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Middle East and North Africa

One of the Eldis RSS newsfeeds on major development issues

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Fighting BEPS in Africa: a review of Country-By-Country Reporting

19 Jun 2017 12:24:47 GMT

Following the Panama Papers leak and numerous press reports of aggressive tax planning by Multinational enterprises (MNEs) around the world, there has been a concerted effort, notably in developed countries, to combat MNE tax avoidance and increase international cooperation in tax matters. As MNEs operate across borders they can use multi-jurisdictional tax planning, in combination with transfer pricing, to limit their tax obligations. Unfortunately, some MNEs aggressively plan an operation around these tax structures to avoid paying their fair share of tax. This is mostly legal, as MNEs generally do not breach any single tax jurisdiction’s laws. However, such practices have a negative impact on the countries in which they are operating, regardless of whether they are legal or not.

A key responsive measure to address aggressive MNE tax planning has been the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Package. Its aim is to close loopholes between various national tax authorities that allow MNEs to unjustifiably shift profits across borders. Within this, a key component, and part of the minimum BEPS action requirements, is Action 13: Transfer Pricing Documentation and Country by Country Reporting (CbCR).

Policy recommendations made by this brief:

  • by the time of the 2020 review MNEs will be more aware of this process, and it is possible that the idea of lowering the EUR 750 million revenue threshold will find a more receptive audience
  • given the trust barriers to lowering exchange of information requirements it is not clear that this issue can be resolved in favour of those African states currently not able to comply. Consequently, African countries need to upgrade their institutional capacities and legal frameworks. Official development assistance could be targeted at this area
  • as Action 13 reports are submitted over the next two years a much more informed assessment of the strengths and limitations of CbCR should emerge. This should enable the refinement, and possibly the extension, of the system
  • the application of CbCR to include other taxes paid by MNEs, beyond corporate income tax, could also be considered
  • the transparency of CbC reports will, no doubt, feature in the 2020 review and African revenue authorities will need to engage with the issue, as it could bridge a lot of their constraints


Why isn’t tech for accountability working in Africa?

18 May 2017 10:22:28 GMT

Expanding mobile networks and falling costs could transform communication between African citizens and governments. So far, however, attempts to harness new technologies to improve transparency and accountability in Africa and elsewhere have had disappointing results. What is going wrong? Research suggests that an important reason for this failure is a poor understanding of technologies and limited skills in developing and using them.
It seems that civil society organisations (CSOs) and governments often ‘re-invent the flat tyre’: experimenting with new tools without finding out what has been tried (often unsuccessfully) before. They also do not follow best practices in how to source, develop and test technologies to ensure these are ‘fit for purpose’. Decision makers should focus on building an effective innovation ecosystem with better links between technologists and accountability actors in both government and civil society to enable learning from successes – and mistakes.
  • those with responsibilities in creating the innovation ecosystem, including funders, should focus on building a supportive innovation ecosystem
  • funders should shift their focus from supporting short-term pilots to building institutions capable of success over time, and invest in strengthening links between initiatives and disseminating learning resources across the continent
  • those who are leading and managing innovation initiatives – in government and CSOs – should focus on getting better and smarter at managing the innovation cycle
  • research suggests the following ‘rules of thumb’ will lead to better outcomes: acknowledge what you do not know, think twice before building a new tool, get a second opinion, test technologies in the field, plan for failure, budget to iterate, and share what you learn

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.

Older people in situations of migration In Africa: the untold migration story

28 Mar 2017 03:18:51 GMT

Older people in Africa are involved in all aspects of the migration chain: they are voluntary or forced migrants themselves, they shape the migration experience of others by funding youth migration and being involved in the decision-making process, they also benefit from remittances. Yet, they remain invisible in migration policy, as well as aid and development planning.

This briefing tells the untold story of older people in the migration ecosystem in Africa. It highlights the importance of including older people in migration policies and practice – whether they are left behind, on the move, or returning to their country of origin. It identifies the key challenges facing this generation, explores policy options and calls for more thorough research to improve understanding of the capabilities and needs of older people in situations of migration in Africa.

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.

Africa's prospects for enjoying a demographic dividend

21 Feb 2017 11:19:36 GMT

While fertility rates and dependency ratios in Africa remain high, they have started to decline. According to United Nations projections, they will fall further in the coming decades such that by the mid-21st century the ratio of the working-age to dependent population will be greater than in Asia, Europe, and Northern America. This projection suggests Africa has considerable potential to enjoy a demographic dividend. Whether and when it actually materialises, and also its magnitude, hinges on policies and institutions in key realms that include macroeconomic management, human capital, trade, governance, and labour and capital markets. Given strong complementarities among these areas, coordinated policies will likely be most effective in generating the momentum needed to pull Africa’s economies out of a development trap.

Conditional cash transfers in Africa: limitations and potentials

21 Feb 2017 01:52:11 GMT

Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) are currently amongst the most popular social protection programmes for addressing
poverty, vulnerabilities, and risks of poor individuals, households and communities in developing Latin American, African, and Asian countries.
However, the increasing popularity and adoption of CCTs in Africa have remained highly understudied in comparison to CCTs in Latin America where they originated in the late 1990s and early 2000s. For this reason, this policy brief discusses some of the current limitations and potentials of CCTs as social protection programmes for reducing poverty and developing the human capital of poor individuals, households, and communities in African countries.

The brief begins with an overview of CCTs in general with special reference to Africa in particular. It then examines some of the limitations and potentials of CCTs on the continent.
  • African countries seeking to adopt CCTs should design, implement, and adapt such programmes with due consideration to the propriety and much needed institutional training for state and non-state officials
  • provision of adequate supply-side facilities such as quality schools and healthcare centres should be a condition for implementing CCTs and no community should be excluded from participation for lack of such facilities
  • the eligibility period for participating individuals, communities and households in CCTs should reflect the amount of time needed to fulfil basic education and healthcare needs as appropriate. Universal coverage of all those in need within each community must also supersede limited coverage
  • adequate planning and institutionalisation of programmes should be done to ensure ownership and sustainability of CCT programmes, especially in countries where programmes are funded mainly by donors. But appropriate partnership agreements for overall developmental and social protection purposes should be explored as necessary

Invasive plants and food security in Africa:the potential of Earth Observation Data

17 Feb 2017 11:50:34 GMT

The spread of invasive plant species has serious consequences for Africa. Toxic weeds and harmful shrubs significantly shrink rangelands and lower the productivity of major grain foods such as maize (in some instances by up to 45%).
Toxic weeds suppress the growth of staple crops and take over fields that could otherwise be used for agriculture. The UN Sustainable Development Goals emphasise the need to better manage land degradation and biodiversity loss and develop strategies to combat poverty.

However, the invasion of rangelands and croplands by harmful non-native species is not specifically mentioned in the UN sustainability framework as a significant and emerging environmental issue. Equally, the AU Commission (AUC) sounds the alarm over rising food insecurity in Africa, but there are no tools or coherent strategies on how to address the challenges posed by invasive species in the context of enhancing food security. This briefing highlights the significance of earth observation (EO) data for the development of tools and strategies to curb the increasing spread of invasive species.
  • amendments to existing and future policy frameworks, such as the CBD and the AUC strategy, are required to emphasise the need to develop more effective and coherent protocols for the management of invasive species
  • spatial occurrence maps of invasive species should be used by decision-makers to better understand and manage their effects on cropland and rangeland productivity, and ultimately food security in Africa
  • policymakers and decision makers need sound evidence on the local uses and impacts of invasive species in order to become aware of their costs and benefits
  • international bodies that promote the use of EO for societal benefit areas (such as GEOSS and UN SPIDER) must include invasive species mapping in their outreach and training agendas. This should be facilitated by country- or region-specific case studies that help to show the potential of EO products to more effectively manage invasive species across borders

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

Are Africans willing to pay higher taxes or user fees for better health care?

17 Jan 2017 01:09:38 GMT

In many parts of Africa, access to and quality of medical services remain poor. While economic growth in recent decades has fostered improved health care on the continent, weak funding, brain drain of trained professionals, and ongoing battles with diseases such as TB, HIV, diarrheal diseases, and malaria as well as recurring epidemics such as Ebola continue to put immense pressure on medical systems in many countries. Struggling medical systems confront governments and citizens with difficult choices: Needed investment in the medical sector must compete with other priorities, and increasing health spending by cutting other programs may not be a popular or even feasible solution. One alternative may be to raise taxes or user fees in order to increase available funding.
In its Round 6 surveys, Afrobarometer asked citizens in 36 African countries whether they would support or oppose paying higher taxes or user fees in order to increase government spending on public health care. This paper describes citizens’ responses and analyzes whether they are correlated with demographic factors, access to health services, and perceptions of health care, government performance, and official corruption.
Key findings:
  • on average across 36 surveyed countries, half (49%) of Africans went without medical care at least once in the year preceding the survey. Countries vary widely on this indicator, ranging from 3% in Mauritius to 78% in Liberia and 77% in Togo
  • among Africans who obtained medical care, four in 10 (42%) found it “difficult” or “very difficult” to do so
  • Africans are almost evenly divided on the question of whether to pay higher taxes or user fees in exchange for increased government spending on health care, with 42% in favour and 45% opposed. Only eight of 36 surveyed countries register majority support for such a policy (Madagascar, Mozambique, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Mali, Namibia, and Gabon).
  • support for higher taxes/fees in exchange for increased health-care funding is correlated with public trust in the tax department and the president, positive performance evaluations for the president and members of Parliament, and the perception that leaders want to serve the people rather than themselves.
  • perceptions of official corruption and difficulties experienced in obtaining health care, on the other hand, tend to reduce support for higher taxes

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 development based on a clear definition of its specific interestsAfrican governments should develop clear, coordinated positions on their goals and the strategies for achieving them in fora such as the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation; the Tokyo International Conference on African Development; and in respect of other rapidly emerging economies in the “global South” such as Brazil and IndiaAfrica remains a supplier of primary products to external actors, and should change its trade structures so that technical capacity transfer and capacity-building become more of a focus for partnerships with external actors, with local procurement and beneficiation given more prominence. Furthermore, African countries should claim their own individual and collective agency, and strengthen efforts to add value to their primary commodities; diversify their economies; and increase the competitiveness of the export of manufactured productsbuilding on the e[...]

South Africa's trade and investment relationship with the United States post-AGOA

06 Jan 2017 04:12:54 GMT

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been recognised as the  cornerstone of America’s engagement with Sub-Saharan Africa for the past 14 years. It is therefore central to an  understanding of the South Africa-US trade relationship. The recent extension of AGOA by  a further 10 years presents many  opportunities for improving that trade relationship and expanding economic ties. There are, however, areas for  caution, as was seen in the debates around the extension of AGOA and the terms of the inclusion of South Africa as a beneficiary of AGOA.

This policy brief considers the three main options available to South Africa in a post-AGOA trade and investment relationship with the United States: to stay in AGOA, negotiate a Free Trade Agreement, or fall back on Most Favoured Nation terms and the Generalized System of Preferences.  

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

Climate change and state fragility in the Sahel

15 Dec 2016 04:45:46 GMT

Many climate experts agree that the Sahel is a key hotspot for global climate change. Throughout the region, higher temperatures, increasingly variable rainfall, and more frequent droughts and storms will interact with high levels of vulnerability and low adaptive capacities to significantly challenge continued development progress. Increasing regional insecurity further threatens development: ongoing civil conflicts and secessionist movements, the pervasiveness of organised crime, and the rise of extremists groups such as Boko Haram and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The security implications of these trends extend beyond the Sahel to Africa more broadly, Europe and the Middle East. Ensuring that climate change does not trigger or further exacerbate conflict or weaken states across the Sahel will be a major challenge for both national governments and international actors.
  • climate change can combine with political and economic instability, poverty, inequality and historical grievances to exacerbate tensions or trigger conflict
  • poor governance, weak institutions, capacity constraints and corruption restrict the ability of Sahelien states to address climate change
  • peacebuilding interventions should be climate-resilient and climate change responses must be conflict sensitive

Africa’s climate: Helping decision‑makers make sense of climate information

06 Dec 2016 05:19:15 GMT

African decision-makers need reliable, accessible, and trustworthy information about the continent’s climate, and how this climate might change in future, if they are to plan appropriately to meet the region’s development challenges.

This report is designed as a guide for scientists, policy-makers, and practitioners on the continent. The research presents an overview of climate trends across central, eastern, western, and southern Africa, and is distilled into a series of factsheets that are tailored for specific sub-regions and countries.

The report consists of 15 factsheets that are grouped into three sections:

  • Regional Overviews focus on regionally relevant questions for east, west, central and southern Africa
  • Burning Questions focus on the key issues relating to the ability of the current science to accurately provide climate change projections and communicate future climate change in Africa
  • Country Factsheets provide information on the climate and the possible impacts for Rwanda, Uganda, Senegal, and Zambia. They also consider how climate information is used in Tanzania and Malawi, and how accessible the information is to the communities that need it

Social Protection for Sustainable Development: dialogues between Africa and Brazil

25 Nov 2016 03:42:48 GMT

Over the last few decades, Latin American countries have experienced a boom in social protection policies. This increase has been fuelled by the expansion of fiscal space as the result of steady economic growth. While many of these countries had already had some type of social security system in place, most still lacked effective policies to reduce poverty and few had public programmes offering social assistance.

Cash transfer programmes rapidly emerged in countries all over the continent, followed by other social assistance programmes focusing on vulnerable individuals and families. The design of policies or systems varies according to the context and capacity of each country. Even within a country, there is great heterogeneity in the quality of services offered. This process has rapidly shown interested countries that even when the implementation of public policies is strongly inspired by a model existing in another country, their experience will always be unique.

Africans are interested in learning more about the successful experiences of countries, such as that of Brazil, which serve as a reference and guide for developing their own pathways to social protection solutions.

The partnership between the Government of Brazil and the Government of Senegal, the African Union Commission, UNDP World Centre for Sustainable Development (RIO+ Centre), UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa and the Lula Institute provided the opportunity for a high-level debate at the International Seminar
on Social Protection in Dakar. In addition to Brazil and Senegal, there were representatives from Cape Verde, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Zambia and Zimbabwe at the event.

This publication registers the inputs and results of the International Seminar in Dakar. It reveals a theoretical alignment regarding the social agenda that is necessary to both African countries and Brazil, especially in regards to social protection.

Do Africans still want democracy?

25 Nov 2016 02:38:21 GMT

More than half of all Africans today live in functioning multi-party electoral democracies that are demonstrably freer than the military or one-party regimes that previously dominated the continent. At the same time, the post-1990 gains that African countries registered in terms of civil liberties and political rights peaked in 2006, at least according to expert judgments offered by Freedom House.

Trends of this sort around the world have led some analysts to conclude that Africa is currently part of a global democratic recession In other words, multiple things may be true. That is, democracy may seem to be declining when measured with a near-term yardstick. At the same time, democracy may be alive and well, since the continent is still far more democratic than it used to be when viewed from a longer-term perspective.

With these mixed possibilities in mind, this report emphasizes what ordinary citizens in 36 African countries think. Do they desire a democratic form of government, or what we call “demand for democracy”? By tracking 16 African countries that have had been surveyed over more than a decade, Afrobarometer has previously demonstrated a steady rise in popular demand for democracy. Yet large proportions of Africans remain skeptical that they are being “supplied” with democracy by their current political leaders. Under these conditions, do Africans continue to consider democracy to be the best available form of government? Or have global trends questioning the desirability of democracy begun to diffuse within Africa?

Key findings:

  • on average across the continent, Africans support democracy as a preferred type of political regime. Large majorities also reject alternative authoritarian regimes such as presidential dictatorship, military rule, and one-party government. Smaller proportions agree on all four of these aspects of democratic preference, an index we call “demand for democracy.”
  • large cross-national differences exist in demand for democracy. For example, while three in four respondents in Mauritius are consistent, committed democrats, fewer than one in 10 Mozambicans merit the same description
  • demographically, demand is highest amongst those who live in urban settings, have a university education, and work in middle-class occupations. There is also an important gender gap, with women significantly less likely to demand democracy than men
  • across 34 countries included in both of Afrobarometer’s two most recent rounds of surveys, popular demand for democracy increased in 10 countries, decreased in 14 countries, and remained essentially unchanged in 10 countries
  • a for longer-term trends in 16 countries surveyed since 2002, a steady, decade-long upward trend in demand for democracy has ended with a downward turn since 2012
  • the quality of elections helps to explain demand for democracy. African countries with high-quality elections are more likely to register increases in popular demand for democracy than countries with low-quality elections
  • in a positive sign for the future of democracy, popular demand for democracy still exceeds citizen perceptions of the available supply of democracy in most African countries (26 out of 36 in 2015)

Silencing the guns: terrorism, mediation and non-state armed groups

18 Nov 2016 12:35:35 GMT

On 21–22 October 2015, the African Union (AU), in collaboration with the Government of Namibia, hosted the Sixth AU High-level Retreat of Special Convened under the theme of “Terrorism, mediation and non-state armed groups”, the objectives of the retreat were to provide a platform for delegates to deliberate on the successes and challenges in relation to tackling the underlying causes of terrorism in Africa, to provide recommendations, and to discuss and exchange views on shared responsibilities and coordination between African and international actors working on preventing and combating terrorism.

A key element of the retreat was to use the opportunity to start conceptualising a shared continental counterterrorism response strategy, as well as specifically to explore the ways in which dialogue and mediation could be used to counter terrorism. A key outcome of the retreat was the Windhoek Declaration, attached as an appendix to this report.Envoys and Mediators on the Promotion of Peace, Security and Stability in Africa in Windhoek, Namibia.

This research report is based on the deliberations of the Windhoek Retreat and provides an overview of the proceedings, highlighting the key points that came out of the discussions. Much of the report is dedicated to expanding and elaborating on some of the discussions that took place. Structurally, the report first explains the background and context to the deliberations by providing an understanding and definition of terrorism, and its origins. It also focuses on the causes of terrorism in Africa and identifies violent extremist actors, trends and dynamics on the African continent. Second, the report highlights the current approaches that have been adopted in response to countering terrorist acts, with specific reference to the challenges that remain and the role of mediation as an effective approach to oppose terrorism, by drawing on a number of case studies. Finally, several recommendations have been elicited to determine the most effective way forward that promotes a holistic approach to dealing with terrorism and violent extremism.


A new vision for weather and climate services in Africa

17 Nov 2016 02:13:37 GMT

The collection, analysis and distribution of reliable weather, water and climate information - collectively referred to as hydromet services—has the potential to greatly benefit efforts by African nations to reduce poverty, build resilience and adapt to a changing climate. For over 30 years, the international development community has made substantial investments in the procurement of weather, water and climate technologies for Africa.

Nevertheless, today, according to the World Bank, “most hydromet services in sub-Saharan Africa are unable to meet current needs for weather and climate information, and offer only limited areas of transboundary cooperation.” In this report a new vision to address sub-Saharan Africa’s weather, water and climate monitoring and forecasting needs is explored. The basis for this new vision begins with a review of problems with traditional approaches and how this has affected the ability to achieve development goals, reduce risks and empower Africa’s least-developed countries in supporting their citizens with hydromet services and early warning systems that can save lives, boost productivity and protect the environment in a changing climate.

This new vision includes the implementation of advanced hydrometeorological technologies and services, capacity-building and enabling policies that fortify the position of Africa’s National HydroMeteorological Services (NHMS), as well as the formulation of new partnerships between the public and private sectors.

Creating a sustainable model for the delivery of effective hydromet services in sub-Saharan Africa will require policymakers to critically examine the status quo and establish a new vision for the implementation of this essential public service. This new vision goes beyond the simple procurement and installation of new technologies, to an end-to-end systems approach. There is no silver bullet, but with effectively structured public-private partnerships, new technology and services, strengthened institutions, increased regional cooperation and continued capacity-building, sustainable hydromet solutions are a realistic and attainable goal. Reaching this target will have a significant impact on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, protecting lives and building powerful resilience for Africa and beyond.

Enhancing the climate resilience of Africa's infrastructure: the roads and bridges sector

17 Nov 2016 01:08:40 GMT

Roads are a key asset for Africa. They connect villages to economic centers, people to hospitals, children to schools and goods to markets facilitating trade. This report examines the implications of climate change for Africa’s road connectivity, and practical steps that can be taken now to minimize the associated risks. The scope of the report includes 2.8 million km of roads throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, with a special focus on new road construction outlined in the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), an African Union facilitated initiative to enhance trans-boundary connectivity through the continent.

The main conclusions of the report are:

  • adequate road maintenance is the most critical and most efficient way of reducing the impact of a changing climate on the road system. In the absence of an adequate maintenance regime, the damage caused by climactic events is exacerbated. The uncertainty related to climate change further reinforces this dynamic. Thus, maintenance of pavements and sealing activities; regular maintenance of bridges, culverts and drainage structures to ensure they are functional and not obstructed; maintenance and improvement of slope protection works; and systematic assessments to identify and incrementally address vulnerable and critical road sections are the first defense to climate risks
  • simply ignoring climate change is not an option. The report shows that climate change is likely to lead to a shortening of roads rehabilitation life-cycle, which, in addition to maintenance, usually entails resurfacing every 20 years. The shortened life-cycle is likely to lead to steep increases in maintenance and periodic rehabilitation costs
  • proactive adaptation in response to temperature increase is a no regret option. Modifying the design in response to an anticipated higher temperature is a low or no-regret option for paved roads in virtually all countries and the vast majority of climate scenarios, including both the PIDA transboundary corridors and the planned expansion/upgrade of the national networks. The reason is that the savings accrued over the road life cycle more than offset the higher construction costs, even if the measures are adopted now, before significant temperature increases are experienced
  • the case for proactive adaptation in response to precipitation is not as clear cut, and needs to be assessed case by case. Because of the fundamental uncertainty regarding future climate, it is not possible to be as definite
    on how to proactively design for precipitation. Rainfall varies all over the continent, but in several countries (e.g. Angola, Nigeria, Botswana, Togo, South Sudan, Mozambique, Benin, and Cameroon), it is clear that even moderate changes in the climate will induce significant precipitation-related disruption. In these countries, it would be appropriate to start proactively adapting the road system. In other countries, more detailed analysis is needed to identify where, when and how to invest in resilience most appropriately. Some roads in some areas may well already benefit also from pro-active adaptation
  • better information on the benefits of avoiding climate-related disruption can inform decisions on proactive adaptation. This report develops a methodology to evaluate the merits of proactive adaptation in the context of an uncertain future climate

The State of African Cities 2014: re-imagining sustainable urban transitions urban transitions

07 Oct 2016 03:42:44 GMT

The overarching challenge for Africa in the decades to come is massive population growth in a context of wide-spread poverty that, in combination, generate complex and inter-related threats to the human habitat. The main premise of this report is that successfully and effectively addressing the vulnerabilities and risks to which the African populations are increasingly being exposed may, perhaps, require a complete re-thinking of current urban development trajectories if sustainable transitions are to be achieved. This report is the third in The State of African Cities series.
It is not only Africa’s largest urban population concentrations that are becoming more prone to vulnerabilities and risks; these are actually increasing for all African settlements. This will add to the already significant social, economic and political hazards associated with Africa’s still pervasive urban poverty. The
combination of demographic pressures, rapid urbanization, environmental and climate change now appear to reinforce a host of negative urban externalities.
Ubiquitous urban poverty and urban slum proliferation, so characteristic of Africa’s large cities, is likely to become an even more widespread phenomenon under current urban development trajectories, especially given the continuing and significant shortfalls in urban institutional capacities. Since the bulk of the urban population increases are now being absorbed by Africa’s secondary and smaller cities, the sheer lack of urban governance capacities in these settlements is likely to cause slum proliferation processes that replicate those of Africa’s larger cities.
This report argues for a radical re-imagination of African approaches to urbanism, both to strengthen the positive impacts of Africa’s current multiple transitions and to improve urban living and working conditions. Africa’s population is still well below the 50 per cent urban threshold. This implies that a major  reconceptualization of its approaches to urban development can still be undertaken. Given the rapidly changing global conditions, especially those associated with environmental and climate change, looming resources scarcity and the dire need to move towards greener and more sustainable development options, Africa has the opportunity to take a global lead in innovations towards greener, healthier and more sustainable urban societies

China’s African infrastructure projects: a tool in reshaping global norms

06 Oct 2016 11:33:41 GMT

The resilience of China’s investments in African infrastructure has been called into question in the light of its own economic slowdown. The substantial reduction in Chinese demand for African commodities has resulted in a significant drop in commodity prices, causing an adverse economic outlook in many commodity-dependent African economies and potentially decoupling the African growth story from China’s influence and economic engagement.
This policy insights paper argues that China’s infrastructure-based economic statecraft in Africa has shown and will continue to show resilience in the face of new economic realities in the China–Africa relationship, as these projects fit into China’s broader goals of reshaping global norms.

On becoming a responsible great power: contextualising China’s foray into human rights and peace & security in Africa

06 Oct 2016 01:18:39 GMT

The deepening of China’s engagement with Africa has also prompted the broadening of its interests on the continent. This has resulted in China’s expansion into increasingly riskier territories, which means there is a greater urgency to protect its interests from the political vagaries endemic to conflict-affected African states. This evolution marks a shift away from traditional perceptions of Chinese engagement in Africa as being limited to its economic interests, towards one where China becomes a politically interested and invested actor. This trend is paralleled by a macro-level reorientation of China’s foreign policy goals, where it envisions itself playing a stronger norm-setting role in the global arena.

This policy insights paper explores the values and imperatives that motivate China’s engagement in peace and security, human rights and human security in Africa.

China’s foray into political matters is a consequence of the growing need for it to respond to attacks on its citizens and investments on the ground, but can also be traced to grander foreign policy underpinnings associated with its desire to position itself as a norms entrepreneur in the global arena. What emerges from the interplaybetween these two factors is a dynamic foreign policy that is responsive to the political contexts of African states while guarding the sanctity of state sovereignty.

To be a successful player in promoting peace, security and human rights in Africa, China has found it necessary to develop an approach that mitigates the challenges of operating in volatile environments by increasing its engagements in multilateral organisations. In doing this, China positions itself as an important alternative to established global norms, projecting its aspirations of becoming a more responsible great power in world affairs.



South Africa in Africa: the dilemmas of foreign policy and human rights

30 Sep 2016 02:30:02 GMT

The Centre for Confl ict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, and the Johannesburg-based Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) hosted two public dialogues in Cape Town, one on 11 April 2016 on “South Africa in Africa: National Interest Versus Human Rights?”, and another on 30 June 2016 on “South Africa in Southern Africa: ‘Good Governance’ Versus Regional Solidarity?” Both events were held at the Centre for the Book in Cape Town.

The main focus of the public dialogue “South Africa in Africa: National Interest Versus Human Rights?” was to discuss South Africa’s obligations to the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) generally, and its specific obligations towards arresting Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for war crimes by the ICC. Following the adoption by the United Nations (UN) Security Council of resolution 1593 in March 2005, several investigations resulted in two warrants being issued by the ICC for the arrest of al-Bashir in March 2009 for war crimes, and, in July 2010, relating to charges of genocide, both committed in Sudan’s Darfur region.

The following four key recommendations emerged from the two public dialogues:

  • African and other governments need to work closely with the UN and the ICC to sequence the administration of justice in cases such as Sudan in ways that do not undermine the pursuit and consolidation of peace
  • the South African government should not lose sight of its domestic human rights challenges, particularly in relation to violence, crime, and xenophobia; and Tshwane should give these problems as much priority as its outward-looking foreign policy
  • South Africa, through SADC, should put in place a five-year implementation plan for greater regional industrialisation projects that build strong partnerships to promote socio-economic development and reduce human rights abuses
  • Southern African governments must honour their commitments enshrined in SADC, the AU, the UN, and other international legal documents to promote human rights more effectively across the sub-region

Policy briefing: SMEs and GVCs in the G20: implications for Africa and developing countries

09 Sep 2016 02:28:34 GMT

Increasing the participation of developing countries in global value chains (GVCs) is now an accepted G20 priority. However, there is disagreement over how multinational corporations (MNCs), which drive GVCs, can be persuaded to incorporate small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from developing countries into the GVCs they co-ordinate. The choices range from conscious industrial strategies oriented towards coercive measures designed to force MNCs to integrate SMEs into their value chains, to facilitative approaches designed to attract MNCs to invest and, over time, incorporate domestic suppliers into their value chains.

Nonetheless, there is consensus on the key constraints that inhibit the growth of SMEs in general, and their inclusion into GVCs in particular: transaction costs; access to network infrastructure; and the capacity of firms and supporting institutional arrangements. Accordingly, this brief offer a high-level framework of recommendations for G20 states’ consideration.


  • transaction cost reductions: G20 states should support the ratification and implementation of the WTO TFA and capacity-building initiatives in African countries designed to help their SMEs access logistics supply chains and the host states to reduce regulatory compliance costs; and task the Financial Services Board with investigating ways to reduce trade finance costs for SMEs
  • network infrastructure establishment: Building on the outcomes of the Brisbane summit, development partners should leverage Aid for Trade and broader external funding support for infrastructure development in Africa
  • capacity to participate in GVCs: G20 states should build support mechanisms to assist African SMEs, particularly medium-sized companies with the capacity to export, to integrate into GVCs, such as helping them to build capacities to meet international standards. Support for SME representative institutions, to enable their participation in international economic governance forums, should also be prioritised

SMEs and GVCs in the G20 implications for Africa and developing countries

09 Sep 2016 02:15:15 GMT

Increasing the participation of developing countries in global value chains (GVCs) is now an accepted G20 priority that features prominently on the Chinese government’s agenda for the 2016 summit. However, there is disagreement over a simple question: how can multinational corporations (MNCs), which drive GVCs, be persuaded to incorporate small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from developing countries into the GVCs they co-ordinate?

The debate over this question is first explored in broad outline. It comes down to a decision by each country on whether it wishes to utilise GVCs in its growth strategy and, if so, what measures it wishes to adopt to promote the incorporation of its firms into MNCs’ GVCs. The choice ranges from conscious industrial strategies oriented towards coercive measures designed to force MNCs to integrate SMEs into their value chains, to facilitative approaches designed to attract MNCs to invest and, over time, incorporate domestic suppliers into their value chains where it makes business sense to do so.

Next the paper turns to the analyses and prescriptions being proffered by key international institutions in relation to the evolving G20 agenda on including SMEs in GVCs. What clearly emerges is consensus on a number of key constraints that inhibit the growth of SMEs in general and their inclusion into GVCs in particular. These can be summarised in three broad areas:

  • transaction costs (import tariffs; border procedures; logistics; trade finance)
  • network infrastructure (information and communications technology [ICT]; transport; energy); and
  • capacity (of firms, to meet GVCs’ standards; and of supporting government institutions)


Exploring the determinants of welfare distribution in Tunisia and Egypt using a welfare generation model

08 Sep 2016 11:59:54 GMT

The Tunisian revolution quickly sparked a wave of major uprisings in the region, starting from Egypt and spreading to other countries, such as Libya and Syria among others. Not surprisingly, the fuel of uprisings in these countries finds its main sources in inequality, in its various dimensions. Still, inequality patterns in the region are also different.

Countries such as Morocco and Tuni sia show relatively high inequality levels, while others, such as Egypt, show moderate to low inequality levels. Despite this, little is known about the sources of the differences in household welfare distribution across the MENA region countries.
The present paper intends to identify the main driving factors of the distribution of welfare in Tunisia and Egypt. The authors present a regression-based method to compare the labour market and demographic characteristics in both countries, as well as their impact on the distribution of consumption expenditures. For this, they develop a welfare generation model to generate estimates for the contribution of different demographics and labour characteristics for each country to welfare. This allows the authors to capture differences in both returns in employment and demographic characteristics. This paper presents the welfare generation model and its estimation results. These suggest that the most relevant factors in explaining the distribution of welfare are similar in Tunisia and Egypt. Some specific characteristics, such as education and regional characteristics have a different impact in each country.

Climate change adaptation and resilience in Africa: recommendations to policymakers

06 Sep 2016 12:02:22 GMT

The principal objective of this advisory booklet is to assess the status and make recommendations that African governments should consider when dealing with climate change and resilience in Africa. Through the cooperation between NASAC and the German National Academy Leopoldina, top African scientists with expertise on this topic agreed to look at the adaptation question using both geographical and sectoral lenses. The consultative process included a joint workshop with the Cameroon Academy of Sciences supported by the Cameroonian Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development, the Pan-African Parliamentarians Network on Climate Change and the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance.

This policymakers'€™ booklet focuses on why climate change adaptation and resilience is crucial for Africa. It further elaborates, through key messages, how climate change impact can be addressed through targeted policy actions and interventions specific to water, agriculture and food security, fisheries, coastal and urban zones, and human health. Adaptation to climate change remains a key concern and priority of all NASAC stakeholders from governments and policymakers to scientists and civil society; regional and international organisations. It is, therefore, our hope that the implementation of the proposed actions will specifically provide Africa’s policymakers with a platform to work together to enhance climate change adaptation capacities and thus improving the resilience of people within the continent.

Effects of climate change on the social & environmental determinants of health in Africa: what can communities do to strengthen their climate resilience

31 Aug 2016 10:55:08 GMT

The highest burden per capita of climate-sensitive diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoeal diseases and malnutrition is found in the African region. These diseases already represent the main cause of death among children under five in Africa, 6 and climate change is expected to cause an overall net increase in the risk of such diseases.

In this paper, the authors present current evidence on how climate change impacts on social and environmental determinants of health and the link between these determinants and the vulnerability of local communities. They outline proven community-based interventions that local populations in developing countries can scale-up and take ownership of in order to strengthen their resilience to climate-sensitive diseases and conditions, including in the context of climate-induced disasters. Furthermore, this paper serves as a guide for countries to develop community-based Health Adaptation Programmes to climate change (c-HAPs).

Tools and tactics for the LGBTI community in the Middle-East and North Africa | security in-a-box

24 Aug 2016 12:14:42 GMT

Tactical Tech have created a guide: Tools and Tactics for the LGBTI community in the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA). This is the first in the series of Security in-a-box Community Focus guides, which aim to further integrate digital security into the context of particular communities and human rights defenders.

This guide was created specifically for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual and Intersex individuals and human rights defenders in the MENA region, and was written in collaboration with human rights defenders from the community. The guide was written and published in the context of continuous and determined legal, religious, social, economic and digital marginalisation and harassment of the LGBTI community in most of the region.

The guide explores common threats, such as entrapment, extortion, harassment, and unauthorised access to devices and then links to the tools and tactics which can help LGBTI persons in the MENA region to stay safe.

The guide includes all the existing chapters of the Security in-a-Box toolkit (created in collaboration with Frontline Defenders), as well as testimonies of human rights defenders from the community, examples and accounts of attacks, and additional chapters on Risk Analysis and Safer Use of Internet Cafes and LGBTI dating sites.

Supporting Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex human rights defenders in the digital age

24 Aug 2016 02:55:58 GMT

The widespread diffusion of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) has empowered activists and minority communities to spread information, campaign, build communities and challenge injustice in new and powerful ways. The LGBTI activist community has been no exception to this, as the increased potential for communication beyond established social channels, less confined by social norms and geographic isolation has facilitated LGBTI people’s expression and development of identity and ability to join forces to challenge the dangers and injustices faced by the community. 

However, the spread of ICTs have also created new opportunities for antagonists to subject human rights defenders’ to entrapment, control, intimidation and harassment. This has led to the need for an awarenessraising and capacity-building effort in order to strengthen Human Rights Defenders’ (HRDs) capacities to react against emerging threats to their wellbeing from the digital space. Over the past decade, Tactical Technology Collective (Tactical Tech) has been at the forefront of this movement. Working with actors in the field of Human Rights, including Front Line Defenders, Tactical Tech’s effort has spawned the development of a range of toolkits and guides, awareness-raising and training initiatives in order to build capacities among HRDs in terms of their wellbeing, the security of their communities and the safeguarding of their information and privacy. 
This article details the development and content of the first such materials to be developed with this in mind – a digital security guide for the Arabic-speaking LGBTI community – the first version of which was launched in September of 2013

Developing beans that can beat the heat

23 Aug 2016 10:51:15 GMT

In Africa and Latin America, the production of beans ( Phaseolus vulgaris ) is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, which include higher temperatures and more frequent drought. Within the last 15 years, CGIAR researchers have registered key advances -€“ particularly the development of drought-tolerant and disease-resistant varieties -€“ that will help make production more resilient in the face of future threats.

Just within the last few years, however, climate modeling has suggested that, over the next several decades, higher temperatures will become the primary threat to bean production. According to recent projections, the area suited for this crop in eastern and central Africa could shrink up to 50% by 2050. Affecting mainly lowland areas, heat stress will pose a particularly serious problem for bean crops in Malawi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), followed by Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. Across Latin America, the situation is also dire. Bean production in Nicaragua, Haiti, Brazil, and Honduras, as well as Guatemala and Mexico, would be most impacted.

In response to this concern, CIAT researchers have recently identified elite lines that show strong tolerance to temperatures 4°C higher than the range that beans can normally tolerate. Many of these lines come from wide crosses between common and tepary beans ( Phaseolus acutifolius ), a species originating in the arid US Southwest and northwestern Mexico. This document reports findings from research conducted over the last year, which confirm heat tolerance in selected bean lines and show their potential for adapting bean production in Africa and Latin America to future climate change impacts.

Witness protection: facilitating justice for complex crimes

18 Aug 2016 03:43:52 GMT

Responding appropriately to complex transnational and international crimes requires a multifaceted approach that includes a robust criminal justice response. Witness testimony is a crucial part of this. Witnesses, and often their family members, can face significant danger given their crucial role in obtaining a conviction. Africa has seen situations where witness intimidation and harm have led to case dismissals and acquittals. Ultimately, justice fails in these circumstances. Obstacles such as insufficient funding, shortage of skills and weak political will must be addressed.


  • Governments should promote greater understanding of the pivotal role of witness protection services among policymakers and legislators in governments, where such services do not exist
  • Governments should undertake costing exercises to provide legislators with an understanding of the cost implications for envisaged new witness protection services, and to allocate adequate annual budgets
  • Governments should pass domestic witness protection legislation to create independent witness protection services that
    can address the needs of witnesses in a holistic way
  • Governments should seek technical support from experienced external organisations and other governments to design witness protection legislation and systems
    Governments should explore the range of approaches to managing the costs of witness protection, e.g. incremental implementation of services and prioritising witness protection based on the level of the potential threat

Does less engaged mean less empowered? Political participation lags among African youth, especially women

18 Aug 2016 03:34:19 GMT

The African Union (AU) Assembly declared 2009 - 2018 the "African Youth Decade" and released an action plan to promote youth empowerment and development throughout the continent, including by raising young citizens' representation and participation in political processes. The latest results from Afrobarometer surveys in 36 countries reveal a wide gap between the aspirations set forth in the AU policy framework and the reality of youth political engagement in Africa today. The data show that African governments and development partners have considerable work to do to achieve the goal of increased civic and political participation among youth, particularly young women. African youth (aged 18-35) report lower rates of political engagement than their elders across a variety of indicators, including voting in national elections. Young citizens are also less likely to engage in civic activities such as attending community meetings and joining others to raise an issue. While these findings are consistent with research on age differences in voter turnout in advanced democracies, the survey further finds that youth engagement levels have declined over time despite the introduction of regional and national youth empowerment policies. Key findings:political engagement is generally lower among African youth than among their elders, particularly in terms of voting. Two-thirds (65%) of 18- to 35–year-old respondents who were old enough to vote in the last national election say they did so, compared to 79% of citizens above age 35slightly more than half (53%) of African youth report being “very” or “somewhat” interested in public affairs, while two-thirds (67%) say they discuss politics with friends or family at least “occasionally.” Compared to their male counterparts, young women report significantly less interest (48% vs. 60%) and discussion (61% vs. 74%)attendance at campaign rallies is the most popular form of pre-electoral engagement among young Africans: One-third (33%) say they attended at least one in the previous year, compared to 37% of older citizens. The gender gap in participation in rallies averages 10 percentage points and is largest in East Africa (14 points) and West Africa (13 points)African youth are less likely than their elders to participate in civic activities: Less than half (47%) of 18- to 35–year-olds say they attended community meetings at least once during the previous year, while 40% joined others to raise an issue (vs. 57% and 47% for older citizens). Young women’s participation also lags behind that of their male peers on these measures of civic activism (by 9 percentage points, on average), particularly in West Africa and North Africa (both by 14 percentage points)not quite half (48%) of youth say they contacted political or community leaders during the previous year to discuss an important issue, with lower reported engagement levels among young women than men (43% vs. 53%)youth participation in demonstrations and protest marches is lower than in more conventional forms of civic and political engagement, but higher than among their elders: 11% of young survey respondents say they atten[...]

Low social and political returns to education in the Arab World

18 Aug 2016 02:26:48 GMT

The policy discussion in the Arab world has rarely focused on the social and political returns of education, areas of keen interest in more democratic countries. This is unfortunate. The evidence uncovered in the author's recent research, and summarised here, is that the social and political returns to education are in fact much lower in the Arab world than in the rest of the world – in other words, educated Arabs are much less emancipated by their education on political and social values compared to their global peers. This means that unless policymakers start focusing on reforming the type of education Arab youth receive, it will remain difficult to foster more open societies in the Arab world.

Arab societies urgently need to start looking at how to improve education systems, not just in ways to improve the marketability of individuals, but as importantly, to improve their social and political impact on society, such as by strengthening a sense of community, beefing up values of civic engagement, inculcating democratic prin - ciples, supporting gender equality, and promoting social tolerance.

The African Union: regional and global challenges

18 Aug 2016 01:38:08 GMT

The Centre for Confl ict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, hosted a three-day policy research seminar in Cape Town, from 27 to 29 April 2016, on the theme “The African Union: Regional and Global Challenges”.The meeting was convened with about 30 prominent African, Asian, and Western policymakers, scholars, and civil society actors to reflect critically on the historical mission, achievements, challenges, and prospects of the African Union (AU) in a changing regional and global environment.The following 10 key policy recommendations emerged from the Cape Town policy seminar:the AU Commission should engage more strategically with African civil society, think tanks, the private sector, and the philanthropic sector in order to implement its mandate more effectively. There is an urgent need to revisit Adebayo Adedeji’s 2007 five-year review of the AU Commission in order to implement its main findings on reforming the AU’s institutions and accelerating regional integration and economic development efforts in Africa. Key parts of the 2013 Olusegun Obasanjo Report on alternative sources of funding for the AU should also be implemented to ensure a sustainable source of future financingthere is an urgent need to sanction non-performing AU staff members and to implement results-based management at the AU Commission in Addis Ababa. Recruitment, retention, and training of personnel should be greatly improved. There is also a need for better coordination between the AU’s Department of Political Affairs and its Peace and Security Department. The AU Commission must further strengthen its administrative and financial management capacity to be able to absorb and manage donor fundsthe AU’s continental early warning system needs greater coordination with the mechanisms of sub-regional bodies such as IGAD, ECOWAS, and SADC. Furthermore, African leaders must provide greater financial and political support to the APRM, strengthening its capacity and restoring its previous consistent fundingthere is an urgent need to create institutionalised mechanisms for regular consultation and coordination between the AU’s Peace and Security Council and the organs of the RECs; this must include the increased participation of civil society and parliaments in decision-making to promote greater synergy and complementarity between the policies and initiatives of the AU and the RECs in this arearegional integration in Africa should take into account the configuration of interests in member states, and put in place mechanisms to compensate groups that may lose out from integration. There is an urgent need to cultivate a national entrepreneurial class to drive socio-economic development across Africa. The continent also needs more “Afrocrats” – young, highly competent officials with a strong commitment to Pan-Africanism, similar to many of the EU’s “Eurocrats”the AU needs to rationalise relations between the RECs and the African Economic Community in light of the multiple membership of the former. It might also be necessary to create a smaller grouping of African states in which conditions fo[...]

The State of Biodiversity in West Asia: a mid-term review of progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets

16 Aug 2016 04:17:22 GMT

Global Biodiversity Outlook-4 (GBO-4), the mid-term review of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 , published by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), provides a global assessment of progress towards the attainment of the Plan’s biodiversity goals and associated twenty Aichi Biodiversity Targets, but contains limited regional information.

This second edition of the State of Biodiversity in West Asia report builds on and complements the global GBO-4 assessment, serving as a near mid-term review of progress towards the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 for the West Asia region specifically. This report draws on a set of regional indicators, information from fifth national reports to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), other government reports, case studies and published literature, to provide a target by target review of progress towards the twenty Aichi Biodiversity Targets. As much as possible, global indicators for the Aichi Biodiversity Targets have been broken down to regional level and additional analyses of existing global information have been undertaken.

The key messages about the state of biodiversity in West Asia, and the pressures upon it, which have emerged from this assessment are:

  • available biodiversity and ecosystem service information for the region is limited, which has made the reporting task challenging, and in many cases data are too poor and fragmentary to allow robust conclusions
  • the major drivers of biodiversity decline have seen a rapid increase, including urban expansion, the spread of intensive agricultural systems and cultivation of marginal land resulting from considerable population growth. Such changes necessitate reliance on resources imported from elsewhere in the world, meaning that West Asia’s ecological footprint is growing sharply and now exceeds the global average
  • the volatile political situation in parts of the region means  conservation work has been unable to proceed in the countries or areas experiencing significant internal and international conflicts and political instability in recent years
  • protected areas networks in West Asia are limited in both coverage and management effectiveness
  • wildlife crime linked to hunting is a continuing problem with ineffective enforcement of regulations and legislation
  • water scarcity, driven by rapidly rising demand, is threatening the survival of the region’s wetland habitats
  • multiple anthropogenic and climatic pressures are interacting to threaten the integrity of marine ecosystems
  • the region is likely to be one of the hardest hit by the direct and indirect impacts of climate change such as sea level rise, sea temperature rise, increasing water scarcity and ground water salinity, and desertification

The State of Biodiversity in Africa: a mid-term review of progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets

16 Aug 2016 04:05:56 GMT

Global Biodiversity Outlook-4, the mid-term review of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 , provided a global assessment of progress towards the attainment of the Plan'€™s global biodiversity goals and associated Aichi Biodiversity Targets, but contained limited regional information. This report builds on and complements the global GBO-4 assessment. It is the second edition of the State of Biodiversity in Africa report and serves as a near mid-term review of progress towards the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 for the African region.

This report draws on a set of regional indicators, information from fifth national reports to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), other government reports, case studies and published literature, to provide a target by target review of progress towards the twenty Aichi Biodiversity Targets. As much as possible, global indicators for Aichi Biodiversity Targets have been broken down to regional level and some additional analyses of existing global information have been undertaken. However, limitations in data have meant that some datasets which do not extend past 2011 have been included to illustrate that relevant information exists, but that further efforts to update this information.

The key messages about the state of biodiversity in Africa, and the pressures upon it, which have emerged from this assessment are:
  • overall, biodiversity in Africa continues to decline, with ongoing losses of species and habitats
  • ongoing loss of biodiversity in Africa is driven by a combination of human-induced factors
  • Africa’s freshwater ecosystems and their biodiversity are especially threatened
  • Africa continues to experience deforestation and forest degradation
  • the negative impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems are exacerbating the effects of all these pressures
  • nonetheless the report identifies a number of important responses which have taken place since 2011
  • African countries are working collaboratively to address particular Aichi Biodiversity Targets
  • there is a growing portfolio of international support for African countries to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets
  • African countries are using ecosystem service valuation and investment in REDD+ to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets
  • many African countries have already achieved their 17% terrestrial protected area targets, and many others are working towards this target on land, as well as on the 10% marine protected areas target on the sea
  • Africa is making increasing use of ecosystem-based conservation and restoration of natural resources

The state of governance in Africa: what indices tell us

21 Jul 2016 11:53:54 GMT

Governance is notoriously difficult to measure – yet numerous global indices attempt to do so. This paper tracks the governance progress of 52 African countries through various indices. A total of 17 of these states have undergone a holistic governance review by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). Another 17 have joined the APRM, but have not yet been reviewed. The remaining 18 are not members and thus are used as independent variables to determine whether the APRM makes a difference.

Since the APRM does not provide ratings or rankings in its reports, this paper uses data from the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance to track progress (or lack thereof) between 2003 (when the APRM was established) and 2015 (the most recent set of data available at the time of writing). Supporting data from Freedom House’s Freedom in the World Index, The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, the Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index and the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index is used where necessary.

Arguably, by voluntarily acceding to and undergoing the review, APRM member states have demonstrated the necessary political will to reform. How have they fared since the year of inception of the APRM? The paper concludes that overall, APRM members have performed better than non-members. But whether a state has actually undergone the APRM review or merely joined the mechanism does not seem to make much of a difference. Progress has also often been mixed, and economic achievements have sometimes come at the expense of political freedoms.

Demographic changes and fiscal policy in MENA countries

21 Jul 2016 02:50:43 GMT

Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region countries have unique demographic characteristics. Within the MENA region, Arab countries have higher fertility and population growth rates and a significantly younger age structure than other ountries and regions. This can be a “demographic gift or a demographic curse” depending on whether the high population growth and fertility can be transformed into economic growth.

In this study, the author examines the links between demographic change and fiscal policy in MENA countries, focusing specifically on the economic impacts coming from the conflict between social security and education, which are two of the most government programs in any country. The paper is unique as it incorporates a political economy model of education given expected increases in social security spending in the background. Labor movements and growth results are expected to depend significantly on the return to education. A sensitivity analysis on the parameter that shows the return to education spending reveals that MENA countries would suffer significantly from a lower return to education. 

This scenario highlights the importance of returns to education for the growth results in the MENA region. It is also important to note that the MENA region could potentially experience significant positive economic growth if it can maintain a high return to education and also attract more capital, despite a rising fiscal burden coming from the social security system. 

The African Union: regional and global challenges

21 Jul 2016 01:39:30 GMT

The Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, hosted a three-day policy research seminar in Cape Town, from 27 to 29 April 2016, on the theme “The African Union: Regional and Global Challenges”. The meeting was convened with about 30 prominent African, Asian, and Western policymakers, scholars, and civil society actors to reflect critically on the historical mission, progress, problems, and prospects of the African Union (AU) in a changing regional and global environment.Policy recommendations The following 10 key policy recommendations emerged from the Cape Town policy seminar:the AU Commission should engage more strategically with African civil society, think tanks, the private sector, and the philanthropic sector in order to implement its mandate more effectively. There is an urgent need to revisit Adebayo Adedeji’s 2007 five-year review of the AU Commission in order to implement its main findings on reforming the AU’s institutions and accelerating regional integration and economic development efforts in Africa. Key parts of the 2013 Olusegun Obasanjo Report on alternative sources of funding for the AU should also be implemented to ensure a sustainable source of financingthere is an urgent need to sanction non-performing AU staff members and to implement results-based management at the AU Commission in Addis Ababa. Recruitment, retention, and training of personnel should be greatly improved. There is also a need for better coordination between the AU’s Department of Political Affairs and its Peace and Security Department. The AU Commission must further strengthen its administrative and financial management capacity to be able to absorb and manage donor fundsthe AU’s continental early warning system needs greater coordination with the mechanisms of sub-regional bodies. Furthermore, African leaders must provide greater financial and political support to the APRM, strengthening its capacity and restoring its previous consistent fundingthere is an urgent need to create institutionalised mechanisms for effective coordination between the AU’s Peace and Security Council and the organs of the RECs; this must include the increased participation of civil society and parliaments in decision-making to ensure complementarity between the AU and the RECs in this critical arearegional integration in Africa should take into account the configuration of interests in member states, and put in place mechanisms to compensate groups that may lose out from integration. There is an urgent need to cultivate a national entrepreneurial class to drive socioeconomic development across Africa. The continent also needs more “Afrocrats” – young, highly competent officials with a strong commitment to Pan-Africanism, similar to many of the EU’s “Eurocrats”the AU needs to rationalise relations between the RECs and the African Economic Community in light of the multiple membership of the former. It might also be necessary to create a s[...]

India and Africa - collaboration for growth

14 Jul 2016 02:39:16 GMT

The nature of India’s relationship with Africa is clearly evolving into a wider, deeper engagement that, while clearly in India’s advantage, also offers significant potential benefits to its African counterparts. This overview of Indian/African economic collaboration is a joint piece of work from KPMG and the Confederation of Indian Industry.  It specifically looks at:

  • infrastructure
  • energy and natural resources
  • agriculture
  • healthcare

An important caveat pertaining to India’s economic relations with Africa, is that they are not confined to the BRICS and India’s reach in Africa extends beyond the alliance. The surge into Africa is driven mainly by the Indian government, but the private sector has not been lagging and significant economic linkages have arisen due to the interventions of the private sector from India.

The overall conclusion is that Indian-African trade and economic relations are likely to continue to grow, even in the wake of massive increases over a relatively short period of time with no current indication that the relationships are likely to cool anytime soon. While global conditions dictate events, the fact that Indian-African trade and economic relations continued to grow even through periods of some economic crisis suggests potential that has yet to be fully exploited.

Hot, hungry and starved of investment: supporting smallholders to build a climate-resilient agricultural sector in southern Africa

28 Jun 2016 04:41:42 GMT

As the African Development Bank meets in southern Africa, one of the strongest and most sustained El Niño events on record, turbocharged by climate change, is causing severe drought, failed harvests and a hunger crisis across the region. This is being made worse by record high temperatures as a result of global warming. Women farmers are on the front line of climate change, yet are also the region’s first line of defence against food insecurity. With smallholder agriculture being critical to both food security and inclusive growth, governments, supported by donors and international organisations, must urgently implement plans to better support smallholder farmers and increase resilience. This paper outlines the current situation in the region and presents recommendations to help work towards this.


Recommendations for the African Development Bank include: invest in infrastructure for small-scale producers and processors, especially women; resist the attraction of large-scale PPPs; and champion funds for adapting to climate change. Recommendations for national governments include: tailor public spending to help women and smallholder farmers diversify away from maize and enter high-value chains; strengthen land tenure rights for smallholders and women; promote responsible private sector investment in smallholder and women farmers; and invest in sustainable agriculture that is resilient to climate change. 

CBA and gender analysis practitioner brief

27 Jun 2016 03:38:32 GMT

The brief is the third in a series of practitioner briefs which document ALP learning on community based adaptation approaches in ways that are useful to practitioners, development actors and decision-makers. This brief will be of particular value for project or programme teams, local and national government staff and civil society practitioners who are designing or starting up programmes which aim for adaptation and resilience to climate change and sustainable outcomes by climate vulnerable men and women in Africa. The brief is useful across a wide range of programmes and sectors where gender equality is a critical outcome, for example in – adaptation, community economic development, development planning, sector based development, climate smart agriculture, women’s empowerment, disaster risk reduction and social protection.

Lessons and Pitfalls of Transitions to Democracy

24 Jun 2016 02:14:35 GMT

The struggles over institution-building that followed the spread of uprisings across the Arab region in 2011 underscore the importance of elite bar - gaining in shaping the direction of regime change.

To understand why elite compromise occurs, we need to turn to more structural factors. Elite resources and strategies are themselves shaped by structural conditions such as the relative weight of societal groups prior to the overthrow of incumbent dictators. The economic and political contexts – that is, the factors that constitute “structure” – shape the interests and goals of elites and, hence, their propensity to make concessions to political rivals and to work together productively.

Summary points:

  • when elites agree to compromise during regime transitions, democratization is more likely to succeed. Human agency is therefore central to successful democratization; however, it cannot be divorced from structural factors, such as class or economic interests, which incentivize elites to compromise in the first place
  • leadership plays a key role in guiding transition processes and can even help to break deadlocks between ideological opponents
  • politicized ethnic or religious cleavages can pose serious obstacles to democratic transitions, but external incentives and shared economic interests can help to overcome the serious obstacles they pose
  • when existing patronage networks remain strong, elite defection and, hence, the likelihood of authoritarian breakdown is reduced. Conversely, when authoritarian rulers either face dwindling resources or do not co-opt key political and economic elites with patronage, their incumbency is threatened
  • the nature of democratic transitions shapes the subsequent quality of democracy. Transitions that are “pacted” among elites may result in relatively smooth transitions to electoral democracy but they tend to permit political and economic elites to maintain their privileges, leading to less inclusive democracy
  • the most vociferous opponents of economic liberalization may not be the marginalized mass publics but rather well-connected elites who benefited under authoritarian rule. Forging a more inclusive political and economic system is challenging, in no small part because it is difficult to dislodge authoritarian coalitions even after democratic transitions have ostensibly occurred

Empower young women and adolescent girls: fast-track the end of the AIDS epidemic in Africa

23 Jun 2016 12:04:44 GMT

"To be effective, any health and development agenda needs to focus on the root causes of the gender gap, and the AIDS response is no different."This report was produced to guide regional and global advocacy and inform political dialogue, particularly within discussions and planning being shaped as part of the African Union Agenda 2063 and the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, in order to consider actions needed to achieve the goal of ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. The report centres on the understanding that this requires taking action to target the root causes of young women and girls' vulnerability, largely arising from harmful gender norms and inequality.The report offers five key recommendations:Women's agency, participation and leadership: By empowering women as political and social actors, institutions and policies can become more representative of diverse voices, including those young women and girls. This should include young women living with and affected by HIV being part of policy and decision-making bodies and ensuring women's participation in humanitarian situations.Strategies to reduce intimate partner violence and reduce vulnerability to HIV: "Strategies and action implemented at the community level to address intimate partner violence are critical to reducing young women's and adolescent girls' vulnerability to HIV." One example given is the Raising Voices SASA! kit, which was designed to inspire and guide community mobilisation to prevent violence against women and HIV. "Community activists spearheaded a wide range of activities in their own neighbourhoods designed to decrease the social acceptability of violence by influencing knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviours on gender, power and violence."Scaling up social protection and cash transfers to reduce poverty and girls' vulnerability to HIV: According to the report, in the context of comprehensive social policies and programmes, "households affected by HIV are an appropriate target for cash transfer programmes that aim to alleviate poverty. Cash transfers can achieve multiple simultaneous outcomes, including declines in early marriage and teenage pregnancy."Strategies to keep girls in school and comprehensive sexuality education: Evidence shows that education contributes to a higher level of knowledge about HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights, lowers exposure to gender-based violence, and increases women's and girls' chances of being financially secure and independent. As well, "when young women and adolescent girls have access to comprehensive age-appropriate sexuality education before becoming sexually active, they are more likely to make informed decisions about their sexuality and approach relationships with more self-confidence."Scaling up and integrating HIV with sexual and reproductive[...]

mHealth compendium, volume five

21 Jun 2016 02:58:35 GMT

This fifth volume of the mHealth Compendium, produced by the African Strategies for Health Project for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is a collection of 41 case studies submitted by various implementing partners which document a range of mHealth applications being implemented mainly throughout Africa, but also in other regions of the world. The majority of case studies focus on maternal, newborn and child health issues and HIV/AIDS, with some also looking at mHealth used to address tuberculosis, Ebola and malaria.

The case studies in this compendium have been organised into five programmatic areas where mHealth is being implemented: 1) Behaviour Change Communication; 2) Data Collection; 3) Finance; 4) Logistics; and 5) Service Delivery. Each two-page case study includes an introduction to the health area or problem; a description of the mHealth intervention highlighted; a description of any important results or evaluation findings; lessons learned; and a conclusion. In addition, the second page includes a summary of the geographic coverage, implementation partners, and donors, as well as contact information for the implementing partner and donor.

mHealth Compendium Special Edition 2016: Reaching Scale | The HIV/AIDS Network - Africa

21 Jun 2016 02:49:21 GMT

The mHealth Compendium Special Edition 2016: Reaching Scale presents ten in-depth profiles of mHealth programmes that have grown in scale over time.  This edition follows on from a series of five mHealth Compendiums which were produced by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Africa Bureau project, African Strategies for Health (ASH), to help USAID missions, governments, and health implementing organisations access information on a range of mHealth example programmes. The series (see Related Summaries below) features over 150 case studies of mHealth programmes and applications being implemented mainly throughout Africa, but also in other regions of the world.Each case study includes details of the process, challenges, and lessons learned in growing an mHealth programme. The featured programmes are: Airtel Insurance - The Airtel/MicroEnsure partnership aimed to introduce millions of emerging consumers in Africa to their first health insurance products by offering simple cover, for free, aimed to establish trust through transparent, reliable operations. It then offered products for customers to increase options, creating a path to greater health insurance coverageAponjon - Aponjon (meaning “dear one(s)” in Bangla) aims to help to substantially reduce maternal and newborn deaths by improving health-seeking behaviours and preventive care among pregnant women, new mothers, and their familiescStock - This project uses mobile technology to improve community health supply chains for life-saving commodities in Malawi by using a  combination of mobile technology, user-friendly dashboards, and quality-improvement teamsiCCM - Integrated Community Case Management is used in hard-to-reach areas to complement facility-based services. Health surveillance assistants use a mobile application to assist in providing health services to children under five yearsKilkari Mobile Academy, & Mobile Kunji - This programme scaled up free mobile health education to 1 million community health workers and 10 million women in partnership with the Government of IndiamHERO - MHero is a two-way, mobile phone-based communication platform that uses basic text messaging, or SMS, to connect ministries of health and health workers. mHero operateson simple talk-and-text mobile devices—no smartphone or tablet requiredMomConnect - The MomConnect technical solution has a number of linked elements that enable pregnant women in South Africa to receive information about their own health and also that of their infants. Women can both ask for more information and supply feedback to improve the quality of health caremSOS - The mobile SMS-based disease outbreak alert system (mSOS) enhanced  event-based disease surveillance and response efforts in Kenya th[...]

China and the African Regional Economic Communities: transforming multilateral cooperation

17 Jun 2016 03:16:11 GMT

Recently, China has increased its economic, political and military co-operation with the African Union (AU). The diversity of members within the AU makes the continental approach more complicated for both Chinese and African actors. This is largely due to the AU’s lack of instrumental capacity, resulting from its financial and structural weakness, as an inter-governmental actor. This policy brief highlights an alternative platform through which co-operation could be fostered. African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) increase the bargaining power of African states, without losing the instrumental capacity of implementing and monitoring policies effectively. China’s engagement with the RECs would not only nurture regional integration, but also enhance China’s co-operation with Africa as a whole. In the following briefing, it is argued that increased co-operation with regional organisations is necessary as China’s bilateral and continental engagements face institutional, political and economic challenges. The RECs need to move to the forefront of the Sino-African dialogue in order to satisfy Africa’s aspiration for global markets and China’s interest in increased political, economic and cultural co-operation. Given the aforementioned issues, the following recommendations should be considered by both African and Chinese actors in order to harmonize trade policies:the AU needs to reorganise its functions and rationalise the issue of subsidiarity: (1) The AU develops substantive policy targets for its member states, but provides (2) the RECs with discretion to take the appropriate procedural measures to meet the objectives. This requires increased autonomy for the RECs and a binding legal mechanism for member states to implement the specified policiesthe RECs need to receive increased financial backing from the AU, the African Development Bank and member states to be able to co-ordinate regional policy implementationgiven Africa’s cultural, political and economic diversity, the AU should limit itself to target setting and monitoring, as well as sharing of best practicesChina could invest its expertise in regional organizations to develop a more decentralised system of governance that bridges the bilateral and continental approachesthe AU, the RECs and China need to develop a framework that provides sectorial monitoring to the varying levels of governance. For example, while the AU maintains authority over security-related matters, the RECs are in charge of trade agreements. It is this kind of rationalization process that is absolutely imperative, as three levels of governance, without clear procedural norms, creates problems of accountabilitymilitary interventions, mediation and peacekeeping missions should still [...]

Raising the bar on sustainable development: Renewable energy and environmental standards in FOCAC VI

17 Jun 2016 03:05:05 GMT

The 6th Forum on China - Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is taking place at a time when Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) are high on most international development agendas. Two important aspects of this agenda include environmental protection and the promotion of renewable energy. This policy briefing examines the promotion of renewable energy and the importance of environmental standards in Africa, within the China-Africa relationship.

  • African governments should assist local African business in benefitting from funding opportunities available through China-Africa forums such as FOCAC. This can be achieved by identifying bankable projects which fit into national development plans
  • it will be beneficial for African states to continue reducing regional trade barriers such as tariffs. The reduction of trade barriers will assist in the development of renewable energy industries by encouraging the flow of renewable energy products between countries allowing industries to benefit from neighbouring countries. This will prevent the duplication of industries between countries and reduce costs in a capital intensive industry
  • the Chinese government need to make the Guidelines on Environmental Protection for China’s Outbound Investment compulsory. At present companies can voluntarily implement them thus gaps in implementation remain. By making these guidelines policy, companies will be forced to comply
  • African governments need to implement adequate environmental legislation and policy, especially through EIAs, in order to strengthen law enforcement where it is lacking. For example, in Kenya