Canada News

Strengthening African Democracy

10 July 2005 at 21:40 | 926 views

African leaders have recognized the critical role that governance plays in a country’s development. As a result, governance is a central feature of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). The Canada Fund for Africa has responded by working with African and Canadian partners to develop a comprehensive governance program targeting parliamentary, local, and public sector institutions that will result in stronger and more transparent democracies that are better equipped to meet African needs. These programs include:

Africa-Canada Parliamentary Strengthening Program
African Local Governance Program
African Public Sector Capacity Building
NEPAD Outreach Fund
African Peer Review Mechanism Support

Expanding Openness, Accountability and Democracy: the Africa-Canada Parliamentary Strengthening Program

African parliamentarians are joining together to combat corruption and directly address poverty reduction in their countries. One of the networks created, dealing with anti-corruption, currently has 14 members and is developing laws and guidelines to combat anti-corruption.

The Africa-Canada Parliamentary Strengthening Program ($9 million) supports African parliamentarians in their efforts towards openness, accountability, democratic representation, gender equality, and participation in the implementation of NEPAD. Working with Canada’s Parliamentary Centre, African parliamentarians have created networks on poverty reduction, gender equality, and anti-corruption to support and carry out specific initiatives. The African Parliamentarians’ Network Against Corruption now has 14 member countries including new chapters in Benin, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Zambia. This network is developing anti-corruption laws and guidelines for member countries; its success has already attracted funding from other donors. In addition, a policy dialogue among 13 African and seven Canadian parliamentarians in Kenya addressed the role of parliamentarians in improving and promoting good corporate governance and social responsibility in natural resources development.

This program is also tackling poverty reduction by training parliamentarians and parliamentary staff in community-based poverty monitoring techniques and integrating data on poverty into the national planning and budget process so that the needs of the poor are recognized and addressed.

Dr. Steven Langdon
Parliamentary Centre
255 Albert Street, Suite 802
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 6A9
Tel: (613) 237-0143 Ext.326

African municipal authorities recently toured Canadian cities to share experiences on delivering services like water, sanitation, and health. They also examined how to mobilize resources and increase public participation, especially by women and the poor, in local government.

The Local Governance Program ($6 million) is being implemented by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), which is working in partnership with the Municipal Development Partnerships in Harare, Zimbabwe, and Cotonou, Benin, and a number of African municipalities and regional organizations. The first phase of the program is centered on Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, and Tanzania.

The program focuses on strengthening local governance through the decentralization of public services. This will involve training in key areas like gender and legal reform, and ensuring government commitment and community participation, especially among the poor and women, in local government. A workshop in Maputo, Mozambique, led to the creation of a national association of local authorities to serve as a focal point for local governance initiatives, including the development of a national decentralization program. In addition, local authorities are learning about research and analysis in gender equality, HIV/AIDS, decentralization, peace and security, and environmental sustainability to address the key challenges for municipal governments in Africa.

Carol Kardish
Federation of Canadian Municipalities
24 Clarence Street, Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 5P3
Tel: (613) 241-5221

Serving the Public: African Public Sector Capacity Building

African public servants are improving their skills in key areas, including financial management and accountability, economic policy analysis, and general management to better serve Africa’s citizens.

The Canada Fund for Africa is helping African governments to enhance the skills and knowledge of their public servants through its African Public Sector Capacity Building Program ($28 million). Working with the Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), this program provides assistance for training Africans in areas such as economic policy analysis, financial management and accountability, national statistics, public sector management, and public participation in government. ACBF has programs in over thirty African countries and has recently been selected to provide assistance to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

Edwin Forlemu
African Capacity Development Foundation
Tel: +263 4 702931/2

NEPAD Outreach Fund

"The New Partnership for Africa’s Development will be successful only if it is owned by the African peoples united in their diversity."
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)

A media training program recently brought together over 30 journalists from 11 Southern African countries to learn about NEPAD principles and priorities, especially human rights, good governance, and anti-corruption. This initiative is one of many supported by the $2.5-million NEPAD Outreach Fund. The purpose of the Outreach Fund is to support African efforts to familiarize Africans with the reforms outlined in the NEPAD and to get them involved in the process.

Community outreach initiatives have also received support, including Radiobus, a converted school bus that travelled throughout Senegal to record and broadcast village meetings on NEPAD and local concerns. Local organizations have received funding to increase public participation, including groups in Mali who held a series of meetings across the country to make recommendations for NEPAD’s program. Young people have also received support to strengthen their ability to influence the NEPAD process through the Technical Committee of the NEPAD Youth Summit.

The Outreach Fund is now accepting proposals from African organizations. For information on eligibility for funding, criteria for initiatives, and submission and approval procedures, please view the NEPAD Outreach Fund page.

Mary Lynne Thomas
Canada Fund for Africa Secretariat
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Tel: (819) 956-9656
Fax: (819) 953-5845

Mutual Review, Assessment and Ownership: African Peer Review Mechanism Support

Twenty-four African countries have agreed to submit to peer review of their progress in governance and socio-economic development.

Canada is the first donor to provide funding ($700,000) to support the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), an integral part of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.

The APRM is a process of assessment whereby African countries collectively review each other to identify and apply best practices in political and economic governance. Country assessments will review four areas: democracy and political governance; economic governance and management; corporate governance; and socio-economic development. A panel of eminent African persons will oversee the reviews, which will be carried out by African institutions such as the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, and Rwanda have begun their review processes; a number of additional countries will follow suit shortly.

Tim Colby
Canada Fund for Africa
200 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0G4
Tel: (819) 953-0568
Fax: (819) 953-5845