Friday, December 01, 2023
  • 1

Select your language / Sélectionnez votre langue


Digitalising democracy in SADC: Insights from 2019 elections

This policy insight explores the worldwide phenomenon of the digitalisation of democracy, in the context of recently conducted elections in four SADC member countries – South Africa, Malawi, Botswana and Mozambique. This is done through a critical analysis of the role of social media in determining the course and outcomes of these elections, as well as an assessment of the impact of the outcomes of these elections on the SADC region and its mandate. While the digitalisation of democracy is still in its incipient stages in the region, if the 2019 elections in South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique and Botswana are anything to go by the interface between this phenomenon and traditional forms of politics and governance in the region holds grim prospects. The analysis concludes with the observation that urgent measures are needed to reform the region’s political culture and systems and align them to ongoing technological changes, in order to avert an Arab Spring-like revolt. (By Fritz Nganje)

  pdf View file (757 KB)

‘I Didn’t Struggle to be Poor’: The Interwovenness of Party, State and Business in Mozambique

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Country Review Report (CRR) for Mozambique, published in July 2010, indicates that the interwovenness of party, government, state and business (hereafter referred to as interwovenness) is a serious issue in the country. An increasingly common phenomenon in Africa, the interwovenness and overlapping of political party officials, government officials and the business sector needs to be addressed. Although Mozambique – like many African countries – is saturated with anti-corruption initiatives, these are often poorly implemented and enforced. In order for the country to address the negative effects of interwovenness, additional measures need to be taken by civil society, the APRM Panel of Eminent Persons and the government. (by Jinel Fourie)

pdf  View file (54.92 kB)

Africa and the Global Human Rights Agenda: The African Group at the UN Human Rights Council (2014)

This policy briefing examines the behaviour of African countries in country-specific situations at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), focusing specifically on developments and examples that occurred between July 2010 and July 2014. Africa is the region with the largest number of seats on the HRC. It is also one of the most organised. However, an analysis of its members’ behaviour shows that there is a diversity of approaches within the group, which does not react consistently when addressing situations of grave human rights violations on the continent or in other parts of the world. (by Philippe Dam) pdf  View file (64.03 kB)

Challenging the Negative Discourse on Human Rights in Africa (2014)

The recent proliferation of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and independent media across Africa is an important positive development. They play an essential role by investigating government policy, exposing corruption and human rights violations, advocating for the rights of minorities and vulnerable communities, and providing social services. However, their work is under threat due to a backlash from the continent’s leaders against the imposition of ‘Western’ ideas of human rights. This policy briefing highlights the shift in human rights discourse among African leaders towards more anti-imperialist rhetoric and the placing of African traditions above human rights. It provides examples of how local civil society organisations (CSOs) are challenging this viewin the face of increasing government attacks. CSOs are crucial to positive transformation and the universal protection and promotion of human rights, and more needs to be done to protect human rights and create an enabling environment for CSOs. (by Tiseke Kasambala) pdf  View file (62.83 kB)

‘Good Citizens’: Corporate Social Responsibility in Africa (2014)

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a growing consideration for businesses. The Country Review Reports (CRRs) compiled through the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) provide a unique lens through which CSR application in Africa can be gauged. Increasingly, thinking on the subject is moving beyond philanthropy to demands for the systemic integration of social concerns into business planning. In Africa, despite advanced thinking on the subject, its application across most of the continent remains in its infancy – ad hoc and of limited effectiveness. The very terms of CSR in Africa are contested: legislated demands are frequently ignored, while debates rage about appropriate business obligations towards workers. Corporate social investment (CSI) is unevenly applied and attracts criticism for failing to address key problems. This policy briefing appeals for greater encouragement of CSR and CSI, recognising its voluntary nature while stressing the advantages of taking a systemic, integrated approach to it. (by Terence Corrigan)

pdf  View file (65.52 kB)

Corporate Governance in Africa’s State-owned Enterprises: Perspectives on an Evolving System (2014)

The African Peer Review Mechanism’s (APRM) Country Review Reports (CRRs) provide a unique overview of central themes in Africa’s political economy, and the insights they provide into corporate governance are particularly useful. State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are a significant element in Africa’s economies, and as such their participation in the corporate governance regime is important if they are to come into their own. Common problems, such as unformed regulatory systems, politicised board appointments and unclear mandates, demonstrate that considerable work still needs to be done to achieve a durable SOE corporate governance regime. Ultimately, this will be achieved through stressing the professionalisation of the continent’s SOEs: recognising that they are companies and should be treated as such; depoliticising boards; and establishing clear regulations and mandates. SOEs should, in common with emerging thinking on the subject, structure their systems on the basis of good corporate governance principles. (by Terence Corrigan) pdf  View file (63.55 kB)

Building an African Corporate Governance (2014)

Developing a suitable system of corporate governance is an important priority for Africa. Corporate governance is underdeveloped on the continent – outside particular pockets – but the emerging system reflects a mix of universal and distinctly African elements. Central to the latter is the recognition that corporate governance demands consideration of the interests of stakeholders beyond businesses, and that socio-economic rather than purely financial criteria should measure their activities. South Africa’s King Code is a trendsetter here. Going forward, Africa needs to nurture its corporate governance system with an eye to what is possible for its emerging business sector, so that the demands are realistic and contribute to business growth. (by Terence Corrigan)

pdf  View file (62.46 kB)

Will Rising Democracies Adopt Pro-human Rights Foreign Policies? (2014)

Democratic governments worldwide behave hypocritically when it comes to human rights and foreign policy. The international community should hold them accountable and help them to close the gap between rhetoric and practice. As democratisation unfolded in countries such as Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa, it was hoped that these states would find common ground with more established democracies. While emerging and established democracies have collaborated in responding to grave human rights abuses in Myanmar, North Korea and Libya, among others, serious cleavages remain. Global South countries favour sovereignty, non-intervention and economic interests over values such as accountability for human rights abuses. States also fear  inviting criticism of their own human rights records. The growth of transnational advocacy in both the North and South has amplified the impact of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), allowing them to exert more pressure on states. Advocates and researchers can do more to raise awareness and demand state action on key issues. (by Ted Piccone) pdf  View file (55 kB)

Africa’s Evolving Continental Court Structures: At the Crossroads? (2015)

Heads of state and government (HOSG) in Africa, through the African Union (AU), have for some time expressed particular concern about two developments in current international criminal justice – the exercise of universal jurisdiction and the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Concern about the former relates to the indictment of senior government officials – including HOSG – from a number of African states by certain European states for international crimes allegedly committed. With regard to the ICC, following the indictment of three African HOSG, the charge being levelled is that Africa  specifically is being targeted by that court. Protestations and appeals having failed to halt these developments, African HOSG, through the AU, have resolved to address international crimes at the continental level. (by Garth Abraham). pdf  View file (177.09 kB)

From Non-Interference to Good Governance: Shifting Perspectives on Development in Africa (2014)

This paper introduces the contextual linkages between the good governance agenda and Africa’s development strategies, especially the newly defined role of civil society actors in Africa’s governance. The paper illustrates the institutionalisation of this ideal using the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). This suggests a shift away from the ‘non-interference’ approach of African leaders towards a more proactive approach to governance. Furthermore, while the role of civil society is emphasised for its potential to bring about the kind of participatory and collaborative governance and development processes desired in Africa, there is not yet sufficient empirical evidence that this brings about sustainable development. (by Mouzayian Khalil-Babatunde)

pdf  View file (162.62 kB)

The Courts: Lights That Guide Our Foreign Affairs? (2014)

South Africa’s constitutional democracy reserves a specific role for the judiciary in upholding human rights. This responsibility inevitably has an impact on the formulation and conduct of South Africa’s foreign policy. The constitution is clear in mandating that all public power be exercised in accordance with the rule of law; that it be rational; and that relevant considerations be taken into account and given appropriate weight to ensure informed  and accountable decision-making. This is as true for foreign policy as it is for any other type of governmental policy, making it susceptible to judicial scrutiny. It is the constitution that is to be the ‘light that guides our foreign affairs’. (by Nicole Fritz) pdf  View file (142.7 kB)

Lessons from Implementing the APRM National Programme of Action in Nigeria (2014)

The way in which the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) has unfolded in Nigeria – a key regional player with Africa’s largest population – offers lessons and guidance to other participating APRM countries. The peer review process must be followed by the effective implementation of the National Programme of Action (NPoA) – the document that seeks to remedy any governance weaknesses unearthed in the review. The most significant challenges are poor monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the NPoA’s implementation, limited capacity and funding constraints. (by Mouzayian Khalil-Babatunde, SAIIA)

pdf  View file (64.9 kB)

Promoting Peer Review as a Compliance Mechanism for Regional Integration (2014)

Multilateral organisations have long used peer review as a means to encourage compliance with commitments made in the pursuit of various socio-economic goals. Africa established the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) as an indigenous system to monitor the progress of member states in the realm of governance and to provide support for their national development priorities. Although the APRM has focused mainly on national-level implementation, with careful planning and visionary leadership, this could be usefully supplemented by reports on the efforts of African countries to fulfil their regional commitments. (by Catherine Grant Makokera and Steven Gruzd, SAIIA)

pdf  View file (67.8 kB)

Maintaining Momentum? Civil Society and the APRM in Zambia (2014)

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is intended to assist member states to identify and eradicate governance problems. The review of Zambia found positives as well as negatives in the country’s governance practices. Without the participation of civil society and on a very modest budget the APRM is, however, struggling to bring about positive change. This policy briefing looks at when and why enthusiasm for the process began to wane, taking into account that Zambia was once pioneering innovative practices in conducting the review. Civil society, government and development partners in Zambia all recognise that the APRM could play a central role if utilised effectively. Overcoming current challenges could be achieved by ensuring that the APRM once again becomes a countrywide process given due prominence in Zambia’s development planning. (by Yarik Turianskyi and Steven Gruzd, SAIIA)

pdf  View file (62.83 kB)

South Africa’s Implementation of the APRM: Making a Difference or Going Through the Motions? (2014)

South Africa's 2007 African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Country Review Report (CRR) identified numerous governance challenges. The country committed itself to eradicating these challenges through implementing a National Programme of Action (NPoA). However, seven years later, these challenges persist and the APRM has fallen off the public radar. In January 2014, South Africa launched its third APRM NPoA implementation report, to show what progress has been achieved since the last implementation report in 2011. This policy briefing critically analyses the latest report and comes to the conclusion that, while reporting on APRM matters has improved significantly since the first two efforts, it is still unclear what value the APRM brings to enhancing governance in South Africa. Specifically, failures to link the NPoA to domestic policies and incorporate it in the National Development Plan (NDP) indicate that the APRM is largely being used in a foreign policy context by the government. (by Yarik Turianskyi, SAIIA)

pdf  View file (280.46 kB)


The 2013 Elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe: Lessons for Africa and Beyond (2014)

The 2013 elections in Kenya and Zimbabwe took place in the context of both optimism and fear. Held under new constitutional dispensations that promised democratic progress, these were 'first-generation' elections that followed the gruesome electoral-related violence of 2007 and 2008 in Kenya and Zimbabwe respectively. Those earlier violent polls infused renewed scepticism about elections as a peaceful mechanism for choosing governments. In a diametric departure from the previous electoral process, the 2013 elections were conspicuously peaceful in both countries, albeit with a nonconsensual outcome. This policy brief highlights several lessons drawn from the experiences of these elections, with policy insights for the rest of Africa and beyond.(by Robert Gerenge, SAIIA)

pdf  View file (77.26 kB)

Consolidating the African Governance Architecture (2014)

Collaboration and co-ordination among African Union (AU) and Regional Economic Community (REC) organs and institutions with the mandate to strengthen governance, human rights and democracy have been ad hoc and unpredictable. The results have been inefficiency, ineffectiveness, and duplication of efforts and resources. Although significant progress has been made in articulating and establishing common frameworks, challenges remain. The level of compliance and implementation of African shared values as elaborated by AU and RECs norms and standards is of particular concern. Engagement and participation of African citizens in continental and national initiatives to strengthen and consolidate democracy are equally wanting. The establishment of the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and African Governance Platform is aimed at addressing this deficiency. Working closely with the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) will enhance governance improvements on the continent. (by George Mukundi Wachira, SAIIA)

pdf  View file (54.47 kB)

The OAU/AU at 50: Democratic Governance as a Precondition for a Sustainable African Future (2014)

The 50th anniversary of the African Union (AU), previously the Organisation for African Unity (OAU), in May 2013 provided a fitting moment for the continental body to reflect on its achievements, challenges and the way forward. When compared with the OAU, the AU has been more successful in achieving greater security on the continent, thereby allowing development to take place. However, many challenges still beset Africa and the continental institution is currently unable to present a united stance on governance challenges through the consistent application of agreed-upon continental policies on democratic governance. Under the leadership of the Chairperson of the AU Commission (AUC), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who assumed office in October 2012, hopeswere raised about the body becoming a more effective agent of change. However, there has not been sufficient political will at the level of the Assembly to implement governance reforms that would create the basis for sustainable continental integration. To support the changes that are articulated in a myriad of policy documents, African leaders should commit to regional integration by ceding more sovereignty to regional and continental institutions.(by Tjiurimo Alfredo Hengari and Yarik Turianskyi, SAIIA)

pdf  View file (259.12 kB)

State–Civil Society Relations: The Potential Contribution of the African Peer Review Mechanism (2014)

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is Africa’s home-grown governance promotion and monitoring tool. It has made one of its priorities the involvement of civil society organisations (CSOs) in the assessment of national initiatives; they have been included in the APRM’s governing structures and were invited to contribute submissions to the assessment research. This experience has the potential to transform non-state actors from adversaries into partners in governance.The process, however, often falters, and faces challenges. These include uncomfortable (or even hostile) relations, CSO capacity constraints, inconsistent application of the principle of inclusion, and the difficulty of maintaining momentum after completion of the review. This policy briefing reflects on the benefits of participation by non-state actors in the APRM. It suggests that countries should build on the gains made from citizens and governments working together. APRM reviews should serve as a blueprint for strengthening contributions from a wide range of CSOs in national policy debates and policy implementation. (by Tšoeu Petlane, SAIIA)

pdf  View file (260.7 kB)

Elections and the Risk of Instability in Africa: Supporting Legitimate Electoral Processes (2014)

Whereas elections have become commonplace in Africa over the past 20 years, several recent examples have shown that they can also crystallise tensions and cause violence (as happened in Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire and Zimbabwe), and can fail to legitimise power. In Africa, the stakes are high, with access to resources through electoral victory a major aspect of elections. This explains why elections are often the object of fraught competition. Elections thus constitute a critical moment for fragile political regimes. An understanding of the issue of power and the associated resource sharing is fundamental to limiting the risk of elections triggering instability. This issue requires political dialogue at all levels that should be extended to civil society actors. Elections should not be seen only as a technical exercise; it is also vital to understand their power dynamics and the stakes at play.(by Ivan Crouzel, SAIIA)
Page 2 of 3