Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Good Governance Is Key for Africa's Development

We at the Africa Progress Panel consider good governance, both on the continent and across the rest of the world, as the key enabling factor for Africa's development. While we have seen great progress towards a more democratic and rules-based political culture since the early 1990s, advances have become patchier, and democratic recessions more frequent recently.
We have seen the return of coups and efforts by leaders to perpetuate their rule, including by abolishing constitutional term limits or outright election rigging. Add to this the rise of China as an investor who does not ask questions about good governance, and the situation has become worrisome.
Over the last decade, the African Union has created a number of initiatives to support the democratization of the continent and build the foundation for sustainable and inclusive development. Its most famous efforts, the Charter on Democracy and the innovative African Peer Review Mechanism, may not be able to prevent rogue behaviour by individual leaders, but they can help to set standards and open the political space to the majority of citizens. Unfortunately, both initiatives are currently going through rough times, with the Review Mechanism lacking a prominent champion, and the Charter still not ratified.

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