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Africa | World
Economy - Development | Society

African civil society essential for good governance

afrol News, 10 December - Political inclusiveness is a core component of good governance, and the addition of people represented by civil society and private sector organisations is key to ensuring this, the head of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) governance division said.

“The challenge is how to crowd in non-state actors in the governance agenda, through which they can mobilise the people for effective governance,” said Adballa Hamdok, director of the Governance and Public Administration Division.

Mr Hamdok made his remarks during the First meeting of the Committee on Governance and Popular Participation (CGPP). The committee is a restructuring of a previous ECA committee, which was a statutory body which oversees the work of the division.

Speaking at the start of the meeting, Ambassador Emile Ognimba, Director of Political Affairs Department for the African Union Commission (AUC), said governments cannot be considering functioning properly unless there is strong popular participation.

“Therefore the AU urges strengthening of capacity building for civil society organisations and the private sector to allow them to effectively and fully participate to the development of Africa,” he said.

An effective participation approach to government can allow ordinary people to interact with government at all levels, also said Dr Neway Gebreab, Chief Economic Advisor, Prime Minister’s Office of Ethiopia. It helps to make development planning real to ordinary people in poor countries, he said.

“People’s participation in policy-making leads to greater accountability, openness and transparency and builds up social reciprocities characterized by equity, inter-group tolerance…and active citizenship,” he said.

The CGPP has three objectives, which are to serve as s forum for promoting and strengthening good governance and participatory development in Africa; to ensure coherence of ECA’s work programme in areas of governance and public administration, private sector development, civil society engagement, and to review specific issues related to governance and participatory development in Africa and provide a platform for advocacy, monitoring and follow-up on global and regionally agreed programmes.

The objectives of the two-day meeting, which began Wednesday, is to review and evaluate ECA’s activities in the area of governance and public administration from the 2008-2009 biennium and propose new activities for the 2010-2011 biennium; suggest how the division could improve its governance and public administration activities and working relations with non-state actors and development partners;

The committee also considered two parliamentary documents: Governance and the fight against corruption and private sector development in Africa.

The meeting which ends today, will adopt recommendations governing the committee along with an agreement on the ECA work plan.

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