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The regional economic communities and implementation of the African Governance Architecture (AGA)

Discussion Paper 181

23-10-2015

Taddele Maru, M., Fassi, S. 2015. Can the regional economic communities support implementation of the African Governance Architecture (AGA)? The case of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) (Discussion Paper 181). Maastricht: ECDPM.

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The case of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)

The African Governance Architecture (AGA) and African Governance Platform were established in 2011 by the 16th ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU). Launched as an effort “towards greater unity and integration through shared values”, the AGA is a pan-African political, institutional, and collaborative framework for promotion of good governance on the African continent.

The African Governance Architecture (AGA) is a natural by-product of the transformation of the Organisation of African Unity into the African Union and the principles articulated in the Constitutive Act of the AU. Within the African Union governance has become increasingly prominent, being recognised as closely intertwined with peace and security.

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As the AGA’s implementation has accelerated, several questions have arisen on the role of other organisations and institutions to ensure that the AGA can be successfully operationalised. For example, what role could the regional economic communities (RECs) play in transposing and tailoring some of the AGA’s ambitions to the regional level?

Given the increased interest in the governance-peace and security nexus, there is now momentum that African institutions and donors and could seize to streamline governance for conflict prevention. This will require the AU and IGAD to bring the governance agenda the forefront.

ECDPM will produce a series of studies assessing the level of readiness, both institutionally and politically, of the RECs ability to take up the governance agenda as set out in the AGA framework.

This study examines the role of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and its work on the governance agenda. This is to help us understand the current state of the AGA across African regions.


Key messages 


  • Governance has generally occupied a secondary place, behind peace and security, within the AU and IGAD. To move from an ‘interventionist’ African Union to a ‘preventionist’ one will require a transformation that shifts from a focus on missions to structural conflict prevention based on the substantive reforms of governance policies to address the root causes of conflict, fragility and instability.
  • Despite the various constraints that the governance agenda faces in Africa, the establishment of the African Governance Architecture has the potential to bring about this shift of focus to prevention.
  • The RECs are a practical entry point for promotion of the AGA agenda at the regional level. IGAD could also provide a platform for implementation and evaluation of progress.
  • Cooperation with external partners on governance is hindered. Donors find fault in a perceived lack of sincere commitment and political determination within the AU and IGAD. Meanwhile, African institutions argue that the lack of capacity and financial support is the main obstacle.

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Image courtesy of Global.finland.fi.

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African institutionsAfrican Governance InitiativesDiscussion Papers (series)African Governance Architecture (AGA)African Union (AU)Regional Economic Communities (RECs)Africa