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GREAT insights Magazine

Rising voices in Africa

Volume 4, Issue 3 (April/May 2015)


ECDPM. 2015. Thematic focus: Rising voices: Are citizens re-shaping the governance landscape in Africa? GREAT Insights Magazine - Volume 4, Issue 3. April/May 2015.

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Dr. San Bilal – Head of Economic Transformation Programme, ECDPM, and Faten Aggad (Guest Editor), Head of Africa Change Dynamics Programme, ECDPM
“Without good, effective governance, Africa’s present strong economic momentum will not be sustained, the rewards will be wasted and tension will increase”, says Mo Ibrahim in his exclusive contribution to this issue of GREAT Insights. Indeed, African citizens, either organised in the form of civil society organisations or mobilising during key moments such as elections or popular uprisings, have become an important feature of the political landscape in Africa over the last few years. Their voices are growing and they are slowly but surely starting to reshape politics and socio-economic factors in their respective countries.

Reforming governance

Governance and citizenry in Africa
Mo Ibrahim, Chairman, Mo Ibrahim Foundation
Crafting new, contemporary tools of democracy which can no longer be summarised in elections only and the culture of winner takes all.

How is the African Union addressing concerns of the African citizen?
George Mukundi Wachira, Head of the African Governance Architecture Secretariat, AUC
African citizens are driving the African Union to respond better to their needs.

Mobilising and empowering local miners in Africa
Kojo Busia, Acting coordinator/Senior mineral sector governance advisor, AMDC
How the African Mining Vision can serve as a catalyst for mobilising and empowering local actors engaged in the artisanal and small scale mining sector in contributing to sustainable development of Africa’s natural resources.

Voice of the people

Citizen participation and the promotion of democratic governance in Africa
Mireille Affa’a Mindzie, Policy specialist, Peace and Security Section, UN Women
In an evolving environment, African citizens are increasingly able to effect change by influencing and reshaping governance processes but this transformative mobilisation is not without challenges.

Can the closing space for CSOs in Africa be reopened?
Désiré Assogbavi, Resident representative and Head of Oxfam International Liaison Office to the AU
The African Union Agenda 2063 recognises that people’s ownership and mobilisation is needed as one of the critical enablers to concretise the seven aspirations of what can be called the business plan of Africa. However, as the Agenda is being launched, citizens’ and civil society organisations’ space is being terribly challenged in a growing number of countries on the continent.

Civic space and the post-2015 framework
Mandeep Tiwana, Head of policy and research, CIVICUS
With recent trends pointing to shrinkage of civil society space, goals and targets to protect this space in the post-2015 agenda will count for nothing if not backed by relevant indicators.

Empowering citizens in the extractive industry: Make contracts public
George Boden, Global Witness
Imagine your government passes a law that could mean your home and job are taken away from you. It sets out whether you will be consulted or compensated and how your family and your local environment will be protected but you cannot read this law – it is kept hidden from public view.

Country perspective

Tackling third term bids: Lessons from Burkina Faso
Gilles Olakounié Yabi, Founder, WATHI
The popular insurrection of 30-31 October 2014 that led to the resignation of the president of Burkina Faso shed light on a recurrent trigger for political tensions in many young African democracies: constitutional tinkering by presidents who do not want to leave power.

Kenya’s benefit-less democratisation
Joshua Kivuva, Senior lecturer and research fellow, University of Nairobi
Despite decades of democratic transition, Kenya does not seem to have experienced consolidation. The majority of Kenyans are not happy with the country’s democratisation, which has not brought about significant benefits to them.

Putting into practice the new EU policy on civil society: The case of Madagascar
Rachid Karroum and Sophie Fernagu-Bialais, Dinika programme, EU
With the implementation of the Dinika programme, the exchange with EU policymakers and the development of a road map have all helped create a climate of trust between CSOs and the EU.


Citizen freedom in infographics

Talking Points Blog Highlights 

Weekly Compass Highlights 

This publication benefits from structural support by ECDPM‘s following partners:  The Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and Austria. 

Read GREAT insights volume 4, issue 3:

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African economic integrationEconomic recovery and transformationAfrican Union (AU)Democratic ownershipGovernanceMiningAfrica