Framework Agenda for Building and Utilizing Critical Capacities in Africa

Part II The Priority Areas

86. The ten priority areas discussed in this section derive from the various regionally and internationally agreed programmes, strategies and plans, notably the Lagos Plan of Action, the United Nations Programme of Action for Africa's Economic Recovery and Development, the United Nations Industrial Development Decade for Africa Programme, the United Nations Transport and Communications Decade Programme for Africa, the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa, and recently, the Cairo Agenda, and the United Nations System-wide Special Initiative on Africa. The ten areas identified by the ECA Conference of Ministers Responsible for Economic and Social Development and Planning are considered critical to Africa's socio-economic development prospects by virtue of their central importance to efforts at sustainable development and socio-economic transformation, and their present severe state of underdevelopment in African countries. 87. Among the priority areas for concerted effort for capacity building in contemporary Africa, institutional capacities in support of good governance, political stability, peace and securitymust rank among the most critical. These are the primary factors which create a conducive environment that will attract higher rates of domestic as well as foreign savings and investment in Africa's private sector. It is also these factors, coupled with sound economic policies, which will ensure that costly capital investments in physical and social infrastructures and human resources are utilized to the fullest extent and that the highest possible rate of socio-economic return is realized. To succeed, the transition to democracy which is under way in a number of countries, with its challenges and attendant risks to national integrity, peace and stability, calls for collective institutional capacities in support of good governance, conflict prevention, peace-making, peace-keeping and confidence-building at all levels.

88. Sustainable development must be perceived as a human-centred process because people are its agents as well as its beneficiaries. It is for this reason that African Governments, households, non-governmental organizations, civic organizations, enterprises as well as external partners should commit resources towards building, strengthening and effectively utilizing human capacities as a matter of the highest priority. In all cases, human capacities should be created and nurtured by human beings who must in turn be invested with the required capacity, skills and capabilities to do so. 89. The strengthening of institutional capacities for socio-economic policy analysis and management is another area where progress must be made urgently. Such strengthening must take into account the catalytic role of the State in ensuring the fullest utilization of human resources and infrastructural facilities. The role and responsibilities of the African State need, in particular, to be redefined in terms of the imperatives for a new collaborative relationship with the private sector and in terms of the need for the decentralization of decision making and executive responsibilities including responsibility over revitalized socio-economic strategic planning. The specific requirements of an efficient legislative, legal and judicial infrastructure would need to be addressed as well as the strengthening of the capacities of non-governmental and other civic organizations. 90. A particularly important aspect of human capacity building in Africa to which significant attention must be given is developing entrepreneurial capacities for public and private sector enterprise. Within the new global economic system, private enterprises are the engines of growth and competitiveness. There is a role for efficient private sector as well as public enterprises. However, the scarcity of public resources in comparison to the pressing demands, calls for a clear-cut division of labour as well as partnership between public enterprise and the private sector, with public enterprise playing a strategic role aimed at expanding the economy's productive capacity. 91. National, subregional and continental efforts must be directed towards developing Africa's physical infrastructural capacities to ensure the efficient operation and sustainable development of the region's economies and to integrate them effectively into the world economy and reap the fruits of international trade. In this regard, the requirements of capacity building in the various components of infrastructure including transport, communications, energy and water, must be addressed.

92. The pervasive role of the food and agricultural sector will need to be considered in the context of the recognized fact that sustained recovery and growth will not be possible without implementing far-reaching policy reforms and investing substantial resources with a view to boosting African agriculture. A framework for building capacity in the sector must underline the need for environmentally sustainable food production, food self-sufficiency and security. 93. Africa is richly endowed with natural resources and yet it has been plagued with falling per capita income since 1980. A rich continent with the poorest people - this is the paradox that must be redressed. A two-pronged strategy can ensure growth in income: steady growth of the value added to natural resources for domestic consumption or for export, as finished goods or intermediate inputs; and progress towards full diversification of production, exports and markets. It is for this reason that, at the national, subregional and continental levels, Africa needs to strengthen capacities to exploit natural resources and to diversify African economies into processing and manufacturing. 94. It is a sad reality that the application of science and technology in the African region is the lowest in the world. This has obvious implications for the growth, development and fuller integration into the global system of African economies. Furthermore, since the basic value of science and technology is its important contribution to improving the quality of life of the people, its centrality to efforts at eradicating poverty and uplifting the African from ignorance and disease, becomes readily apparent. Science and technology can therefore not be left out of the list of critical areas in which Africa must build capacity. 95. The African environment is characterized by features of degradation with debilitating effects on the region. While the challenge in a pollution-infested modern world is not only to conserve the environment, but also to improve upon its negative aspects, the problems in Africa require capacities to address issues of desertification, drylands, wetlands and marshlands, as well as issues of afforestation and the need to preserve the region's biodiversity. 96. It will not be possible to strengthen and employ Africa's human, institutional and infrastructural capacities on a sustainable basis without a sustained and systematic initiative at the national, subregional and continental levels to strengthen capacities to boost the mobilization of domestic and external capital resources and their efficient allocation through structures for public revenue management and financial intermediation. There are three necessary conditions for mobilizing the considerable financial resources that will be needed. The first one is a political and economic environment, conducive to increased rates of private domestic savings and investment as well as attractive to foreign capital inflows. The second condition is the establishment of efficient, sound and adequately regulated capital markets linking together banks, insurance companies, and securities markets at national, subregional and continental levels. The third condition, in view of the increased demands on the State which capacity building will entail, is the strengthening of African countries' fiscal base through improved collection of public revenue, its allocation to priorities and spending controls to eliminate corruption and waste.

97. These are the considerations underlying the choice and treatment of these ten areas of priority. II.1 GOOD GOVERNANCE, HUMAN RIGHTS, PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA

A. The Problem 98. Peace, democracy and good governance are complementary and supportive of the transition to sustainable, broad based and equitable development. Experience of the past thirty years has shown that societies that value peace, pluralism, respect the rule of law and have open, accountable and transparent governments provide better opportunities for sustained economic development than do closed systems that are strife-ridden and stifle individual initiatives. In fact, the principles and guidelines for sustained development and effective capacity building must recognize the three-way nexus between peace and security; democracy and the rule of law; and good governance and its colloraries of transparency, accountability and integrity.

99. Throughout its post colonial history, Africa has been wracked by numerous localized conflicts and civil wars. In the past three decades, there have been nearly 30 cases of civil strife in sub-Saharan Africa. Persistent armed conflict have constrained economic development and have contributed to making the region the least developed area of the world. Militarization and war have eaten up valuable and scarce resources and caused untold human suffering. 100. Since the early sixties, an estimated ten million people, the vast majority civilians, have lost their lives as a result of armed conflict. Nearly as many people are believed to have been handicapped for life. At present, over half of the world of refugees are found in Africa. In addition, nearly twenty million people, of which more than half are widows and orphans, are internally displaced in Africa. 101. Aside from political turmoil, three decades of conflict have left much of the structures of civil society in ruins and most institutions of governance discredited. Most of the populace have lost confidence on the structures of governance because bureaucracies and other public agencies are viewed as inept, corrupt, wasteful and wanting in accountability.

102. Undemocratic regimes constrain citizens' freedom to organize and create community life and participate in political processes. They restrict the evolution of viable civil society by placing difficulties on civil associations in their attempt to operate or influence government. This effectively keeps the general population ignorant of the system of governance, eliminates public assessment of selection between competing policy options and restricts the ability to choose political leaders or work effectively on behalf of political causes. Living under undemocratic systems has left many of Africa's peoples unfamiliar with their rights and obligations as citizens.

B. The Issues 103. While there are basic and universal norms of democracy and good governance, their institutions and systems cannot be imported wholesale from outside. It will ultimately be self-defeating and unacceptable to try to recreate exact copies of institutions of alien democratic systems. Rather, the impetus for creating democratic societies must come from local initiative, be firmly rooted in the customs and traditions of the society, tailored to the unique situations of the particular country and flexible enough to respond to emerging opportunities. The leaders and people of Africa have set their vision on breaking the chains of authoritarianism, repression and mis-governance. A complex and delicate experiment is underway in the region which holds out the possibility that despite formidable challenges, a new political order may eventually be realized. The magnitude and scale of the political initiatives are unprecedented and have profound implications for the future of the region. 104. For the capacity building initiative to have any chance of success, African countries must (a) create the appropriate political framework to build a peaceful, participatory and open society; (b) foster democratic values and practices such as constitutions and the rule of law; (c) develop effective and functioning democratic institutions; (d) guarantee the honesty of government and bureaucracy; (e) promote free and fair democratic competition and ensure civilian control of the military; and (f) strive to build a developmental state. C. Creating Strong Political Institutions 105. First and foremost, the long term endurance and viability of any democratic exercise is determined by the effectiveness, fairness and public accountability of its political institutions. Democracies risk collapse and reversal if institutions are inefficient, weak, unstable and open to manipulation by powerful forces in societies. Hence, African countries must strive to:

Strengthen electoral processes by creating independent electoral bodies, organizing and conducting public debates on competing political views, abiding by the verdict of the electorate and establishing effective mechanisms for election monitoring.

Help guarantee accountability, integrity and transparency in Government by creating and supporting watchdog institutions, mounting campaigns to expose excesses, instituting effective disciplinary actions to prevent corruption, embezzlement and waste. The free flow of information is crucial for accountability and informed public discussions lie at the heart of a healthy political process. Governments must tolerate a free and independent media and encourage the scrutiny of their agencies and bodies by the free press. Also, they should facilitate and support the establishment of autonomous and neutral research and analysis centres that could help monitor and assess public accountability and transparency and the progress of the democratic experience. Ensure the establishment of an objective, independent, efficient and reliable judicial system. To achieve a sound judicial system, African governments must institute a process for the selection of judges based on professional criteria, publish and disseminate the country's body of laws, create honest and well-motivated law enforcement agencies that effectively and expeditiously carry out public decisions, and help promote the emergence of a strong and independent legal profession capable of defining and imposing professional and ethical standards.

Make vigorous attempts to reduce the size of the defence budget and influence of the military and ensure firm civilian control over the military. African countries have relatively large and over-politicized military establishments with unsavoury records of frequent interventions and undue influence over the exercise of political power. Ultimately democracy depends on the capacity of civilians to direct the military and on their effective resistance to the alternative. Civilian leaders must strive to develop the institutional capacity to monitor and effectively regulate military systems and the role of the military in civilian affairs.

Actively engage in minimizing the incidence, containing the spread and mitigating the impact of civil strife and communal violence, and institute mechanisms for promoting peace, political stability and security. Without peace, security and a stable environment, no amount of effort will secure broad-based sustainable development. Aside from developing and maintaining democratic and lawful government, African leaders must emphasize such preventive measures as equitable access to political power by all citizens, fair and equitable treatment of all regions in all matters of public concern, equal access to economic opportunities, appropriate decentralization of the function and authority of the state and genuine devolution of power to lower levels of government. Support the emergence of an independent and vigorous legislature capable of functioning without undue influence, critically oversee the activities of the various branches of government, enforce sanctions against all the public institutions and protect the usurpation of the constitution and the violation of human rights. To overcome the traditional deficiencies of African legislative bodies more resources such as research facilities, skilled staff and sufficient budget should be placed at their disposal. It is also important to ensure that legislatures derive their political legitimacy from electoral mandates, secure their status in an open, free, fair and competitive process and are beholden only to their constituency. Institute mechanisms for full and genuine participation in the political, economic and social processes of their countries and for having a meaningful say in the formulation of policies and programmes that affect their lives. In order to facilitate the participation of people, African governments need to create political space where people's organizations flourish, allow freedom of opinion and dissent, give recognition to the rights of people and their organizations to participate at all levels of decision making, encourage the expression of views on vital issues of concern in an organized manner and the publicly articulate needs and aspirations. D. Strengthening Civil Society 106. The key to establishing an enduring democracy and good governance is the emergence of a strong, viable, and assertive civil society. A well-developed civil society widens democratic space and facilitates opportunities for citizens' participation in political and social life at large. The contemporary reality of Africa is that the state is too powerful in the face of an embryonic and weak civil society. In this regard, people's organizations and non-governmental agencies have a special responsibility for strengthening the countervailing power and influence of the State vis-à-vis the civil society by supporting and building alliances with civic institutions and fostering practices that encourage the people to take responsibility for their own destinies. The forging of alliances among organizations and associations of civil society has been a key factor in promoting democracy and popular participation. Only a fundamental transformation of the relationship between the state and civil society will make democracies endure in Africa. 107. The will of the general public is one of the most powerful forces in securing peace, democracy and good governance. Educational activities aimed at sensitizing and mobilizing the general population about democracy and good governance need to be carried out. The purpose of these activities will be to build constituencies for democracy and to utilize local social mechanisms to deal with issues of governance. In addition, mass media -- television spots, radio programmes and newspaper articles -- need to be employed to promote the concept of democracy and facilitate consensus building on the need for democratic governance principles. 108. It is common knowledge that the system of governance is a consequence of the socializing process of the society. Civic education in the formal schools systems is necessary to build positive social values and to promote the concept of peaceful co-existence and democratic governance at the mass and community level. Educators should be encouraged to integrate these concepts into school curricula and teach about the structure of governance and political histories of their communities. Teachers and community leaders should be urged to develop booklets, other printed materials and audio-visual aids that will inform students about the importance of systems of governance and teach skills in such areas as constitutionalism, rule of law, human rights and peaceful means of conflict resolutions. A related activity will be to adapt and translate into major local languages a series of books on democracy and governance issues and widely disseminate these materials to the general public. People have to be informed about life in democratic society and how their daily life is enhanced by democratic practices. 109. Politics in Africa has been typified by violent coups and civil disturbances which constrain citizens' freedom to organize and create associative life and participate in the political process. They have also restricted the evolution of viable civil society by placing difficulties in the way of civil associations in their attempt to operate or influence government. This has effectively eliminated public assessment of selection between competing policy options and restricted the ability to chose political leaders or work effectively on behalf of political causes. However, the new democratic order can only succeed if a wide range of civic associations exists and there is a well-informed populace which understands its rights and obligations of citizenship. 110. African countries must strive to create a developmental state by establishing and maintaining a strong partnership between government and private sector. The state must be the primary investor of private initiative and should create an environment which is enabling and conducive to entrepreneurship. It must concentrate on putting in place a stable macro-economic framework, building financial and technical infrastructure and improving the incentive for the private sector to save and invest. It should also create the appropriate policy framework through the provision of supportive policies and development-oriented licensing and regulating procedures. The overall institutional and management capacities of the state need to be reoriented in a comprehensive and coherent manner in support of the private sector and indigenous entrepreneurs in the country. Until private resources could be mobilized the state should take the initial burden of research and development costs, develop a competent and skilled work force and undertake the appropriate policy interventions so stimulate economic growth. 111. Governments should promote the evolution of civic associations and the spread of civic education in these countries. A stable democratic culture requires independent organizations and institutions which can hold the political leadership accountable and effectively play the critical role of advocacy on behalf of civil society. Along with political parties, these civic organizations have to serve as channels for the expression of popular viewpoints and preferences on the political and economic process of their respective countries. Efforts should be mounted to strengthen organizations of civil societies in such areas as:

enhancing practical political techniques of coalition building, communication and outreach; defining mechanisms for developing more issue-based advocacy pertaining to civil society, including, but not limited to, women's rights, human rights, development issues and environmental protection; enhancing dialogue, interface and interaction between the ruling authorities and elements of civil society and examining the respective roles of government and civil society. E. Promoting Peace and Preventing Conflicts 112. Intra- and inter-state conflicts have raged in Africa for decades now. They have been caused by ethnic, religious, racial, clan and even class disparities. States such as Somalia and Liberia have all but disintegrated and the onslaught on one ethnic group reached genocidal proportions in the case of Rwanda. These conflicts have also had extremely destabilizing effects on the peace and development of neighbouring countries in their subregions which have had to cope with the problems of refugees and displaced persons in addition to the added strains on their social services. Also, in addition to the direct destruction caused by war, years of conflict represent years lost to development. 113. Civil conflicts lead to population displacements both within borders as internally-displaced persons and across borders as refugees. There are some eight million refugees and 18 million internally-displaced people in Africa. These represent potential losses in human resources through lost opportunities in education and training, as well as contributions to the production of goods and services forfeited. It is therefore essential to ensure the provision of education and training to refugees as a guarantee of their positive contribution in the development process in their host countries and to prepare capacities for eventual reconstruction and recovery of their countries of origin at the end of the period of conflict.

114. Internally, African countries should promote the politics of consent and consensus, a respect of the rights of the minority, protection of the weak in society, and an accommodation of that which is different. Governments would do well to inculcate in their young citizens, these basic attributes of tolerance. Peace education should feature more consciously in school curricula. Regional initiatives such as the OAU Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution should be supported and strengthened so that it functions effectively in preventing the eruption of conflicts on the continent. BUILDING CRITICAL CAPACITIES FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE IN AFRICA

1. Free and Fair ElectionsEstablishment of independent electoral commissions: politically non-partisan, subject to legislative approval. Periodic elections at national and local levels.- Logistic and expert advice on conduct of elections to national electoral bodies; election monitoring; training and support for local election monitors. Regional seminars for electoral officials.Logistic, expert and financial support to national electoral bodies; training of election officials; election monitoring.
2. Electoral System and Party Politics- Constitutional provisions for party system: criteria for registration of political parties by independent agencies;

- Focus on internal democracy within the parties and funding sources;

- Adoption of electoral system.

- Training of party officials;

- Regional seminars etc. for party officials from different countries

- Monitoring of party activities.

- Training of party officials

- Arranging visits to study party organization in other countries.

3. The Legislature- Measures to strengthen oversight functions of the legislature

- Creation of a legislative bureaucracy to oversee appointments and promotions of legislative staff, independent of the civil service

- Strengthening research facilities

- Good office facilities and remuneration.

- Monitoring performance of legislatures;

- Regional meetings of legislators to share experience;

- Support for research facilities;

- Training of legislative staff.

- Monitoring performance of legislators

- Visits to foreign legislatures

- Support for research facilities.


4. The Judiciary- Establish independent judiciary

- Judicial Service Commission to appoint and remove judges and determine remuneration.

- Improve working facilities

- Monitor independence of Judiciary

- Arrange regional meetings for judicial officers and judges.

- Monitor independence of judiciary.

- Arrange seminars and visits abroad.

5. Decentralization- More autonomy for local councils and local council elections

- Mobilization of resources for local communities.

- Self-help activities; encourage NGOs

- Feedback process bottom-up from local to central government.

- Support for local councils.

- Support for grass-roots organizations and NGOs.

- Technical assistance for basic needs projects: water, health, roads, schools and houses.

- Support for local councils.

- Support for grass-roots organizations and NGOs.

- Technical assistance for basic needs projects: water, health, roads, schools and houses.

6. Public Sector Performance- Implementation of civil service reforms.

- Structural adjustment

- human resource training

- Support for civil service reform

- Support of human resource training

- Seminars on comparative experiences in civil service reform.

- Support for civil service reform

- Support of human resource training

- Seminars on comparative experiences in civil service reform.

7. Ethics and Accountability- Code of conduct for public servants, including declaration of assets and liabilities

- Creation of Ombudsman/Public complaints bodies.

- Strengthening Public Accounts Committees

- Strengthened role for independent public service commission seminars on ethics and accountability

- Monitoring and reporting on progress in ethics and accountability.

- Audit of technical assistance by regional organizations.

- Monitoring and reporting on progress in ethics and accountability.

- Audit of technical assistance by regional organizations.


8. The educational system- Strengthen the formal school system

- Integrate concepts of democratic governance and peaceful co-existence into school curricula

- Support for education programmes dealing with the issue of democracy

- Promote the spread of civic education

- Assist in reducing illiteracy

- Help training teachers

- Financial support to training of teachers

- Financial support to printed school material

- Support for education authority reform

- Technical assistance for and financial support to school building

9. Free and independent media- Allow freedom of opinion and speech

- Support a free and competitive press

- Authorize private newspapers and television stations

- Employ mass media to promote the concern of democracy

- Support for documentation centres

- Train media professionals

- Training of journalists

- Financial support to neutral research centres

10. Political participation- Guarantee the right of political participation

- Support foundation of civic institutions and independent organizations

- Support coordination among different groups of civil society

- Enhance practical political techniques of coalition building and communication

- Guarantee the right political participation at all levels of decision-making

- Support foundation of local self-help groups

- Enhance dialogue, interface and interaction between the ruling authorities and elements of civil society

- Support foundation of civil institutions

- Enhance practical political techniques of coalition building and communication