, the authors find that cash handouts have little to no effect on either turnout or vote shares during the 2011 presidential election in Benin. They cross-validate these results with additional surveys from four other African countries (Kenya, Mali, Botswana, and Uganda). Results suggest that vote-buying is better explained as an incomplete transaction between candidates and voters and that handouts from multiple parties as well as district-level traits (e.g. patronage, public goods) may account for the null effects observed.

Lessons from Rwanda: female political representation and women’s rights

16 Mar 2017 03:50:33 GMT

Gender equality is a basic human right that entails equal opportunities for men and women in all facets of life: socially, economically, developmentally and politically. According to the Beijing Platform for Action, without the active participation of women in and the incorporation of their perspectives at all levels of decision-making, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot be achieved.
This paper sets out to examine the increased female representation in Rwanda’s Parliament to determine whether it has affected women in other spheres of life. It also provides an overview of the current status of women in African politics, as well as of the current governance situation in Rwanda.
It is clear that Rwanda has made significant efforts to elevate the status of women in its post-genocide society. However, it is also important to recognise Parliament’s limitations in an increasingly authoritarian system of governance. While women members of Parliament have passed legislation to empower women in society, a lack of information and education prevents many from taking advantage of new opportunities. Yet Rwanda is clearly on the right path towards improving its gender parity and must uphold its efforts to do so, while prioritising formal education for girls and women at all levels.

Public trust in elections: the role of media freedom and election management autonomy

16 Mar 2017 03:22:03 GMT

As multiparty elections have become a global norm, scholars and policy experts regard public trust in elections as vital for regime legitimacy. However, very few cross-national studies have examined the consequences of electoral manipulation, including the manipulation of election administration and the media, on citizens’ trust in elections.
This paper addresses this gap by exploring how autonomy of election management bodies (EMBs) and media freedom individually and conjointly shape citizens’ trust in elections. Citizens are more likely to express confidence in elections when EMBs display de facto autonomy and less likely to do so when mass media disseminate information independent of government control. Additionally, the authors suggest that EMB autonomy may not have a positive effect on public trust in elections if media freedom is low. Empirical findings based on recent survey data on public trust in elections in 47 countries and expert data on de facto EMB autonomy and media freedom support our hypotheses.

Electricity supply in South Africa: Path dependency or decarbonisation?

14 Mar 2017 02:06:58 GMT

Renewable energy technologies have experienced an exponential growth in South Africa, thanks to the procurement of large-scale power plants. However, South Africa’s electricity sector still lacks a level playing field. Significant vested interests have maintained overwhelming support for centralised, coal-based electricity generation, preventing the development of renewable energy technologies to their optimal potential. Active efforts are required to enhance the transformation of electricity supply in the country by truly incorporating the low-carbon transition in electricity planning, opening the policy space for the development of embedded generation, and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.

The electricity sector in South Africa is a highly contested space. The emergence of renewable energy technologies (along with energy efficiency and other demand-side management opportunities) has generated healthy revitalisation and disturbance of the status quo in the industry. Discussions around other technologies, such as gas-to-power and nuclear energy, are also adding to this vibrant dynamics. Significant vested interests are still at play alongside massive state support to maintain the domination of the coal industry over the electricity supply industry in South Africa.

Active efforts are required to provide a level playing field for all energy technologies and enhance the transformation of electricity supply in the country. This includes truly incorporating the low-carbon transition in electricity planning, open the policy space for the development of embedded generation and phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

Capacity building for decision makers to use evidence in policy making in Sudan

28 Feb 2017 03:29:08 GMT

Sudanese public policy is often seen as typically based on party ideology and the changing interests or socio-cultural beliefs of the National Congress party, which is a leading political party in the country. This is particularly the case with policies that disproportionately affect women such as the Public Order Laws. Many trainers, including from the Gender Centre for Research and Training (GCRT) have delivered training to policymakers on gender-related issues in the past with the goal of mainstreaming gender in development policies and practices. The training activities have often focused on specific issues such as engendering constitutional reform or Female Genital Mutilation and on presenting specific research findings to policymakers.
Here the authors discuss the gaps, needs and challenges faced by policymakers and civil society on gender issues in Sudan.

Building capacity for the use of research evidence in Ghana’s Ministry of Employment

28 Feb 2017 03:17:39 GMT

The importance of evidence in public policy making is widely recognised in Ghana at top levels of government. The overarching national development strategy, the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Strategy (GSGDA II), sees evidence playing a key role in strong and efficient development planning and economic management. This is reflected in sector policies including the National Employment Policy, which takes an explicitly evidence-based approach, including focusing on promoting and supporting research to inform employment policy and formally including local think tanks and research institutes in its consultations for policy development.
This case study reports on the impact of evidence-informed policy making training developed through the VakaYiko project and the impact of this training on the Research, Statistics and Information Management Directorate of Ghana’s Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations.

Increasing evidence use among Ethiopia’s health planners and policymakers

28 Feb 2017 02:52:49 GMT

Between 2015 and 2016, Jimma University developed and ran a training and mentoring programme with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health to improve the Ministry’s capacity for using evidence in policy making. This case study discusses the project and its potential for shaping the institutional culture of this busy department.

To really embed a culture of using evidence in health policy, the project team recommends that evidence training be a nationally accredited, professional course. But the training and mentoring programme identified two specific areas of need, which Jimma University plans to address in cooperation with the newly established Knowledge Translation Department at the Ethiopian Public Health Institute:
  • to better target and focus support on what staff need: planning and policy staff and staff providing services should undertake separate training. The programme’s focus on research design, research methodology and validation of research results was considered relevant by those participants whose day-to-day work involved planning and research, but those participants providing services – such as the blood bank, legal, ethical and clinical services – found it less relevant
  • there is a need for specialised training on systematic review training and knowledge translation tools for researchers within the ministry
  • figure out how to improve access to information both by providing better internet connectivity and skills to search effectively
Based on this, courses are planned in: systematic, umbrella and rapid reviews, a clinical fellowship programme for medical and clinical
personnel, preparing summaries from systematic reviews for clinical practice, and writing policy briefs and statements.


Can the APRM be an effective tool to monitor Agenda 2063 and the SDGs?

24 Feb 2017 02:20:50 GMT

Monitoring and evaluation has emerged as a central concern in development thinking. Both the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the AU’s Agenda 2063 represent responses to Africa’s developmental deficits, with much overlap between them. They will need a robust mechanism to trace the progress that is being made, and this study explores whether – rather than attempting to construct a new system – Africa’s home-grown governance evaluation system, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), might be able to fulfil this role.

A number of factors make the APRM a natural monitoring tool for the other two initiatives. Each is substantively about governance, and deals with similar subjects. Indeed, the priorities of Agenda 2063 fed into the SDGs, and the APRM has made cooperation between itself, Agenda 2063 and the SDG initiatives a strategic priority. The three initiatives also share broad ideological outlooks, are comprehensive in the scope of their activities, are geared for the long term, envision broad-based participation and seek to engender cross-border cooperation. In broad terms, they are all committed to a democratic, participatory governance framework and developmentally oriented policies. However, there are a number of hindrances to the APRM’s fulfilling this role – at present, these arguably render it incapable of taking on the extensive and ongoing monitoring responsibilities that the other initiatives demand.
The APRM has proven larger, more complex and more expensive than its founders realised. It has been slow in conducting reviews, and has not established a consistent set of indicators that would allow for measuring across countries and over time. Nevertheless, the APRM is a recognised brand and is institutionalised as part of the African Governance Architecture. To take on the monitoring of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs it would need to resolve its administrative weaknesses, secure adequate funding and conduct reviews on an ongoing basis.
There is also a need to design a continental system of data gathering and analysis to enable precise measurements of progress in meeting the various developmental goals. These are significant challenges, but they describe the necessary rejuvenation of the APRM required for it to become the monitoring tool for the continent’s developmental endeavours.

National climate change governance: topic guide

24 Feb 2017 01:24:14 GMT

The full brunt of cumulative greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will be felt over the years to come but climate change impacts are already here. Fifteen of the 16 warmest years on record (since 1880) have occurred since 2001. At the same time, Hallegatte et al. (2016) estimate that, without the rapid implementation of pro-poor, climate-informed development policies, climate change impacts could result in 100 million more people in extreme poverty by 2030. The world’s poor are more vulnerable to loss of critical assets, health risks and food insecurity from drought or price shocks. To address these risks, development policies must consider climate risk scenarios while expanding ‘no-regrets’ social protection programmes that provide benefits to vulnerable populations under different climate scenarios.

This Topic Guide looks at climate change governance and the political economy of climate policy development and implementation at the national scale. Its primary purpose is to help Department for International Development (DFID) staff better support country partners in implementing climate and sustainable development policy that is equitable, effective and coherent and that can adapt to changing circumstances. It highlights national procedural, policy, institutional, political, economicand social-behavioural challenges and identifies potential entry points for addressing them. It is intended for both climate change and governance advisors, hence covers issues and concepts that will be very familiar to one group but not necessarily the other.

Governance of-non-state social protection initiatives: implications for addressing gendered vulnerability to poverty in Uganda

21 Feb 2017 12:15:12 GMT

Non-state actors (NSAs) are offering social protection services in Uganda to address vulnerabilities associated with poverty. Information is limited on their adequacy and efficacy and how their governance mechanisms address gender concerns.

This study aimed to fill that gap. The research was conducted December 2012 to May 2013 in Katakwi and Kyegegwa Districts, selected for their levels of poverty and vulnerability associated with the civil war, cattle rustling and influx of refugees from neighbouring countries. The design was cross-sectional and used semi-structured questionnaires, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and case studies with NSA beneficiaries and representatives and opinion leaders.

Formal NSAs deliver mostly promotive services such as capacity building in farming and human rights sensitisation while informal NSAs provide mainly preventive services like savings and credit, and burial and moral support. The needs are great and the resources limited, so only the immediate problems are handled. For gender issues such services are only symptomatic treatment: what is needed are preventive and transformative interventions to deliver sustained reduction in gendered vulnerability. Large and formal NSAs depend on donor support, and community-based organisations on contributions, neither of which is sustainable.

The NSAs have governance instruments, but these are gender blind and broad in definition. Formal NSAs are accountable to the government and donors but not to their clientele. The contrary is true for informal NSAs.

A national policy that accommodates the local context is needed to support delivery of NSA services; to facilitate offering of  transformative and preventive interventions of long-term and strategic nature; to guide NSAs to incorporate gender responsiveness as a guiding principle in their interventions; and to require NSAs to engage local communities in programme development. Gender should be integral to all policy and programming, supported by gender training at all levels.

Provision of social protection services by non-state actors in Nyanza Region Kenya : assessing women empowerment

21 Feb 2017 12:01:52 GMT

In Kenya, women are more likely than men to suffer poverty and its associated vulnerabilities, mainly because they are excluded from decision-making on economic issues, they have limited access to the factors of production, particularly land, and traditional customs allocate them undervalued roles and constrain their voice and mobility. Many of the 300,000 non-state actors (NSAs) providing social protection services in the country are helping women deal with
these challenges and improve their livelihood.
This study sought to find out whether these social protection services were empowering women, expanding their livelihood skills and enhancing their ability to make strategic life choices, which they were previously denied.

The study mapped NSA social protection providers and services in Bondo, Kisii, Kisumu and Siaya districts in Nyanza region, followed by an in-depth survey of selected NSAs and their beneficiaries. Most of the NSA programmes were transforming the lives of poor women and empowering them, particularly the programmes focusing on income generation, access to credit and savings, skills training, and civic education and leadership skills. NSAs need to be supported for effective delivery of their services by coordination of their
activities and strengthening of their role in gender sensitive social protection programming.
Their anti-poverty programmes could be made more empowering and gender sensitive if the targeted groups were involved in their design and implementation. This would require that the beneficiaries be regarded as active agents of change and equal stakeholders in the social protection programmes’ development processes. It is vital that linkages be established between policy actors for exchange of knowledge and lesson learning, and that investment be made in building capacity for planning and implementation for programme implementers to develop skills that will ensure gender-sensitive programme designs translate into gender-sensitive implementation. NSAs can support people facing challenges with practical help, but they can also promote public action to challenge the state to transform laws

A political economy analysis of social protection programmes in Botswana

21 Feb 2017 11:51:13 GMT

Certain groups within society such as children, older persons and the physically challenged are more vulnerable to poverty, lack of access to social amenities, poor health and poor nutrition compared with the rest of the citizens. Despite being an upper middle-income country, Botswana is not an exception to this problem. While the country’s development indicators have continued to rise, owing to the discovery of minerals in the 1970s, Botswana still experiences development challenges such as poverty, unemployment and income inequality. Consequently, the government has put in place a nationwide self-funded Social Protection (SP) regime to address these challenges.
This study seeks to establish whether socio-economic, historical, political and institutional factors and actors support the drive or resistance to the SP policy and programmes, and whether this has any implications on its sustainability. A mixed data-collection approach sampled 200 actors, both state and non-state, to represent the general views of all involved. A political economy (PE) analysis was then carried out to establish the distribution and contestation of power and resources among the various groups and within different contexts.

The study found out that policy-making for social protection in Botswana is carried out in several arenas, both at community and national levels, and involves a wide range of actors including government ministries and departments, political parties, civil society and others. Further, that SP is not a political tool but rather that its provision is borne of social contract obligations. The SP policy-making process is done under the age-old Tswana democracy tenet of consensus seeking (therisanyo) as well as the principles of social justice as outlined in the country’s long-term vision plan (Vision 2016).

Presently, the government has declared its commitment to continue funding SP programmes, thus, guaranteeing its sustainability. However, given current revenue challenges, the implementation of the policy cannot be universal; thus, beneficiaries of SP programmes will have to be selected based on a means-testing evaluation.

Driving, connecting and communicating: the many roles of national government in climate adaptation planning

21 Feb 2017 04:40:13 GMT

Climate change is one of the most significant challenges to the Caribbean’s future prosperity. The impacts of climate change on economically important sectors such as tourism, agriculture and fishing threaten Caribbean nations’ ability to achieve their economic and social development goals. By 2050, the costs to the region are expected to reach US$22 bn each year; this represents 10% of regional gross domestic product, based on 2004 figures.
Paying for recovery efforts after natural disasters causes significant budgetary  pressures and diverts funds from other pressing development issues such as health and  education. However, responding to climate challenges is highly complex. Climate change has cross-cutting impacts that span sectors and spatial scales, and involves multiple stakeholders. Delivering effective climate change adaptation is therefore a question of governance.
Key messages:
  • policy and governance arrangements at the national level are vital for climate adaptation. Local action is important but is insufficient in isolation
  • national governments provide strategic oversight and access to climate finance, and have the capacity and authority to drive climate action
  • climate change considerations should be integrated into policies and plans across government departments. The CCORAL tool allows decision-makers to do this
  • iInstitutional arrangements are vital to help translate government policy into action. Governments can use the ARIA toolkit to assess their institutional adaptive capacity as a first step to strengthening these frameworks
  • government institutions are vital in stimulating action at the local level. Networked governance arrangements can help to build movements for climate resilience that translate national priorities into local action and integrate local needs into national policy

Corporate social responsibility and political settlements in the mining sector in Ghana, Zambia and Peru

17 Feb 2017 04:43:45 GMT

This paper explores and compares the political effects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the mining sector in Zambia, Ghana and Peru. The paper adopts a political settlements approach to answer the question: How do the CSR practices of mining companies affect local and national political settlements? After setting out the main tenets of the political settlements approach, this is articulated with literature on the politics of natural resource extraction and CSR. The paper then sets the wider context of the international drivers of increased attention to CSR in the extractive sector, before exploring the impact of the CSR practices of mining companies on the political settlement in Ghana, Peru and Zambia at the national and local levels. The final sections offer a comparative discussion of what the findingsmean for understanding CSR’s role in inclusive development and natural resource
The paper argues that recent increased CSR expenditure does not necessarily translate into development for those living near mining companies, particularly in contexts of exclusionary political settlements, of which all case studies exhibited characteristics. There are a great many institutional and contextual limitations placed on the ability of CSR to deliver development for affected communities. Across the case studies, the opportunities that CSR programmes afford tended to aimed at those with the greatest capacity to disrupt operations, rather than those with the greatest need. In concluding, I argue that, despite some obvious limitations, the political settlements approach can generate new insights through its focus on the politics of development, and, in particular, the politics of stability.

The politics of promoting social protection in Zambia

17 Feb 2017 04:29:50 GMT

The rise of the social protection agenda in Zambia over the past few years seems in some ways to fit with mainstream accounts of how welfare states are likely to emergein developing countries, particularly in terms of the links to elections and pro-poor political parties. However, here the authors demonstrate that this (still incipient) policy shift flows more directly from two alternative sources, namely shifting dynamics within Zambia’s political settlement and the promotional efforts of a transnational policy coalition.

Adopting a process tracing approach, the paper compares the progress made on social cash transfers and social health insurance in Zambia. It investigates how the interplay of domestic political economy and transnational factors shaped the commitment of government to formulate and deliver the respective policies in the context of competing demands and priorities within the wider distributional regime. Despite some progress made in both policy areas, social protection has not as yet displaced certain interests, ideas and rent-allocation practices that are more deeply embedded within Zambia’s political settlement. However, given that it would be politically dangerous to remove social cash transfers from communities that have become used to receiving them, what matters now is the way in which such transfers become integrated within Zambia’s distributional regime, including whether they simply deepen its clientelist nature or start to form the basis of a new citizenship-based social contract.

Egypt’s new IMF deal comes with a huge price tag for human rights

17 Feb 2017 03:14:27 GMT

The government of Egypt has sealed a loan deal with the IMF following four years of negotiations. The impacts of the structural adjustment reforms associated with the loan raise strong human rights concerns, particularly for the status of economic and social rights in the country; aggravating employment conditions, the right to education, healthcare and to social protection.
The aim of the extended fund facility programme with Egypt is to restore stability and confidence in the economy. To do this, the programme supports the "government's home-grown comprehensive economic reform plan". This plan includes a range of monetary and fiscal reforms that first seek to reduce public spending, including by reforming the civil service and by reducing the public sector's role in the provision of subsidised social services. The second aim of these reforms is to increase state revenue, including by introducing a value-added tax (VAT) and by liberalising the exchange rate to shore up the country's foreign reserves and encourage foreign investment.
There are a number of alternative policy choices the Egyptian government can make with the support of the IMF to help address the country's economic crisis. These would avoid such huge social cost and meet international human rights obligations, offering a blueprint for a fair and equitable economic model, as has been affirmed by various UN bodies in recent years.
Actions to implement these recommendations could include public efforts to reform and revive the productive capacity of the state, so as to provide the foundation for a development model based on decent work and fair wages. A human rights approach to subsidy reform can also guide the government towards building a social protection model that would effectively contribute to the eradication of extreme poverty.

The Bangladesh paradox: why has politics performed so well for development in Bangladesh?

17 Feb 2017 01:47:35 GMT

Bangladesh is widely seen as a ‘paradox’ in terms of governance and development because of the apparent imperfections of its political institutions and its leading players. It scores low/very low on many indicators of the quality of governance. It is close to the top of the global league table for corruption. But, over the last quarter of a century, it has maintained economic growth around a steady 5 to 6% per annum, has out-performed India on most social indicators and has brought down its fertility rate from more than 6 to around 2.2 births per woman. It has made great progress with the Millennium Development Goals, especially with poverty reduction but also in fields seen as especially difficult for a Muslim majority country – maternal mortality has dropped dramatically and girls match/outnumber boys at primary school level. Its government disaster management programs have reduced deaths from super-cyclones by more than 99% (they used to drown up to 500,000 people in the 1970s but now mortality levels are well below 5000).
This briefing paper examines why and how political processes in Bangladesh have performed so well when the main theories of governance and development would predict economic and social stagnation. Using the lens of ‘political settlements’ ‘... the balance or distribution of power between contending social groups and social classes, on which any state is based’ ESID’s work has analyzed the country’s recent experience in education, health, women’s empowerment and economic growth.
The paper explores the way in which three areas of elite interaction – competitive politics, the pursuit of economic opportunities and social provisioning – have created formal and informal institutions and public policies that have supported social progress and economic ‘deals’ that have ensured growth. Political and economic alignments across competing elites have often meant that interests and ideas have supported national advancement. While the actions (and/or inactions) of Bangladeshi leaders and political and business elites are at the heart of these processes, transnational influences and external actors – aid agencies, investors, businessmen and INGOs – have proved important in several fields at key moments.
However, since 2013 there has been a shift in the political settlement away from the multi-party competitive form, in which goods and services are exchanged for political support, towards a dominant party form. This means there are no grounds for complacency. Whether the contemporary dominant party model can continue to achieve the governance-development paradox that has seen the country make economic and social progress is a major cause for concern. Politics in independent Bangladesh have always been imperfect: but, can the post-2013 forms of political imperfection continue to deliver national development?

The politics of negotiating gender equity in Bangladesh

17 Feb 2017 01:30:38 GMT

In Bangladesh there is a paradox when it comes to securing gender-inclusive development outcomes. Since 1991, women have occupied the highest political office and women’s presence is increasing, due to the existence of gender quotas. Women’s movement actors have a long history of mobilisation for women’s rights and securing progressive changes. However, this overlooks the complex ways in which power and politics operate in Bangladesh, including the difficulties of mobilising women as a political force in a patriarchal, informalised, clientelist context. Women, as a political group, have little to offer the ruling elites in Bangladesh: they do not vote as a block; gender equity concerns have little currency in mainstream politics; and women’s organisations are weak actors in the formal political arena.
This paper investigates two successful policy cases – the Domestic Violence Act 2010, and the expansion of access to primary education for girls – to investigate what led the state to address gender equity concerns successfully in some policy areas in a competitive clientelist context? What role, if any, did women and their allies play to make these changes happen? Why do some failures in implementation persist?
Findings indicate that the alignment between each policy reform and the dominant interests and ideas of the ruling coalition influenced the capacity and commitment accorded to each agenda. Progress on passing the Domestic Violence Act was made through the high degree of personal, historical and informal relations with supportive people in government. Opportunity was created by a key moment of state formation which opened up an absence of partisan politicking and a supportive advocate at the centre of government. Expansion of girls’ access to primary education was carried along by a wave of political support for the expansion agenda, which fitted closely with powerful political logics concerning ideas, patronage, distribution, legitimacy and international support. In both cases, transnational actors, events and discourses are able to tip the balance in favour of women’s rights, and South-South exchanges can play a vital role in promoting women’s rights. Both cases reveal how the political settlement has shaped the promotion of gender equity in Bangladesh, and the value of moving beyond the usual focus on the impact of gender quotas and the effectiveness of state gender machinery, to the deeper forms of politics and power relations that shape progress on this front.

Post Amnesty Conflict Management Framework in the Niger Delta

09 Feb 2017 02:48:18 GMT

The general aim of the research project, The Post Amnesty Conflict Management Framework in the Niger Delta, was to ascertain how the implementation of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) which had been introduced by the Shehu Musa Yar'Adua-led administration in 2009 was perceived by the people of the Niger Delta, and to what extent it had contributed to creating lasting conditions for peace and stability in the region.

The following policy recommendations derive directly from the findings of the research:

  • government at all levels should urgently and singe-mindedly address the issues of electricity, portable water, healthcare, as well as water and road transportation networks, among others, in the Niger Delta. Some communities that were direct victims of the militancy and the state's initial military response should be rebuilt so that their inhabitants are denied any reason to continue feeling bitter against the state and the oil companies
  • concerted efforts should be made by Government to rejuvenate local economies, as a means of increasing opportunities for economic recovery and income generation in the Niger Delta. This could be done through development of large–scale agricultural (e. g. oil palm and rice) and fishing projects into which the youths could be deployed
  • it is important to devise and deploy detailed reintegration schemes that do not focus only on ex-militants but also incorporate the wider communities. In particular, attention should be paid to the needs of the women ex-militants as well as to the psychological needs of mothers whose sons and daughters are now alienated from the communities because they had become militants
  • in order to deny opportunities to those who depend on illegal oil bunkering for resources to bring arms into the region, the Federal government should, as a matter of highest priority, enlist the upport of the international community to put in place a system for tracking oil stolen from Nigeria through ts origin. This will help to address the issue of illegal oil bunkering and crude theft
  • government and relevant stakeholders need to pay attention to the vulnerabilities, the potential as well as the rights of youths, by assisting them to live productive lives, to counter the effect of paying out money to people who are not productively engaged


Still no alternative? Popular views of the opposition in Southern Africa’s one-party dominant regimes

07 Feb 2017 04:39:47 GMT

Dominant party systems in Southern Africa differ widely in the extent and nature of this dominance, in their overall democratic quality, as well as in public attitudes toward the political opposition. But while there is widespread support for multiparty politics, opposition parties clearly face major obstacles to obtaining majority support in the near future. Five Southern African countries have democracies dominated by parties that emerged from liberation movements and have governed since independence: Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. This paper uses Afrobarometer survey data to analyse popular attitudes toward political opposition parties in these countries. Do citizens support multiparty politics? What are the trends in levels of citizen support for the political opposition? Do citizens believe that opposition parties present a viable alternative to the ruling party? Given the importance of public opinion in maintaining party dominance, findings offer important insights for scholars of democracy in Africa as well as for opposition parties in these countries. Key findings:about seven in 10 citizens in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe support multiparty competition, compared to only a slim majority (56%) of Mozambicans. On average across all five countries, this support has increased from 55% in 2002/2003 to 67% in 2014/2015however, only minorities endorse an opposition “watchdog” role in Parliament, ranging from 16% of Batswana to 32% of Mozambicans. Even citizens who self-identify as opposition supporters are more likely to say the opposition should collaborate with the government in order to develop the countryon average, trust in opposition parties increased significantly in the five countries between 2002 (16%) and 2015 (38%), although it remains well below the levels of trust in the ruling party (56% on average). Public trust in opposition parties is higher than average among citizens with post-secondary education and those living under secure material conditions (both 43%)the proportion of citizens who feel “close to” an opposition party is highest in Botswana (36%), followed by South Africa (34%), Zimbabwe (28%), Namibia (24%), and Mozambique (20%). Affiliation with opposition parties is higher among urban residents, men, citizens aged under 56 years, and those with at least a secondary educationwhile levels of trust in opposition parties are similar in Southern African countries with dominant party systems and those with competitive party systems, there is a significant difference in trust in the ruling party (56% vs. 40%). And citizens of countries with competitive party systems are significantly less likely to self-identify as ruling-party supporters (16% vs. 44% in dominant party systems)among citizens in the five countries with dominant party systems, Namibians are most likely to believe that the opposition presents a viable alternative vision and plan for the country (52%), followed by Mozambicans (45%), Batswana (44%), South Africans (43%), and Zimbabweans (37%). On average, this[...]

Russian BRICS Presidency: models of engagement with international institutions

07 Feb 2017 04:24:37 GMT

Six years after the first summit in 2009 in Yekaterinburg, the BRICS grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa has established its identity as an informal global governance forum. The members have consistently consolidated their cooperation, expanded and deepened their agenda, coordinated their efforts aimed at the recovery and growth of their economies, and developed their engagement with other international organizations. This work continued during the Russian presidency in 2015.This article focuses on one dimension of BRICS performance: its engagement with international organizations. There are at least three reasons defining the relevance of this analysis:from its launch, the BRICS collectively pledged to build a multipolar, fair and democratic world order, which cannot be attained without cooperation with the key international organizationsthe objective of enhancing sustainability, legitimacy and effectiveness of the global governance architecture defines the need for the summit institution to rely on a flexible combination of models of engagement with other international institutionsaccording to the concept note published by Russia on its BRICS presidency, one of its priorities was a transition to a qualitatively new level of engagement with international organizations. The analytical framework for the study builds on the theory of rational choice institutionalism. The calculus approach fits the analysis of summit institutions bringing together states from a wide range of cultures, continents and economic development. Its distinctive features clearly apply to the analysis of the origin and performance of the BRICS. First, members act in a highly strategic manner to maximize the attainment of their priorities. Second, summitry presents an arrangement for strategic interaction among leaders to determine the political outcomes. Third, rational choice institutionalism offers the greatest analytical leverage to settings where consensus among actors accustomed to strategic action and of roughly equal standing is necessary to secure institutional changes – the features typical of summit institutions. Fourth, the institutions are created by the voluntary agreement of the respective countries’ leaders to perform specific functions and missions.In order to maximize benefits from the new arrangement, the founders may choose to engage voluntarily withexisting institutions in a mode they regard as most efficient. The summit institution members’ choice of partners, modes and intensity of engagement is accepted to be strategic, intentional and voluntary, aiming to compensate for efficiency in their performance. The models of engagement are not mutually exclusive but coexist, with their choice dependent on the policy area and type of organization. The models of engagement with the other international organizations reflected in the leaders’ discourse indicate their place and role in the global governance architecture, imputed to them at their launch and subsequent evolution.The study applies qualitative and quan[...]

Decentralized climate change responses in uganda: climate change adaptation lacks local government funding

02 Feb 2017 10:34:24 GMT

This study explored ways in which Mali’s 25-year old decentralized governance system empowers local government to help communities adapt to the changing climate. The findings suggest that local development plans hold promise as a vehicle for engaging communities and integrating adaptation into local development planning, but that more needs to be done to strengthen the process. Centered in the southern regions of Mopti, Koulikoro and Sikasso, where most livelihoods derive from farming and livestock, the study also found that decentralized governance creates particular opportunities to facilitate problem-solving across villages and build external linkages to NGOs, donors and others. Such relationships are important as households increasingly compete for water and land for grazing and farming, and trees for charcoal and fuelwood. With higher temperatures and decreasing rainfall likely in these regions in the future, effective management of natural resources is vital to maintaining livelihoods and minimizing conflict.

Can workplace secondments build trust in the mining sector?

02 Feb 2017 10:06:00 GMT

Mutual suspicion has characterised the relationship between the South African government and mining companies, particularly in recent years. Resolving the current impasse would require a panoply of policy interventions because of the complexity and age of the mining industry. This briefing proposes that one such intervention could be the introduction of a structured workplace secondment programme between the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and mining companies – together identifying critical areas for co-operation and skills transfer. A well-managed and properly resourced secondment programme offers the potential to deepen understanding, share expertise, improve trust and ultimately facilitate a more functional and productive sector. Secondments carry their own risks, but these can be mitigated through rigorous design, and are far outweighed by the risk of doing nothing to alter the status quo.
  • The Department of Mineral Resources should take the lead in establishing a long-term partnership with the private sector for an ongoing workplace secondment programme for public servants into mining companies
  • the programme should be assigned sufficient human and financial resources to succeed. It should be co-designed by the government and the private sector; target mutually agreed critical areas for building expertise; and be co-funded by the state and the private sector
  • rigorous upfront design and consultation should be undertaken to mitigate risks and ensure a coherent and tightly managed process, right through to the secondees’ return to their workplace

Making waves: implications of the irregular migration and refugee situation on Official Development Assistance spending and practices in Europe

02 Feb 2017 04:00:30 GMT

The year 2015 became a particularly challenging year for European cooperation in the field of migration. As a consequence, in-donor refugee costs have increased dramatically in some European countries. This paper sets out to investigate the implications of recent reactions through the use of ODA to the refugee and irregular migration situation by drawing on five case studies: the European Commission, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. In many ways, reactions have been diverse depending on political and institutional contexts and budgetary systems within these case studies. While not being a full comparative study of the ODA situation within Europe and limited to a number of countries, this study aims to draw out a number of developments and implications for ODA practices that have relevance across EU member states.
Collectively, the EU has made additional finances available to respond to the irregular migration and refugee situation internally and externally during the past years until 2015 - despite the skyrocketing costs for refugee protection within donor countries. Despite the overall increase in ODA, the case studies have revealed a nuanced picture. In some cases, there has been a clear trade-off between hosting refugees within the EU and available funding for external longer-term cooperation. Facing pressures of such cuts to their external budgets, some donors have had to make difficult choices on where to prioritise ODA both geographically and thematically.

Development agencies and ministries also realise that they need to increase their level of preparedness to deal with uncertain funding situations due to uncertain in-donor costs for refugee protection.Beyond a general focus of cooperation under the umbrella of addressing ‘root causes of displacement and irregular migration’, the use of ODA for specific migration aspects such as to accompany voluntary return and reintegration efforts of failed asylum seekers or to support migration governance abroad will in the future most likely be reinforced.

Kenya’s regional diplomacy: peripheral or adaptive pragmatism?

27 Jan 2017 04:21:19 GMT

Kenya has, for some time, been dismissed as a reluctant regional actor. Those who question its influence and lack of leverage in regional geopolitics point to the country’s comparatively better economy and draw attention to the absence of a corresponding geo-political and cultural influence. These critics argue that Kenya has not consolidated its status as a pivotal state and that it sometimes adopts regional engagement strategies that are a passive object of the geo-strategic interests of others. On the flipside are those who maintain that Kenya has upheld pragmatic principles in its regional engagements by focusing on domestic concerns and generally favouring multilateralism and soft-power approaches. The question is, why has Kenya not consistently converted its material and ideational resources into political influence in regional geopolitics?A radical departure in Kenya’s regional engagements, however, was its incursion into Somalia in October 2011 to wage war against the Islamist extremist group al-Shabaab. This was the largest military adventure that Kenya had undertaken outside the country's borders since independence. Kenya, for once, appeared to be shifting its regional engagement strategies from the customary low-risk, non-interference posture towards a stronger engagement that aligns its interests with its economic and military strengths. Would Kenya be willing to continually use both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ power to grow its image as a pivotal actor in the region?This paper revisits the debate on Kenya’s regional diplomacies and, in particular, explores the passive versus pragmatic dichotomy in its engagement. It assesses the reasons behind Kenya’s perceived ambivalence in regional geopolitics and considers whether or not Kenya needs to assert itself more robustly, especially at regional and continental levels. With the East African and Horn of Africa regions becoming an important hydrocarbon area, and a new frontier for oil and gas opportunities, it is important that Kenya understands the political space it wants to occupy at various levels and also clearly defines instruments it wants to use to maximise the benefits of its diplomatic engagement in line with its long-term development strategy, Vision 2030. The paper also examines whether or not events such as Kenya’s incursion into Somalia (‘Operation Linda Nchi’, which translates as ‘Protect the Country’) and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s pronouncements about a more assertive pan-African focus represent a shift in the country’s regional relations and foreign policy. The objective is to promote an understanding of Kenya’s interaction and behaviour within the region and to stimulate discussion around strategic thinking and tools to take advantage of the country’s various forms of power.[...]

Own ways of doing: national pride, power and China’s political calculus in Ethiopia

27 Jan 2017 04:09:04 GMT

China’s evolving position as a key economic actor in Africa, a diplomatic heavyweight in local conflict resolution and a new entrant into peacekeeping, security co-operation and capacity building, illustrates significant policy changes with potentially profound implications for the continent. Mostly unencumbered by Western normative agendas and a concomitant need to reconcile these with its commercial interests, the Chinese government (along with Chinese enterprises) had pursued a mercantilist agenda that seemingly only required local elite compliance to succeed. However, as a result of China’s failure to sufficiently grapple with the intricacies of various political contexts, the early blush of success in places such as Sudan quickly devolved into situations of great complexity, potentially threatening the commercial viability of investments, the lives of Chinese citizens and the country’s international reputation. Against this increasingly volatile backdrop, the pressure on China to devise an approach that mitigates these challenges without unnecessarily exposing the country to greater risks in the process, has become a formidable policy imperative. By embracing multilateralism while cautiously expanding its co-operation with and capacity building of African regional initiatives, Beijing hopes to have devised a winning strategy for securing future engagements across the continent and elsewhere. Yet the African terrain remains complex and unfamiliar, forcing China to pragmatically engage with specific contexts and learn by doing. This opens up a space for a broader conversation with other external partners of the continent (at both a national and a multilateral level) to explore avenues of engagement. In this broader scheme of shifting dynamics, China’s quickly expanding links with Ethiopia offer a contextualised portrait of activities that extend beyond purely economic interests and outcomes. While neither resource rich nor an economic powerhouse at the scale of Nigeria or South Africa, Ethiopia is among the top Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) and loan recipients in Africa. Given its strategic position within a vast geographical zone of conflicts and its increasingly active role in regional peacekeeping missions, Ethiopia plays an important part in the foreign policies of the EU, the US and, more recently, China. By focusing on peace and security, human security and governance capacity building, this paper explores the nature of political culture and concepts of power in Ethiopia, while examining the ways in which China, as a foreign partner, navigates this complex political landscape (both domestically and regionally) as it seeks to expand both its foothold and bargaining power. The first part unpacks the complexity of domestic politics in Ethiopia, as this provides the basis for the country’s unfolding relationship with China and Chinese actors. The second par[...]

Trilateral cooperation in a changing international development landscape

20 Jan 2017 03:16:54 GMT

This special edition of Global Dialogue, focused on trilateral cooperation in a changing global development landscape, forms part of a research project undertaken by the Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD), with the financial support of the United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development (DFID). The research project sought to provide critical insight into the international politics of development diplomacy and its implications for South Africa. This special edition on trilateral cooperation is essentially a collection of some of the short articles produced during the project cycle, and forms part of a series of publications by the IGD focused on this important area of academic inquiry. The publication also includes summaries of presentations given at the various development diplomacy symposia and workshops in Pretoria and Cape Town in 2015 and 2016.

Emerging trends in Africa’s electoral processes

20 Jan 2017 03:02:05 GMT

The quest for competitive elections in Africa, with the modest gains made since the 1990s towards deepening
democratisation, continues to underpin the continent’s efforts to create stable and growing democracies. Since the post-Cold War transition from single-party to multiparty systems, most African countries have embraced elections as their preferred option for power transfer. Drawing especially on AU election observation mission reports, this policy briefing examines trends emerging from elections held in 2015 and 2016, and calls for extensive structural, legal and policy reforms. It argues that adherence to and implementation of the AU treaty and non-treaty standards for democratic elections are key to further strengthening electoral processes in Africa.
  • the AU in collaboration with RECs should develop guidelines for constitutional revisions to give effect to Article 10 of the ACDEG
  • electoral calendars must be respected and changes must be mutually agreed by all stakeholders to protect the sanctity of electoral processes
  • inter- and intra-political party dialogues remain key in safeguarding electoral democracy and deepening political pluralism in AU member states
  • governments should develop and adopt social media codes of conduct for elections to protect the fundamental rights to access to information and expression
  • political parties should undertake reforms to address structural exclusion and guarantee equal participation of young people, women and other marginalised groups in political and electoral processes

Africa and external actors

13 Jan 2017 12:51:51 GMT

The Cape Town seminar in August 2016 brought together about 30 key scholars, policymakers, and civil society activists to assess bilateral and multilateral relations between Africa’s traditional and non-traditional actors in the post–Cold War era. Key issues pertaining to Africa’s relations with global actors were discussed under the following three broad themes: bilateral relations with traditional powers: the United States (US), Russia, China, France, and Britain; bilateral relations with  non-traditional powers: India; Japan; the Nordics; and Europe and the Arab world; and multilateral relations: the United Nations (UN), the BRICS bloc (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the European Union (EU), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This meeting examined Africa’s relations with eight key bilateral actors or blocs and six major multilateral actors, assessing progress made in the continent’s efforts to increase its leverage in global politics through engagement with external actors. Policy recommendations:pro-Africa lobbyists in the US need to collaborate closely with legislators in the US Congress as well as Washington-based interest groups as they did during South Africa's anti-apartheid struggles in the 1980s. The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) should also be mobilised to support these battlesthe tens of thousands of highly-educated Africans in America should further help to build a viable constituency for Africapeople-to-people relations are important in Africa’s relations with Russia. Russian cultural centres could therefore contribute to building Russo-African cultural relations to improve language barriers and to strengthen business partnerships with a view to changing stereotypes on both sidesAfrican countries should seize the potential opportunities presented by a weakened, less confident, and less cohesive post-“Brexit” Europe to redefine their relations with the European Union. This includes Africa calling for a moratorium on the economic partnership agreements while the EU completes its “divorce settlement” with Britain, and formulating substantive policy responses to issues such as BrexitAfrican countries should leverage China’s and India’s interest in the continent to reduce their dependence on traditional Western powers such as the US, Britain, and France, while Beijing and New Delhi should assist Africa in broadening its export base through technology transfer and knowledge-sharing. Francophone countries on the continent should reduce their political, economic, and cultural dependence on France. Furthermore, Africa must explore how it can borrow from India’s attitude towards aid and development, which is to accept aid as and when needed, and in specific ways to further its own socio-economic [...]

Zambia’s constitutional Groundhog Day: why national debate about constitutional reform is not going away anytime soon

13 Jan 2017 12:14:09 GMT

Since independence, Zambia has had five major constitutional amendments (an average of one every 10 years), a fact that has raised concerns about the country’s constitutional foundations. The constitution has been made a campaign issue in every presidential election since Zambia’s return to multiparty politics in the 1990s. In recent years, constitutional reform has become increasingly politicised and intransigent. The latest constitutional amendment, announced in January 2016, offered Zambians provisions that had long formed part of their aspirations and demands. Why then was the 2016 constitution recently defeated in a national referendum?

This policy briefing demonstrates how the interests of citizens have continually been placed behind the interests of Zambia’s political elite, including in the 2016 referendum.
  • political parties should collaborate to find consensus before undertaking constitutional amendments. The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) highlights that a country’s constitution should enjoy popular legitimacy, and major amendments and revisions should not be undertaken lightly. Zambia highlights the dangers of politicising such a foundational aspect of any democracy
  • referendums should not be held concurrently with national general elections. Zambia’s 2016 referendum clearly suffered due to the broader political environment, ultimately failing to secure the minimum turnout required to legally validate the final outcome
  • sufficient time should be allocated to sensitise citizens ahead of a national referendum. Clearly, less than six months was insufficient notice for Zambians, as demonstrated by the low turnout and significant number of rejected (spoilt) ballots
  • double-barrelled referendum questions should be avoided. Keep questions simple. The 2016 Zambian referendum question fails on both counts here, and the outcomes are evident
  • the symbols used for ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ should be easy to understand. Using an eye for ‘Yes’ and an ear for ‘No’ proved contentious and confusing in the 2016 referendum

Partnering with the New Development Bank: what improved services can it offer Middle-Income Countries?

06 Jan 2017 03:15:42 GMT

Multilateral development banks increasingly struggle to respond effectively to the needs of middle-income countries, influencing not only their potential development impact but also their own financial stability. This challenge has been driven by a changing external environment, including additional competition from other financiers, the changing needs of middle income countries and institutional constraints. Business processes that deter greater borrowing by countries, especially in the presence of other financiers with less strenuous requirements, also contribute to this situation. These include lengthy loan approval processes, limited use of in-country management systems and sensitivities around environmental and social safeguards. There is also a need for greater responsiveness and an emphasis on the importance of knowledge services. This paper highlights some of these challenges and offers some alternative solutions. The New Development Bank, as a new entrant to the development finance milieu, will do well to draw on the experiences of existing multilateral development banks to improve its offerings to countries.

Illicit financial flows estimating trade mispricing and trade-based money laundering for five African countries

06 Jan 2017 03:05:49 GMT

Illicit financial flows (IFFs) are garnered through the proceeds of illicit trade, trade mispricing, transfer pricing and other forms of organised profit-motivated crime. This paper focuses on the commercial tax evasion component of illicit financial flows (IFFs), clarifying concepts often used interchangeably, namely transfer pricing, abusive transfer pricing, trade mispricing (or trade mis-invoicing), trade-based money laundering (TBML), tax evasion and tax avoidance. It also shows how they link to IFFs. It estimates the extent of trade mispricing by enhancing the model currently used by Global Financial Integrity, and by developing a TBML model as a means of quantifying IFFs between two developing countries. There are data challenges with this methodology, as it is an estimation of illegal or hidden activities, using the International Monetary Funds Direction of Trade methodology.

The research points to declining trade mispricing in South Africa and Zambia for the period 2013-2015, and Nigeria for the period 2013-2014. Morocco and Egypt exhibit increasing trade mispricing from 2013 to 2014. The TBML model, which addresses the criticism regarding flows between two developing countries, points to increasing financial outflows for all five countries. These flows mean less revenue is available to the fiscus to invest in socio-economic infrastructure and pro-poor growth strategies, which would benefit women and the poor. Policy recommendations address commercial tax evasion as well as proposals to remedy the data anomalies.

Improving infrastructure finance for Low-Income Countries: recommendations for the ADF

06 Jan 2017 02:48:36 GMT

Low-income countries (LICs) in sub-Saharan Africa face a substantial infrastructure-financing gap. multi-lateral development banks (MLDBs) have traditionally played an important role in mobilising finance for infrastructure in LIcs, but their funding alone cannot match demand. the african development Bank’s (AfDB) concessional window, the african development fund (ADF), is a key infrastructure financier for african LICs, and comprises 37 regional member countries (RMCs), including emerging markets and fragile states. however, in recent years the ADF has faced funding and technical constraints.

This policy brief, based on a discussion paper, outlines the ADF’s role in providing infrastructure financing to LIcs and the challenges that countries face in accessing these funds. It also examines the changing context confronting LIcs as they weigh their infrastructure demands against the requirement to maintain sustainable debt levels. Lastly, the brief explores the challenges and opportunities of mobilising additional finance for LICs.

Policy recommendations:

  • in order to target growing international concerns around debt sustainability, the ADF should increase its efforts to work with countries in understanding and managing their debt levels
  • the ADF should continue to streamline its approval and implementation processes, targeting national capacity bottlenecks as early as possible and ensuring the continuity of AfDB officials from the appraisal to monitoring stages
  • the ADF should direct efforts towards increasing LIC awareness and understanding of its private finance mobilisation tools through greater promotion and dissemination of information, and should increase technical support and training for PPPs. It should place greater focus on measuring the developmental impacts of projects, especially where the private sector is involved
  • project preparation requires more ADF funding, and the ADF’s PPF should explore cost recovery mechanisms to ensure sustainability. LIC governments should create better co-ordination and unified support around proposed projects to decrease risks
  • LICs should be assisted in accessing the non-concessional ADB funds available to them