Accountability creates channels of communication and trust between a government and its citizens, as well as systems for holding officials responsible for their actions and policies. In short, it is how a country is run and how the government and the governed interact with each other.
Good governance, which is efficient and effective, assists countries to adhere to the rule of law, increase transparency, enhance economic performance and minimise conflict. Yet unless good governance is demanded by citizens, it will usually not be supplied by authorities. This is where accountability plays a crucial role.
The governance record of African countries has been mixed over the past 50 years. Some have made progress, while others stagnated or even regressed. At the same time, continental governance reforms have been rather slow, complex, and difficult to implement. For Africa to develop, it seems clear that it needs good governance: continentally and domestically. Without it, corruption thrives, maladministration is pervasive and citizens are denied essential services.
SAIIA’s book African Accountability: What Works and What Doesn’t? edited by Steven Gruzd and Yarik Turianskyi examines where the continent is headed and what lessons about accountability have been learned on its journey. This book builds on the work of SAIIA’s Governance and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Programme, to explore and unpack current governance trends at two levels. Chapters by both governance experts and practitioners discuss continental efforts to set Africa on a steady and sustainable path, such as the African Union’s (AU) 50 year development plan, Agenda 2063, and the emerging African Governance Architecture (AGA). They also examine the interplay between the AU’s African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), and explore the dynamics of elections.
At the domestic level, researchers and civil society activists look at a mixture of traditional and innovative accountability processes. To what extent do African parliaments hold executives to account, and fulfil their oversight mandates? How effective are African ombudsmen in promoting and protecting the rights of citizens? And what new methods of holding those in power to account are emerging?
SAIIA first launched this book in November 2015, at event featuring the South African Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, as the keynote speaker and former South African Independent Electoral Commission Chairperson, Dr Brigalia Bam, as the respondent. This was followed by launches in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2016 and Nairobi, Kenya in May 2016.
The Institute is proud to announce the launch of the electronic version of the book, which is now available to purchase from Amazon for USD$ 13.67.