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Civil Society and Knowledge Management in West Africa

This is a background paper prepared for the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) workshop on “Managing Knowledge for Policy Influence in West Africa”, 8 April 2013, Accra, Ghana.

Partnering for Development? Analyzing Possibilities and Challenges for Civil Society Organisations and the Private Sector in West Africa

Since the middle of the 1990s, partnership as a strategy for development in the „emerging economies‟ has emerged as an ideological mantra. Drawing its power from the exhaustion of earlier development models and the apparent failure of state intervention in the „developing‟ world, the discourse nudged development actors away from reliance on international aid towards the apparent multiple benefits of partnerships. Almost two decades on, the discourse shows no signs of flagging.

In this paper, I have examined the idea of partnerships, specifically civil society-private sector partnerships- against the template of social, economic and political developments in the West African sub-region. Pointing out that partnerships are products of time and place, thus liable to succeed or fail depending on a whole range of variables, I analyzed the particular challenges faced by both civil society and the private sector in West Africa.

Read more in this WACSERIES Vol. 3 Num 1.

The Politics of Regional Integration in West Africa

Regional integration processes are today, more than ever before, driven by the pre-eminence of the forces of globalisation in the post Cold War international system. As a result, no part of the world or section of humanity would like to be left behind or marginalised by other regions, or to be classified among the ‗wretched of the earth‘. Thus successful integration will enable weaker regions and states to properly equip themselves for the fierce competition among regions and states in the 21st Century. The rest of this section discusses pertinent issues on how to consolidate the gains made by ECOWAS in the last thirty six years to move the regional integration agenda forward.

Read this volume of WACSI's WACSeries; Vol 2 no. 2 for a detailed analysis.

“Reviewing the 50+ Years of Women’s Participation in Politics in Nigeria”

Nigeria attained its independence from the British in 1960 and celebrated its 50th anniversary on October 1, 2010. Fifty years down the line the statistics of women‟s representation in politics and decision making remains abysmally poor. No woman has ever occupied the position of President or Vice President neither has any been elected governor of any of the thirty six states. In fifty years, Nigeria has had only seven female deputy governors. The highest representation women have had in the Federal Executive Council is 20% in the 2007 – 2011 Cabinet.

The highest number women have attained in the Senate is nine out of the one hundred and nine members i.e. 8.3%. Worse still, in the House of Representatives of three hundred and sixty members, there are only twenty seven women, constituting a paltry 7.5%.Out of sixty three political parties, in 2010 only one, the United National Party for Development (UNPD) has a female Chairperson.

Guinea At a Crossroads: Opportunities for a More Robust Civil Society

The economic, social and political crisis in Guinea is a source of concern for the whole of West Africa. The Guinean people are caught between hope for a new era after years of misrule and fear of how the military leaders may conduct themselves. Meanwhile, “the mood on the street is hardening against the junta”, says Richard Moncrieff, International Crisis Group’s (ICG) West Africa Project Director. “Guineans are desperate for democratic change and an end to economic misery, while security forces are ready to use lethal force to remain in control. More trouble is likely unless combined domestic and international pressure is applied to find a sustainable solution to the problem”

PROMOTING YOUTH PARTICIPATION IN LOCAL GOVERNANCE: “THE ABUSUA FOUNDATION EXPERIENCE”

Youth, as a concept, varies from culture to culture and from society to society.Youth, or young people, form a significant reservoir of human resource potential in Africa. The youth constitute about 30 per cent of the world‟s inhabitants and half of the populations of countries in Africa. Notably, they account for over 30 per cent of Africa‟s labour force. Yet about 20 per cent of Africa‟s young people are unemployed. On the one hand, they are a potential resource for sustainable economic growth and social development. Contrariwise, they have proven to be a source of social tension and conflict when left disengaged and alienated from the conditions necessary for their development as productive citizens.

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