Sub-Saharan Africa

Good governance

A National Election Commission employee tears off a ballot paper for a voter at a polling station in Freetown, Sierra Leone, 11 August 2007.

Good governance, under­stood to mean the way in which decisions are made and pol­i­cies are drawn up and put into practice in a state, is a central pre­con­di­tion for peace and security, for sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, for improv­ing people's living con­di­tions and realising human rights.

The promotion of good governance and democratic, constitutional structures is there­fore one of the central goals of German de­vel­op­ment co­op­e­ra­tion in sub-Saharan Africa. Germany's approach is to strengthen in­sti­tu­tional capacities at every level, from local to continental. If states are to handle pol­i­tic­al power and public resources responsibly, ef­fec­tive, efficient, rules-based and trans­par­ent in­sti­tu­tions must be set up and/or strengthened.

Germany's action towards improving governance in its partner coun­tries in sub-Saharan Africa and in regional and pan-continental orga­ni­sa­tions is worth more than 300 million euros annually. Germany is one of the three largest bilateral donors in this sec­tor and makes a substantial con­tri­bu­tion to the over­all con­tri­bu­tions of the in­ter­na­tional com­munity in this field.

The overarching objective of co­op­er­a­tion is to create good policy frame­works in which to help safeguard people's rights and improve their opportunities. Ac­tiv­i­ties focus on sup­port­ing de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion pro­cesses, promoting good gov­er­nance in public finance and in the com­mo­di­ties sec­tor, and sup­port­ing gov­er­nance reforms, and peace and security at pan-African and regional level.

Financial and technical co­op­er­a­tion

Good governance is promoted using the complementary instruments of technical and financial co­op­er­a­tion. Technical co­op­er­a­tion is concerned pri­marily with capacity de­vel­op­ment, that is, strength­ening capacities, systems and struc­tures in the partner country. It involves, for example, improving orga­ni­sa­tion­al and plan­ning capacities, human resources de­vel­op­ment and know­ledge manage­ment. Under financial co­op­er­a­tion, eco­nom­ic and social infra­struc­ture is financed at sub­national level, and sup­port is pro­vided for build­ing national re­mit­tance systems. In this way, the per­for­mance of local self-government struc­tures and the quality of their services are improved.

At regional level, the German government provides, for example, support to the African Court of Human Rights including the African Commission on Human Rights, and the Pan-African Parliament.

Freetown, Sierra Leone: An old woman gets assisted by an election official to cast her vote. Copyright: Tugela Ridley/IRINAll these actions serve to com­bat the mani­fold di­men­sions of pov­er­ty ef­fec­tive­ly and give the people of Africa the chance to develop. The scene has been set: in recent years the num­ber of au­thor­i­tar­i­an regimes has declined and dem­o­crat­ic elec­tions have been held in more than 40 African coun­tries. Ex­perts reckon that with bet­ter in­sti­tu­tion­al ca­pac­i­ties the states of Africa could double their self-generated revenues.

Some African states have already shown what can be done. More reliable legal frame­works, improved capacities, transparency and accountability in state administration attract invest­ment and generate higher per capita income.

The founding of the African Union, the establish­ment of a new peace and security archi­tec­ture, the New Partner­ship for Africa's De­vel­op­ment (NEPAD) and the now well established peer review system under the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) have lent strong impetus to improve­ments in governance.

Peace and security

With a view to independently fostering a peace­ful and secure future for Africa, the member states of the African Union (AU) have given their orga­ni­sa­tion an ex­tend­ed man­date to build up an African Peace and Security Archi­tec­ture (APSA). In doing so the AU has enlisted the sup­port of regional eco­nom­ic com­mu­nities and regional mechanisms in the five sub-regions. Its main policy-making body is the Peace and Security Council.

With the support of conflict early warning systems, the AU and regional eco­nom­ic com­mu­ni­ties are endea­vour­ing to spot potential con­flicts and nip them in the bud through quiet diplomacy before they erupt. Similarly, many are seeking to end armed conflicts through con­flict mediation and the use of an African Standby Force and assist in the re­con­struc­tion of post-conflict regions. The aim is, over the long term, to reduce the number and severity of armed con­flicts in Africa. The de­ploy­ment of AU troops in Darfur and Somalia, and AU media­tion in Kenya and Mali are just a few examples of how the AU and some regional orga­ni­sa­tions are already assuming responsibility and actively intervening in crisis regions.

German support for APSA under de­vel­op­ment policy is com­ple­men­tary to the work of other German ministries (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of De­fence, Ministry of the Interior). The BMZ supports the de­vel­op­ment of con­flict early warning systems and the strengthening of media­tion mechanisms. It is helping to strength­en the civilian component of the African Standby Force with a personnel data­base and training activities. In post-conflict countries, Germany is promoting the reconstruction of social and economic infrastructure.

Germany supports this de­vel­op­ment through its co­op­er­a­tion with African partners and its work within the frame­work of the European Union (Africa-EU partnership), the G8 and the in­ter­na­tional donor community.

BMZ glossary

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