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Eighth African Governance Forum (AGF-VIII)

October 16-18, 2012
Gaborone, Botswana

Outcome Statement

1. The African Governance Forum (AGF) is a UNDP flagship governance program, conceived as a joint initiative with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) within the framework of the United Nations System-wide Special Initiative on Africa (UNSIA). This strategic partnership between UNDP and ECA on the AGF also associates the African Union Commission (AUC).

The AGF is a space for high-level, multi-actor policy dialogue and operational thinking. It gathers at constant maturity, African leaders, representatives of civil society, public and private sectors, experts and renowned academics, think tanks and development partners to discuss a thematic subject considered important on the African Governance Agenda.

It is behind this backdrop that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union Commission (AUC) will organize the eighth African Governance Forum (AGF-VIII) in Johannesburg (South Africa) in October 2012. Both UN agencies and the AUC are working closely with other key players in governance in Africa in preparation for this event : the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the governments of other African countries ; the NEPAD planning and coordination Agency (NPCA), the Pan African Parliament (PAP) and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Secretariat, the African Development Bank (AfDB) ; African women’s organizations ; African civil society organizations, various research institutes, universities and think tanks working on governance in Africa ; development partners and the UN agencies and intergovernmental organizations that are part of the Governance Cluster of the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM).

2. Seven sessions of the AGF have already been held since the launch of the initiative :

- The first in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) in July 1997, on the theme ’the state of governance in Africa’ – a theme which was taken up by the Fourth African Development Forum ;

- The second in Accra (Ghana) in July 1998, on the theme ’dialogue on accountability and transparency as key components of democratic governance’ ;

- The third in Bamako (Mali) in June 1999 which allowed participants to reflect on ’the relationship between good governance and conflict management’ ;

- The fourth in Kampala (Uganda) in September 2000. It focused on ’parliamentary processes and governance reforms’ ;

- The fifth in Maputo (Mozambique) in May 2002, on the theme ’strengthening local governance for poverty reduction’ ;

- The sixth in Kigali (Rwanda) in May 2006, centered on the ’African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)’ ;

- The seventh in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) in October 2007, on ’building capable states in Africa’.

3. We must emphasize the continuity and consistency of themes for the different African Governance Forums, which sought to achieve each time three main strategic objectives :

a. To bring together actors and legitimate processes of democratic and developmental governance in Africa and strengthen their partnerships on the basis of a consensus around common values regarding regulation of public space, political participation, respect for human Rights and management of the public good ;

b. To increase awareness and facilitate the exchange of information, experience and best practices among African governments, public and private sectors, civil society organizations, development partners and other stakeholders in order to strengthen capacities, mechanisms and institutions for the promotion of democratic and developmental governance ;

c. To encourage the adoption and implementation by Africans and for Africans of concrete policies, institutional and programmatic measures that address the challenges of governance in African countries.

4. The theme for the eighth African Governance Forum is framed within these objectives. It is « Democracy, Elections and Management of Diversity in Africa ». This theme was chosen by the Steering Committee of AGF-VIII at its meeting on October 4 and 5 2010 in Johannesburg (South Africa) on the basis of two observations.

- On one hand, the fact that Africa has experienced, since the beginning of the 2000s, much progress and advances in the construction and institutionalization of representative and participatory democracy ; progress as evidenced by the routinization of elections as a means of access to political power and the seven political changes that have sanctioned the presidential elections held since 2011 (Niger, Zambia, Guinea-Conakry, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Senegal).

- On the other hand, the finding that this progress and these advances remain alongside some major challenges, the principal being the management of diversity in Africa, as shown by the recent tensions and social dynamics observed in different countries, some of which have led to political crises or conflicts.

The choice of this theme takes a particular audience in the context of the recent entry into effect of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance and the willingness expressed in the declaration adopted at the 16th African Union Summit and that of the last Forum of Heads of State and Government to strengthen the participation of African States in the APRM process in the perspective of building a democratic, accountable and developmental governance on the continent.

The AGF-VIII will focus on four main sub-themes : (a) democracy, (b) political competition and electoral governance, (c) the management of diversity and (d) the strengthening of public participation. Three pre-forums were organized to unravel these sub-themes and to identify ways of thinking that can sustain the exchanges during the AGF :

- A pre-forum on ’gender equality, elections and the management of diversity in Africa’ (held in Kigali, Rwanda from November 1 to 3 2011) ;

- A pre-forum on ’strengthening youth participation, elections and the management of diversity in Africa’ (held in Accra, Ghana from November 28 to 30 2011) ;

- A pre-forum on ’regional experiences in democracy, elections and the management of diversity in Africa involving, in particular, the Regional Economic Communities’ (planned for Arusha, Tanzania on May 30 and 31 2012).

4. A distinguishing feature of the African Governance Forum 2012 is that it is closely linked with the African Governance Report III whose third edition, scheduled for publication in 2012, carries the theme "Elections and the management of diversity in Africa’. Resulting also from a joint initiative of the UNDP and the ECA, the African Governance Report implements a unique methodology that meets three instruments : expert opinion, national household surveys or focus group discussions ; and desk-based research. The African Governance Report III will cover nearly 45 African countries and will be structured around the country reports, country profiles and a comprehensive continental report.

The congruence of themes of the AGF-VIII and the African Governance Report III is a deliberate decision of the Steering Committee of the AGF-VIII. Its objective is to develop synergies between the two initiatives upstream - through strengthening the exploitation of results of previous reports, data collection and preparation of operational thinking - and downstream - by capitalizing on lessons learned – in order to consolidate democratic and developmental governance that incorporates diversity in Africa.

As a strategic partner of UNDP and UNECA, the Africa Governance Institute (AGI) will keep you regularly informed of preparations for the AGF-VIII.

Voir en ligne : Africa Governance Forum

Publié le 16 octobre 2012