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.
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.
All 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.
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.