The Road Ahead for the African Governance Architecture: An Overview of Current Challenges and Possible Solutions


Following a range of previous commitments to improve the status of governance in Africa, in 2011 the African Union (AU) established the African Governance Architecture (AGA) as the flagship initiative of its ‘shared values’ agenda.

The AGA was designed to be a framework to co-ordinate the existing initiatives of different actors in the realm of governance, thereby prompting an integrated continental approach. Two years into its creation, this promising initiative now faces a number of challenges.

This paper focuses on two such challenges and puts forward tentative policy recommendations. Firstly, there are currently weak synergies between the AGA and the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). It is crucial to secure operational linkages in light of the growing political appetite for the governance-security nexus in Africa and with the aim to trigger a much-hoped-for integrated response to the continual governance and security crises in the continent. In this context, the AGA holds the potential to become a support mechanism for the APSA, highlighting governance gaps in Africa that have implications for the peace and security of a given country or region.

Secondly, there is a need to define the role of the African Peer Review Mechanism within the nascent AGA. In particular, the APRM can support the AGA by keeping track of the implementation and ratification of shared values instruments in African countries, an area in which the APRM has already shown tangible value. This paper puts forward tentative recommendations to overcome these two challenges and carry the shared values agenda forward, with a focus on the transition of the AGA from a set of scattered instruments and actors into a fully-fledged architecture with continental legitimacy.

23 Feb 2014