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Africa after the Africa Commission: What priorities for the German G8?

Overseas Development Institute (ODI)


SARPN acknowledges ODI as the source of this document: www.odi.org.uk
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Key messages to the G8:

Aid

  • Provide more credible, longer term commitments.
  • Deliver aid through modalities that strengthen domestic institutions and accountability.
  • Recognise the governance challenges African countries face and support domestic accountability actors.
  • Manage expectations in donor countries about what aid realistically achieve.
China

  • The rise of “new players” in the global economy changes the African landscape- the G8 must continually review its commitments.
  • These new players, not just China, highlight the importance of trade and investment as well as aid.
  • All investors have blind spots. The G8 should support Africa’s capacity to asses the performance of all donors and investors, G8 and non-G8.
  • China merely highlights the need for improved global regulation on corruption, trade and investment issues. This applies to the G8 as well as the new players.
Conflict

Since Gleneagles, R2P has been adopted, this has to be taken into account; Africa is a continent of fragile states.
This means:
  • Reducing fragility through a long-term sustainable approach as a way of achieving the MDGs, e.g. sustained youth engagement and employment, economic investment as part of peacebuilding eg. Darfur
  • Resolve contradictions between rhetoric and geo-strategic interests of the G8 members in Africa, e.g. in Somalia.
  • Expand the constituency of actors to include African diaspora, private sector, non-military, promote the socialisation of China.
ICT: e-Africa and m-Africa

  • Renew ICT Commitments as Part of a Wider Science, Technology and Innovation Agenda.
  • Support “Open Digital Economies in Africa” to Overcome Policy and Infrastructural Barriers.
  • Launch an “African Digital Enterprise Initiative” (ADEI) to Stimulate African IT Sector Growth.
  • Initiate a “MOTForce” to Harness Development Potential of Mobile Telephony Growth.
Climate Change

  • Fulfill existing commitments to reduce emissions and agree an international framework beyond 2012 to ensure no more than 2 degrees celcius rise in temperature above pre-industrial level.
  • G-8 member nations to reduce their emissions by 3% year on year from now.
  • Fulfill existing commitments made at WSSD, UNCCD, UNFCCC etc. and agree annual progress report from all G8 nations.
  • Climate change adaptation should be integrated within all national development mechanisms by 2008 (CfA recommendation to be achieved by 2008).
Civic engagement and accountability

  • Civic engagement must begin with mutual accountability around aid flows and the impacts of aid architecture on African civil society. Critical need for access to information, where donor processes privilege external over domestic accountability.
  • Aid architecture favours elite groups over civil society at the grass roots and with broad membership. A need to fund multi-stakeholder processes through diverse experimental portfolios of civil society partners. Questionable whether changes in the aid architecture can support this.
  • Much more work is needed on the development of channels and democratic spaces – the media, private-sector and diaspora associations, the justice sector and (in particular) parliaments and political party development.
  • A risk of excessive expectations of civil society as agents of accountability and the ability to scale this up, bordering on social engineering. Accountability emerges slowly and unevenly, requiring a long-term strategic perspective. This in turn requires systems to track changes in the political environment and the development of democratic spaces.
  • Donors need to be honest about their roles as political actors and about their responsibilities, not to simply pass political risk on to civil society which may be very vulnerable in some contexts.
Corruption

  1. To have G8 set an example to tackle corruption on the supply side by ensuring amongst other things that the four remaining G8 members ratify the UN Convention Against Corruption immediately.
  2. It is not enough to have members ratify such conventions but must demonstrate commitment by providing adequate resources and giving real teeth to competent authorities to fully implement their commitments. Past corrupt practices such as loans knowingly given to corrupt dictators should not be overlooked.
  3. It is generally agreed that donors on their own cannot tackle corruption in country. They must see their role as supporting ongoing internal processes. The German G8 must therefore emphasise the central role of governance and institutions; and should send a strong signal in support of governance and political reforms intended to increase accountability and transparency at the country level. (Keep language of Africa Commission and Gleneagles)
  4. G8 needs to set an example by publishing information on aid, including amounts and how it is meant to be spent and making this information publicly available. This should also include how and when sanctions for corrupt practices should be applied in a way that is transparent and consistent.
Voice in international institutions

  • Leadership at Bank and Fund
  • Consult on governance
  • Proper oversight of Executive Board and staff
  • Greater transparency




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