The African Monitor Concept
2005 was the 'Year for Africa', prioritised by the Commission for Africa Report, the G8 Gleneagles Summit, and with the UN Special Summit and WTO Doha Round having a focus on development. These built on the international undertakings of the MDGs, and the commitments of the Organisation of African Unity (subsequently African Union) to sustainable development through the NEPAD initiative and Peer Review Mechanism.
This African civil society voice can thus be seen as the too often missing 'fourth piece of the jigsaw' alongside existing stakeholders of donor governments and institutions; their African counterparts; and donor-based NGOs and civil society.
The Most Revd Njongonkulu Ndungane, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, realised it would be vital to maintain this momentum, to ensure promises on all sides would be implemented swiftly and effectively, in ways that make a real difference to real people. He saw that Africa's grassroots voices, currently marginalised and fragmented, could be harnessed to pursue these ends, and that faith communities, the most extensive civil society bodies on the continent, could provide the backbone of networks to bring these voices into the public arena. End-user accounts of experiences of programme delivery would help hold both donors and recipient governments to their word, and enable them to achieve their objectives on the ground. Further, he saw this would be a means of better engaging the priorities and perspectives of the targets of these policies in their formulation and delivery, which would also enhance their effectiveness and sustainability.
Extensive consultations within Africa and beyond, among faith communities and wider civil society, NGOs, governments and international agencies, think tanks, academia, and the private sector have shown overwhelming support in principle, with the recognition that there is no existing pan-African network that can provide such a catalyst across the sub-Saharan region, and taking a perspective across aid, trade, development and financial flows.
African Monitor therefore developed as a catalyst to bring together targeted grassroots monitoring of development performance in key sectors (among which health is a leading priority) against a broader background view of development from the African perspective, with an advocacy strategy geared towards ensuring the urgent and effective delivery of development commitments, led by high level independent African figures - the Togona.
African Monitor aims to be a 'constructive friend' to all stakeholders, and in particular to help those who have made promises, to be able to deliver them well.