The fact that no African leader qualified to receive this year’s $5m (£3m) annual prize for good governance from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, established to improve the quality of African governance through among other avenues- the Ibrahim Index of African Governance- should make Africans rethink the whole concept of governance.
Most African countries still run on inherited governance institutions put in place by the colonial governments. Consequently, African citizens are yet to get an opportunity to draw a proper social contract with their governments. Attempts to set up governance institutions that reflect the wishes of the citizens always hit a stalemate due to thorny issues on property rights that donors helped gloss over. No wonder, civil strife intersperses the entire continent.
Recognizing the role of governance in Africa’s socio-economic and political wellbeing, the Inter Region Economic Network will convene a conference to probe governance in Africa this November to establish among other factors:
• How political leadership in Africa has affected governance and prosperity on the continent
• What role foreign countries have played in the governance and prosperity dilemma facing Africa
• Whether Africa needs new institutional structures
• Whether Africans are doing enough to build their own governance and prosperity structures
• What standards of measurement Africa ought to adopt in its quest for better governance and prosperity
• The impact of the global economic slow down on Africa’s governance system
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