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  • Author: Ellinore Ahlgren
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Public and International Affairs (JPIA)
  • Institution: School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Abstract: This paper examines whether frequent engagement with the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the body of independent experts monitoring the implementation of the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, is linked to improved compliance with women’s rights commitments. It further explores whether the relationship between treaty body interaction and compliance holds for states that have made reservations to articles concerning women’s rights. Data from state reports submitted to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and indicators from the Social Institutions and Gender Index show that frequent engagement with the body is associated with improved equality for women, irrespective of state reservations. The results from this study challenge the idea that reservations undermine global governance regimes and are detrimental to human rights. Finally, this paper illustrates how compliance mechanisms work using a case study from Iraq. Through participation in the report-and-review process, states engage in negotiation around contentious areas of women’s rights with experts, civil society and the public, which facilitates respect for women’s rights.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Governance, Women, Compliance, Case Study
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iraq, Middle East, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Elizabeth Sperber, Gwyneth McClendon, O'Brien Kaaba
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: A significant literature suggests that religious conviction can drive political participation, perhaps because religious people internalize a moral obligation to act toward the common good and/or because religious conviction gives people a sense that their actions will make a difference. This paper presents findings from a community-collaborative pilot study in Zambia that examines these ideas. Zambia is an overwhelmingly Christian state experiencing dramatic democratic backsliding. Zambian churches are among the major providers of civic engagement education and programming. Together with our community partners, we randomly assigned Zambian youth (aged 18-35) volunteers into one-time civic engagement workshops. Identical basic civic educational material was presented in each workshop. Yet, we ended this curriculum with two different sets of pre-recorded Christian motivational messages: In 50% of the workshops, these messages emphasized a religious obligation to sacrifice for the common good. In the other 50%, the messages emphasized the power of faith to make change in the world. We found that the latter message (emphasizing the power of faith) moved workshop participants to be more willing to participate in peaceful protest, to disavow political violence, and to critically evaluate other people who choose not to participate in electoral politics. By contrast, the message focused on sacrifice for the common good did not affect political participation relative to baseline. We discuss how the study advances research on religion and political participation as well as knowledge about Christian civic education programs, which are prevalent but understudied throughout.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Politics, Religion, Democracy, Youth
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zambia
  • Author: Joseph Kone
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: Since the end of its civil war in 2011 and the installation of President Alassane Dramane Ouattara, Côte d’Ivoire has seen one of the highest rates of economic growth in Africa, sometimes referred to as a new “Ivoirian miracle” (Dionne & Bamba, 2017). As the economy has grown and the state has rebuilt capacity, tax revenues have increased steadily, growing by 37% between 2013 and 2017. In many African states, «import and export taxes constitute the backbone of tax regimes. Revenues are supplemented by indirect taxes, in the form of excise and sales taxes» (D’Arcy, 2011). In the case of Côte d’Ivoire, the government relies heavily on taxes on the export of cocoa and other agricultural products, in addition to taxes on industrial and commercial profits, income, telecommunications, petroleum products, imports, as well as a value-added tax (Ministère du Budget et du Portefeuille de l’Etat, 2020). Even in states with high levels of coercive capacity, citizens’ willingness to pay taxes is a significant determinant of revenues collected. This willingness becomes even more important in contexts of relatively low state capacity, such as has existed in post-conflict Côte d’Ivoire. In fact, a substantial – and growing – proportion of Ivoirians question the state’s right to collect taxes, a fact that could present a significant challenge to the government’s ability to collect revenues in order to rebuild essential state services and avoid excessive debt. This paper focuses on a particular form of tax non-compliance: tax disobedience, or individuals’ refusal to pay taxes and fees as a form of protest. Specifically, it examines several individual-level factors that might be associated with tax disobedience, including lack of a cash income, assessments of public services and elected representatives, accessibility of information, and effective connections with the Ivoirian nation. Our analyses of data from the Afrobarometer Round 7 survey (2017) suggest that some of the conventional wisdom on tax compliance is not supported in the case of tax disobedience in Côte d’Ivoire. While we find, as expected, that individuals who think state performance is improving in delivering key services are less likely to express a willingness to engage in tax disobedience, we find no such link with lived poverty; poorer Ivoirians are no more or less likely than their wealthier counterparts to endorse tax disobedience. Surprisingly, assessments of elected representatives and of corruption in the tax system are not significantly associated with tax disobedience, either. Perceived access to government information and identification with the Ivoirian nation do show associations with tax disobedience, but these links run counter to our expectations: Citizens who think they could access information held by public bodies are significantly more likely to say they engaged or would engage in tax disobedience, as are people who identify more closely with the nation than with their ethnic group. These analyses suggest the need for more research on a crucial question facing African states: Who pays taxes, and who doesn’t?
  • Topic: Civil Society, Tax Systems, Revenue Management, Tax Evasion
  • Political Geography: Africa, Côte d'Ivoire
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: A letter to the UN Human Rights Council from a number of NGOs (African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS); AfricanDefenders (Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network); Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS); Center for Reproductive Rights; Central African Network of Human Rights Defenders (REDHAC) CIVICUS; Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) – South Sudan; Crown The Woman – South Sudan; DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project); Dominicans for Justice and Peace; Geneva for Human Rights / Genève pour les Droits de l’Homme; Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P); Human Rights Watch; International Commission of Jurists; FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights); International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR); International Service for Human Rights; Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada; Legal Action Worldwide (LAW); National Alliance for Women Lawyers – South Sudan; Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN); South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network (SSHRDN); World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)).
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights, United Nations, NGOs
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Nations, South Sudan
  • Author: Hamid Eltgani Ali
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Cairo Review of Global Affairs
  • Institution: School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, American University in Cairo
  • Abstract: Sudan’s path to democracy has been a rocky one, and there are several key players who need to ensure it never returns to an autocratic state.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Authoritarianism, Democracy, Ideology
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Selby Xinwa
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
  • Abstract: This briefing paper provides an overview of the shrinking civic space as well as the situation on the violations of the rights to freedom of association and assembly in sub-Saharan Africa. It also highlights innovation and strategic advocacy approaches employed by sub-Saharan Africa's civil society to defend their civic participation space.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Transitional Justice, Advocacy, Civil Liberties, Civic Engagement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Ramtane Lamamra
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: To translate the vision of the 2013 Solemn Declaration into action, the Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns by Year 2020 (AUMR) was adopted by the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council in 2016. The AUMR was to be executed by the AU Commission in collaboration with key stakeholders, including regional economic communities; economic, social and cultural communities; organs of the AU; the United Nations (UN) and civil society organisations. Speaking to this endeavour, the 33rd AU Ordinary Summit took stock of achievements and challenges encountered in implementing this flagship project of Silencing the Guns by 2020. It further sought to devise a more robust action plan, informed by the Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism of the AUMR, for a peaceful and prosperous Africa. Conflicts have robbed Africa of over US$100 billion since the end of the Cold War in 1991. The continent has unfortunately witnessed some of the world’s biggest fatalities, food and humanitarian crises and the erosion of social cohesion, coupled with the total breakdown of economies and decimation of the environmental and political landscape. It is worrisome to see countries such as South Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Mali and Libya continuing to witness persistent levels of armed conflict, and the decolonisation conflict in Western Sahara is remaining unresolved for so long. The threat posed by COVID-19 has considerably slowed the momentum of the silencing the guns agenda and has abruptly added to the existing challenges, slowing down the attainment of peace and development
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, International Cooperation, Peace, African Union, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Mali, South Sudan, Central African Republic
  • Author: Ayanda Ntsaluba
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Recognition of the nexus between foreign policy and public health is not new; it has found episodic expression that tended to dissipate, only to re-emerge with time. This has been the case because traditional notions of advancing national interests through foreign policy have tended to be anchored around the fields of trade and defence, with health seen as part of so-called “low politics”. This has tended to underplay the foreign policy dimensions of health.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil Society, International Cooperation, Ebola, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Zurab Elzarov
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The implementation of the Library of Peace project was a model of successful cooperation between UNAMID, the Government of Sudan (State Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth), UNICEF, civil society and the public library personnel
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Amy Erica Smith, Emma Rosenberg
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In the last decade, scholars have begun to elaborate the diverse ways religion manifests in democracies. We draw on theories related to modernization, secularism, and religious competition, as well as survey data from the Comparative National Elections Project, to explain individual-level and country-level variation in religious politicking—religious leaders’ and organizations’ engagement in electoral campaigns. At the country level, though human development depresses the rate at which citizens receive political messages from religious organizations and clergy, both secularism and religious pluralism boost it. At the individual level, “civilizational” differences across religious groups are muted and inconsistent. However, across the globe, citizens with higher levels of education are consistently more likely to receive political messages—an effect that is stronger where religious politicking is more common. A case study of Mozambique further confirms the insights obtained when we unpack modernization and secularization theories.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Politics, Religion, Developing World, Democracy, Citizenship, Human Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique, Global Focus, Global South
  • Author: David Devlin-Foltz, Susanna Dilliplane, Rhonda Schlangen
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: In 2016, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation launched a new grant-making strategy to support advocacy for access to family planning and reproductive health (FPRH) services in Sub-Saharan Africa. The goal: support vibrant African organizations able to positively influence their government’s FPRH policies and funding decisions. The strategy seeks to shift power towards the local civil society organizations (CSOs) doing the advocacy work and to strengthen their capacity to advocate. During the first five years of the strategy’s implementation, the Foundation is working with the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program to assess and learn from the experience of its grantees and the CSOs they support. This midterm report summarizes key findings and recommendations based on evaluation activities conducted in 2017 and 2018.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Local, Advocacy, Family Planning, Reproductive Health
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Book
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: This White Book for Peace and Security is the Malian civil society's contribution to (inter)national security and development strategies in Mali. It seeks to bring forward the perspectives of local populations in the design and implementation of these strategies. Building on locally collected perceptions, the White Book presents a bottom-up analysis of the country’s most urgent security challenges and provides tailored recommendations for policymakers to achieve long-term stability in the country.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Development, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali
  • Author: Alexander Malden, Joseph Williams
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: In many oil-producing countries, the national oil company (NOC) sells vast quantities of the state’s oil and gas. The sale of a state’s non-renewable natural resource endowment is often a revenue stream that can have a significant impact on a country’s national budget and the state’s ability to fulfil its national development priorities. It is important therefore that citizens are able to assess the performance of their NOCs, who they sell state assets to, under what terms they sell them and what they do with the resulting sales revenue. In this briefing the authors use data from NRGI’s new National Oil Company database to examine the governance and corruption risks posed by NOC’s oil sales activities. Using this newly compiled data including over $1.5 trillion in oil sales from 39 NOCs in 35 countries, they found that: The sale of oil is an economically significant activity for many countries. The oil, gas and product sales of 35 countries’ national oil companies (NOCs) to commodity traders and other buyers generated over $1.5 trillion in 2016, equaling 22 percent of these countries’ total government revenues. Most NOCs only pass on a small percentage of their oil sales revenue to government treasuries. NOCs from the 30 countries for which data are available transferred just 22 percent of their revenue to the country’s national treasury. This results in NOCs managing huge public revenues in environments that lack basic transparency, accountability and good governance practices. Seventy-nine percent of the identifiable oil sales, or $1.2 trillion, occurred in countries with “weak” or “poor” scores in the 2017 Resource Governance Index. While oil sales disclosure has improved in countries which are part of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), non-EITI countries generated over 90 percent of the identifiable NOC oil sales revenue, or $1.4 trillion. This briefing also presents case studies from the Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Ecuador of ways oil sales data, where available, has been used to scrutinize NOCs’ commercial performance and to hold them accountable for the revenue generated when selling the state’s oil.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Oil, Business
  • Political Geography: Africa, South America, Nigeria, Ecuador, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Author: Katherine Meyer
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: In 2017, the Global Terrorism Database reported 2 402 incidents of terrorism in Africa.1 Perhaps this number is not shocking when considering the extensive international media coverage over the past decade, displaying headlines detailing terrorism-related violence erupting in African countries such as Mali and Libya. Even so, this number is marginally lower than the annual tally over the past five years.2 Counterterrorism strategies by African governments, foreign powers such as France, and multilateral efforts from the African Union, among others, have contributed to the decline. However, to begin to disregard terrorism as an extreme risk on the continent would be a grave mistake. The threat must be considered not only for its intensity, but for its reach as well. Given the pervasiveness of terrorism in North Africa and the Sahel region, international scholars and practitioners have given their attention to analysing and mitigating the threats in these regions. Yet, recent terrorism-related violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mozambique and Tanzania demonstrates the need to carefully consider the risk of terrorism spreading south-east. The key characteristics that have rendered many of the North African and Sahel countries vulnerable to increased terrorism also exist in southern and eastern Africa; these include poverty and unemployment/underemployment, fragile state governance and civilian grievances. Considering further the poor response to terrorism by the DRC, Mozambique and Tanzania governments, better response mechanisms for this region are needed. Based on the insufficient capacity to protect against the nascent but potentially expanding terrorism, this article argues for urgent attention to be brought to building state resilience that will successfully confront and reverse the spread of terrorism in southern and eastern Africa. This requires developing strong leaders who can make necessary socio-economic and political system changes.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Poverty, Terrorism, Governance, State Building, Unemployment
  • Political Geography: Africa, North Africa
  • Author: Darlington Tshuma, Gilbert Tinashe Zvaita
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Conflict Trends
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: On 8 May 2019, South Africans went to the polls to elect a government of their choice. This election was South Africa’s sixth since the country held its first democratic election in 1994. Twenty-five years later, questions are being asked about whether the ruling party has delivered on its electoral promises since its victory in the April 1994 election. These and other questions have arisen due to the country’s socio-economic challenges such as increasing youth unemployment, massive public-private sector corruption and deep-seated inequality. These challenges have resulted in renewed calls for political alternatives. This search for political alternatives is evidenced by a significant increase in the number of new political parties that have formed since 1994 – over 40 political parties contested the May 2019 election in various parts of the country. In spite of the growth in the number of political parties, the question that has not generated sufficient debate in either political and policy circles is the role of the youth in South Africa’s democracy, and in electoral processes in particular. This article reports on the findings of a socio-anthropological research study on society, politics and electoral processes in South Africa, conducted as part of an international research project titled Re-examining Elections after African Experiences.1 The article provides an analysis on what the electoral process and voting specifically means to South African youth.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Elections, Democracy, Anthropology
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Jean Pierre Misago
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: African Journal on Conflict Resolution
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: By demonstrating that local governance facilitates the occurrence of xenophobic violence by providing what I term favourable micro-political opportunity structures, the article argues that governance is a key determinant of xenophobic violence in South Africa and of collective violence generally. Research evidence (from extensive comparative empirical data and the global literature) informing this argument sits incongruently with the common and widely accepted understanding of governance and its relationship with collective violence. It shows that some aspects of this relationship are misunderstood and others are yet to be examined. Indeed, theoretical predictions in this regard indicate that collective violence and other forms of contentious collective action tend to occur in societies where mechanisms of social control have lost their restraining power. This article challenges these predictions by illustrating that, in most cases, xenophobic violence occurs in areas where social controls are strong and actually a facilitating factor. Further, the article indicates that the biggest misunderstanding of the relationship between governance and collective violence lies in interconnections yet to be examined. Such an examination would reveal the predominant role of governance, not only as a determinant, but particularly because of the significant role it plays in the making of violence co-determinants.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Discrimination, Violence, Xenophobia
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Richard Youngs, Gareth Fowler, Arthur Larok, Pawel Marczewski, Vijayan Mj, Ghia Nodia, Natalia Shapoavlova, Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, Marisa Von Bülow, Özge Zihnioğlu
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: As the domain of civil society burgeoned in the 1990s and early 2000s—a crucial component of the global spread of democracy in the developing and postcommunist worlds—many transnational and domestic actors involved in building and supporting this expanding civil society assumed that the sector was naturally animated by organizations mobilizing for progressive causes. Some organizations focused on the needs of underrepresented groups, such as women’s empowerment, inclusion of minorities, and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights; others addressed broader societal issues such as economic justice, social welfare, and antipoverty concerns. In many countries, the term “civil society” came to be associated with a relatively bounded set of organizations associated with a common agenda, one separate from or even actively opposed by conservative political forces. However, in the past ten years, this assumption and outlook are proving increasingly incorrect. In many countries in the developing and postcommunist worlds, as well as in long-established Western democracies, conservative forms of civic activism have been multiplying and gaining traction. In some cases, new conservative civic movements and groups are closely associated with illiberal political actors and appear to be an integral part of the well-chronicled global pushback against Western liberal democratic norms. In other cases, the political alliances and implications of conservative civil society are less clear. In almost all cases—other than perhaps that of the United States, where the rise of conservative activism has been the subject of considerable study—this rising world of conservative civil society has been little studied and often overlooked. This report seeks to correct this oversight and to probe more deeply into the rise of conservative civil society around the world. It does so under the rubric of Carnegie’s Civic Research Network project, an initiative that aims to explore new types of civic activism and examine the extent to which these activists and associations are redrawing the contours of global civil society. The emerging role and prominence of conservative activism is one such change to civil society that merits comparative examination. Taken as a whole, the report asks what conservative civic activism portends for global civil society. Its aim is not primarily to pass judgment on whether conservative civil society is a good or bad thing—although the contributing authors obviously have criticisms to make. Rather, it seeks mainly to understand more fully what this trend entails. Much has been written and said about anticapitalist, human rights, and global justice civil society campaigns and protests. Similar analytical depth is required in the study of conservative civil society. The report redresses the lack of analytical attention paid to the current rise of conservative civil society by offering examples of such movements and the issues that drive them. The authors examine the common traits that conservative groups share and the issues that divide them. They look at the kind of members that these groups attract and the tactics and tools they employ. And they ask how effective the emerging conservative civil society has been in reshaping the political agenda.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Politics, Political Activism, Conservatism
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Europe, South Asia, Turkey, Ukraine, Caucasus, Middle East, India, Poland, Brazil, South America, Georgia, North America, Thailand, Southeast Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S. has learned many lessons in its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria—most of them the hard way. It has had to adapt the strategies, tactics, and force structures designed to fight regular wars to conflicts dominated by non-state actors. It has had to deal with threats shaped by ideological extremism far more radical than the communist movements it struggled against in countries like Vietnam. It has found that the kind of “Revolution in Military Affairs,” or RMA, that helped the U.S. deter and encourage the collapses of the former Soviet Union does not win such conflicts against non-state actors, and that it faces a different mix of threats in each such war—such as in cases like Libya, Yemen, Somalia and a number of states in West Africa. The U.S. does have other strategic priorities: competition with China and Russia, and direct military threats from states like Iran and North Korea. At the same time, the U.S. is still seeking to find some form of stable civil solution to the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria—as well as the conflicts Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and West Africa. Reporting by the UN, IMF, and World Bank also shows that the mix of demographic, political governance, and economic forces that created the extremist threats the U.S. and its strategic partners are now fighting have increased in much of the entire developing world since the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001, and the political upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa in 2011. The Burke Chair at CSIS has prepared a working paper that suggests the U.S. needs to build on the military lessons it has learned from its "long wars" in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries in order to carry out a new and different kind of “Revolution in Civil-Military Affairs,” or RCMA. This revolution involves very different kinds of warfighting and military efforts from the RMA. The U.S. must take full advantage of what it is learning about the need for different kinds of train and assist missions, the use of airpower, strategic communications, and ideological warfare. At the same time, the U.S. must integrate these military efforts with new civilian efforts that address the rise of extremist ideologies and internal civil conflicts. It must accept the reality that it is fighting "failed state" wars, where population pressures and unemployment, ethnic and sectarian differences, critical problems in politics and governance, and failures to meet basic economic needs are a key element of the conflict. In these elements of conflict, progress must be made in wartime to achieve any kind of victory, and that progress must continue if any stable form of resolution is to be successful.
  • Topic: Civil Society, United Nations, Military Strategy, Governance, Military Affairs, Developing World
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Iraq, Middle East, West Africa, Somalia, Sundan
  • Author: Yara Shahin
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Civil society plays a vital role in society. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) connect citizens and governments, hold governments accountable, and advocate for citizens’ interests. After being widely celebrated in the 1990s, civil society across the world is now facing shrinking support and growing restrictions. Drivers behind these restrictions in Tunisia include professed concerns about terrorism, a dominant security agenda, and the shift within civil society from service delivery to advocacy, which can seem threatening to governments. Government restrictions most often target the social justice sector and obstruct the work of NGOs through legal restrictions, financial measures, and direct threats to civic actors. Recently, many governments have intensified accusations that civil society and its activists are anti-development, work against economic security, or are terrorist sympathizers or supporters. This paper explores the status of civic space in Tunisia and its development from the most repressive civic space in the Middle East and North Africa during Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s regime to an open civic space following the 2011 Arab Spring. It also highlights the various ways in which civil society has responded to the closing of civic space, especially as it pertains to pushing back against problematic laws through the formation of domestic coalitions.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Space, NGOs, Social Order
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Tunisia
  • Author: Iulia Andreea Toma
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Case Study
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The Democratic Republic of Congo is currently gripped by national political deadlock and plagued by localized armed conflicts, both old and new. In the central region of Kasai, the conflict between government forces and the Kamwina Nsapo militia escalated dramatically in the first quarter of 2017 and has caused a serious humanitarian crisis extending over five provinces. The crisis has led to major food insecurity, and exacerbated the existing vulnerabilities of the local population. Women in DRC play a limited role in public life and their access to services and opportunities is constrained. The crisis in Kasai is entrenching existing inequalities in gender norms. In this context, Oxfam conducted a gender analysis in October-November 2017 in order to identify the impacts that the conflict is having on women, girls, boys and men in the province and their coping mechanisms. This report presents the findings of the analysis and recommendations intended to inform Oxfam’s own humanitarian programmes and those of its partners and other organizations, as well as the wider humanitarian response.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Gender Issues, Women, Norms
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Author: Simone Lombardini
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: This evaluation is presented as part of the Effectiveness Review Series 2016/17, selected for review under the women’s empowerment thematic area. The evaluation took place in November 2016 in Tunisia, and intended to evaluate the success of the ‘AMAL: Supporting Women’s Transformative Leadership’ project in increasing women’s empowerment. The project ‘AMAL: Supporting Women’s Transformative Leadership’ is a multi-country programme operating in Morocco, Tunisia, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Yemen, with regional coordination from Lebanon. The results coming from this Effectiveness Review are not meant to be indicative of the overall impact of AMAL, but more a focused assessment for the Tunisia component. The AMAL project operating in Tunisia started in 2012, following the revolution of 2011, with the objective to increase women’s awareness of their political and socio-economic rights, and support women to play a more active role in the political and socio-economic life of their community and country.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Gender Issues, Gender Based Violence , Feminism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Sarah Barakat
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Women in the Middle East and North Africa region face challenges in their attempts to seek and get justice. Despite some promising legal awareness initiatives, mostly led by civil society, women’s knowledge of their rights and family law is limited. They lack social capital and the financial means to claim their rights, and the systems in place to provide financial support are insufficient and often ineffective. Women’s pursuit of justice is further limited by entrenched patriarchal values at community and court levels. Though some laws in the countries covered by this research have been positively amended recently, women still face discrimination in the judicial system based on their sex, their religion, and their financial status.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Gender Issues, Women, Justice
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan
  • Author: Lesley Connolly, Laura Powers, Senzwesihle Ngubane, Patrick Kanyangara, Kessy Ekomo-Soignet, Nicolas Chamat Matallana, Stephen Kirimi, Hasini Haputhanthri, Masana Ndinga-Kanga, Webster Zambara
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: In recent years, there have been increasing calls to ensure local ownership of peacebuilding design and practice, to take local knowledge fully into account in designing peacebuilding programs and assessing conflicts, and to strive for the meaningful participation of local peacebuilding actors. In the search for new approaches to connect local-level initiatives to international programs and to move local knowledge from the bottom up, community-led peacebuilding networks may have a key role to play. This volume includes case studies of community-led peacebuilding networks in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Colombia, Kenya, Liberia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe to identify approaches for more inclusive and integrated peacebuilding. These case studies, written by local peacebuilders working in each of the countries, underscore the organizational, political, and financial advantages and risks to operating as part of a broader network. The aim of this report is to enhance understanding among international peacebuilding practitioners and policymakers of peacebuilding network structures, including their comparative advantages and challenges. In doing so, it aims to guide efforts not only to incorporate local knowledge and expertise into international initiatives but also to identify how these efforts can support and magnify local efforts. By better understanding how local peacebuilding networks operate in their communities, the international community can begin to better understand the challenges local organizations face, how to support and strengthen peacebuilding work on the ground, and how such initiatives contribute to building and sustaining peace.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Women, Youth, Networks, Peace, Community
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, South Asia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Central African Republic
  • Author: Hiroyuki Tosa
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Relations of the Asia-Pacific
  • Institution: Japan Association of International Relations
  • Abstract: The purpose of this article is to offer some reflections on how to interpret the International Criminal Court (ICC)’ s fractious relationship with Africa in the context of the historical lineage of a dual structure of the global constitutional order and further scrutinize its implications for life cycles of the international norm. First, we begin by setting out the ICC process (norm emergence) led by middle power sand global civil society during the early post-Cold War period. We then scrutinize the limits of this new normative order by focusing on its dualistic nature, as well as the asymmetrical relation between the Global North and the Global South, in particular African countries. Finally, we reexamine the remaining injustice issue inherent in the liberal normative order by paying attention to structural problems such as the predatory capitalism behind the serious humanitarian crisis, which international judicial interventions seem to have superficially mask.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Judiciary, Norms, International Criminal Court (ICC)
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Global South
  • Author: Thomas Fetzer, Stephan Kyburz
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC)
  • Abstract: Can institutionalized transfers of resource rents be a source of civil conflict? Are cohesive institutions better at managing conflicts over distribution? We exploit exogenous variation in revenue disbursements to local governments and use new data on local democratic institutions in Nigeria to answer these questions. There is a strong link between rents and conflict far away from the location of the resource. Conflict over distribution is highly organized, involving political militias, and concentrated in the extent to which local governments are non-cohesive. Democratically elected local governments significantly weaken the causal link between rents and political violence. Elections produce more cohesive institutions, and vastly limit the extent to which distributional conflict between groups breaks out following shocks to the rents. Throughout, we confirm these findings using individual level survey data.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Natural Resources, Military Affairs, Conflict, Violence, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Franklin Oduro, Paul Osei-Kuffour
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Ghana Center for Democratic Development
  • Abstract: A major feature of Ghana's decentralization and devolution process is the increased involvement of local communities, the citizenry, either by themselves as individuals or through association, such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs), peoples' organizations (POs), civil society organizations (CSOs), the private sector, businesses, among others. Indeed, the design of Ghana's decentralization program, with associated structures, such as the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), and the prescribed mode of functioning, present various opportunities for popular participation.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democracy, Citizenship, NGOs, Local
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Francis Kibirige
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: After nearly a decade of growth, popular demand for democracy in Africa has shown signs of weakening (Mattes & Bratton, 2016; Lührmann et al., 2017; Cheeseman, 2017)). In Uganda, recent Afrobarometer survey data show that although citizens’ preference for democracy consistently outstrips their perception of how much democracy they’re actually getting, satisfaction with the way their democracy works is on a decade-long slide. In survey responses, Ugandans’ preference for democracy fluctuates around election years, increasing before and decreasing after general elections. At the same time, the disparity between popular preference for and satisfaction with democracy, defined in this paper as the “democracy satisfaction gap,” is growing, from 5 percentage points in 2000 to 34 percentage points in 2017. These patterns pose a number of questions, including what causes popular preference for democracy to fluctuate around election years and whether indeed Ugandans understand and appreciate democracy. Survey data suggest that Ugandans have grown in their knowledge of democracy with the passage of time (Mattes, Kibirige, & Sentamu, 2010). Similarly, the proportion of Ugandans who are “committed democrats” – meaning they prefer democracy over any other form of government and consistently reject authoritarian rule – has increased sharply, although women, less educated citizens, and rural residents lag behind in this group. Our analysis suggests that a preference for democracy is stronger among citizens who perceive the quality of Uganda’s elections as poor, those who are dissatisfied with the government’s delivery of political or economic goods, those who believe strongly in democratic values, and those who are more cognitively engaged in civic and political life.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics, Governance, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The continuing conflict in South Sudan, which began in December 2013, is having a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of millions of South Sudanese women, men, boys and girls, with the result that South Sudan is now one of the most food-insecure countries in the world. Women and men of all ages are suffering from the effects of conflict, including abuses and loss of control over, and access to, vital resources. This report presents the results of a gender analysis field study conducted in South Sudan in May-June 2016. The study was carried out as part of the ECHO-ERC project ‘Institutionalizing Gender in Emergencies: Bridging Policy and Practice’. The report highlights the different impacts the conflict is having on women and men; whether and how these needs are being addressed; and where opportunities may exist for UN agencies, donors, South Sudanese authorities and civil society to incorporate a stronger gender element into their programmes and responses. It also aims to explain how programmes can be gender-sensitive in times of protracted conflict.
  • Topic: Civil Society, United Nations, Humanitarian Intervention, Food Assistance, Disaster Management
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Gavin Stedman-Bryce
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: This evaluation is presented as part of the Effectiveness Review Series 2015/16, selected for review under the women’s empowerment thematic area. This report documents the findings of an impact evaluation, carried out in January 2016. The purpose of the evaluation was to rigorously assess the effectiveness of the Raising Her Voice project in South Africa (RHV-SA), in terms of its contribution to greater women’s empowerment. Usually, evaluations under this thematic area are evaluated using quasi-experimental impact evaluation techniques. In this case, given the characteristics of the project, a different impact evaluation technique has been applied, called process tracing. Where interventions have small sample sizes for evaluators to draw from (referred to as small ‘n’ evaluations), this can make it difficult to adopt traditional counterfactual approaches to establishing causality for a range of technical and practical reasons. This is a situation typically faced in projects under Oxfam’s Good Governance outcome area (previously known as Citizen Voice and Policy Influencing). Evaluations of interventions under this outcome area are concerned with establishing whether or not they contributed to an observed change; in other words, they are concerned with assessing a causal claim. To make this type of assessment possible, Oxfam developed a pre-qualified protocol, based on process tracing.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Gender Based Violence , Feminism
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Saskia van Veen, Salma Jrad, Galand Soufia
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Around half of women in Tunisia have experienced some form of violence in their life. Over 90% of the population thinks women should be discreet to avoid violence in public spaces. From the perspective of Oxfam and dozens of women’s rights organisations, social norms that legitimise gender inequality and violence are rooted in the deeply entrenched belief – found, to some extent, in every country – that men and boys are more valuable than women and girls. ENOUGH, a worldwide Oxfam campaign, aims to replace harmful social norms with more positive ones that promote gender equality and non-violence. To better understand how social norms are constructed among young people in Tunisia and how they influence behaviour, Oxfam Tunisia conducted formative research by interviewing 40 young men and women and analysing the results with experts, NGOs and bloggers working on violence against women and girls (VAWG). From the research and subsequent analysis in a workshop, three social norms were identified as drivers of violence: women should not strive for equal decision-making status in their relationship; women should prioritise home and family over public or professional life; and women should behave in public in a way that respects male domination. This research will inform the development of the ENOUGH campaign in Tunisia, sharpening its focus on changing the norms that underlie VAWG.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Gender Issues, Gender Based Violence , Norms
  • Political Geography: Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Shelley Liu
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: How does civil war affect society and citizen interaction with politics? Civilians who live through warfare face numerous challenges that can have permanent effects on society even after peace is achieved. This project uses the Liberian civil wars as a case study to examine the impact of war through one channel – disruptions in education for an entire generation of children. The paper shows that negative effects of war on education and economic outcomes clash with citizen expectations for post-war democracy, leading to negative consequences for the democratization process. Specifically, educational deficiencies in this particular generation of young adults decrease job prospects, breeding resentment against the promises of democracy. This extends to the political sphere, such that those who lost out on educational opportunities due to war exhibit lower engagement, less desire to engage with democratic processes, and a greater rejection of democracy altogether.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Civil War, Education, War, Children, Youth
  • Political Geography: Africa, Liberia
  • Author: Thomas Isbell
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: In any economy, balancing expenditures, revenues, and debts is a delicate and often politicized task. Competing interests and priorities buffet those tasked with planning a viable and stable national budget. For any state, taxes raised from individuals and businesses are a central plinth supporting the provision of services, the maintenance of infrastructure, the employment of civil servants, and the smooth functioning of the state. In many African countries, however, tax evasion leaves states with major holes in their budgetary pockets. A 2015 report by the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa cites tax abuse as an important contributor (along with laundering of criminal proceeds, corruption, and market abuse) to an estimated $30 billion to $60 billion per year that African governments lose to illicit financial flows, hampering growth through state investment, improvements in education and health services, and lower debt commitments abroad (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, 2015a, 2015b; Guardian, 2015). The 2016 leaks of the “Panama Papers” exposing tax evasion and fraud among many African and world leaders and their families further underlined the magnitude of the burden that tax evasion places on the continent (Kuo, 2016; Copley, 2016). Moreover, low tax compliance weakens the state’s ability to invest and develop. In 2005, only 15% of gross domestic product (GDP) in developing countries derived from taxes, compared to 35% in developed countries (Fuest & Riedel, 2009). In some of the poorest countries, this proportion was 12%. Cobham (2005) estimates that low tax compliance in developing countries costs around $285 billion per year. For many Africans, however, not paying taxes may be less a matter of choice than of insufficient efficacy. As Aiko and Logan (2014) report, majorities of Africans say it is difficult to find out what taxes they’re supposed to pay and how their government uses tax revenues, and many see tax officials as corrupt. Ali, Fjeldstad, & Sjursen (2013) have found that not understanding how taxes are used is negatively correlated with tax compliance. They also point out that many Africans pay private or non-state providers for services that would commonly be provided by the state, which might also tend to depress tax compliance. This paper examines the views and experiences of ordinary Africans related to tax compliance. Afrobarometer survey data indicate that a strong majority of Africans see paying taxes as a civic duty that is important to a country’s development and should be fulfilled regardless of whether one is dissatisfied with government services. But low levels of public trust and high levels of perceived corruption in the tax department dampen citizens’ support for tax compliance.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Tax Systems, Bureaucracy, Tax Evasion
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Marcos Do Amaral
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Mozambique is described as the third most exposed African country to the risks of disaster, particularly floods, cyclones and drought. It is one of the world’s worst affected countries in terms of climate change, resulting in high levels of poverty and vulnerability, and major impacts on natural resources and physical infrastructures. Oxfam is building the capacity of Mozambique’s civil society so it can effectively participate in disaster management, directly support affected and vulnerable people, and, in terms of the humanitarian situation, have a critical vision and voice.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Climate Change, Poverty, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique, Southern Africa
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: On the fifth anniversary of the mass Tahrir Square protests that ousted former President Mubarak, Egyptians are suffering severe repression and political instability. As this crisis deepens, Washington continues to send troubling mixed messages about its commitment to trying to resolve it. The U.S. government should, at long last, use its considerable influence to support civil society and advance human rights in Egypt. Such an approach would both help Egyptians and serve U.S interests. This blueprint draws on dozens of interviews with Egyptian human rights defenders, civil society activists, journalists, academics, families of detainees, lawyers, government officials, and others, conducted during a research trip in January 2016. It examines conditions in Egypt, the strengths and shortcomings of the U.S. response, and potential opportunities for the U.S. government to support civil society and strengthen respect for human rights. This year will be a defining one as violent extremism, regional conflicts, and political and economic mismanagement threaten Egypt—and as President Obama shapes his legacy in the Middle East. In 2009, he delivered a message of hope in Cairo: “America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere.” Much has changed in the intervening years. In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly in September 2015, President Obama opted for analysis rather than exhortation, noting that: “repression cannot forge the social cohesion for nations to succeed. The history of the last two decades proves that in today’s world, dictatorships are unstable. The strongmen of today become the spark of revolution tomorrow.” He continued: “I believe a government that suppresses peaceful dissent is not showing strength; it is showing weakness and it is showing fear. History shows that regimes who fear their own people will eventually crumble, but strong institutions built on the consent of the governed endure long after any one individual is gone.” Yet the U.S. government’s handling of the enduring crisis in Egypt has too often failed to draw obvious conclusions from the Administration’s analysis of the detrimental impact of human rights violations on stability and progress. As a result, many Egyptians view the Obama Administration as supportive of the repressive leadership in Cairo. This support for the dictatorship will render Egypt less stable, undermine U.S. efforts to prevent violent extremism, and further damage Washington’s credibility in the region.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights, United Nations, Social Movement, Protests
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, North Africa, Egypt, Cairo
  • Author: Thomas Isbell
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: In many parts of Africa, access to and quality of medical services remain poor (Deaton & Tortora, 2015; KPMG, 2012; Lowell, Conway, Keesmaat, McKenna, & Richardson, 2010; Streefland, 2005). While economic growth in recent decades has fostered improved health care on the continent, weak funding, brain drain of trained professionals, and ongoing battles with diseases such as TB, HIV, diarrheal diseases, and malaria as well as recurring epidemics such as Ebola continue to put immense pressure on medical systems in many countries (Ighobor, 2015; McKay, 2015; Chothia, 2014). Struggling medical systems confront governments and citizens with difficult choices: Needed investment in the medical sector must compete with other priorities, and increasing health spending by cutting other programs may not be a popular or even feasible solution. One alternative may be to raise taxes or user fees in order to increase available funding. In its Round 6 surveys, Afrobarometer asked citizens in 36 African countries whether they would support or oppose paying higher taxes or user fees in order to increase government spending on public health care. This paper describes citizens’ responses and analyzes whether they are correlated with demographic factors, access to health services, and perceptions of health care, government performance, and official corruption.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Health Care Policy, Tax Systems, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Patrick Kanyangara
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: This policy paper examines the prospective role of civil society organisations (CSOs) within the mechanisms and structures of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), which was created to address conflict challenges faced by states within the Great Lakes region. The ICGLR was established in 2003 to provide an inclusive platform for countries within the region to work effectively with international actors and CSOs for regional conflict prevention, management and resolution. Although the role of CSOs within the ICGLR initiatives is considered imperative to securing sustainable peace, there remain concerns that the involvement of CSOs is constrained. Through desk research and field surveys, this policy paper explores creative approaches for CSOs to make a valuable impact on the ICGLR initiative. The paper recommends improved and proactive synergy between the ICGLR and CSOs for effective peace and security in the region.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Civil Society, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Sadiki Koko
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: African Journal on Conflict Resolution
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: The second Congo war (1998-2003) was a very complex conflict that involved a vast array of actors, interests and issues. After a stalemate was reached on the battlefield with none of the warring parties able to achieve military victory, peace negotiations became the only viable option to end the war. Civil society organisations were directly involved in both the peace process and the subsequent transitional dispensation designed to resolve the conflict, providing some sort of popular legitimacy to these two processes clearly dominated by politico-military forces. The central argument of this article is that while civil society involvement in the peace and transitional processes was instrumental in resolving the conflict underpinning the second Congo war, it entrenched a legacy: the politicisation of the civil society movement as inaugurated in the early 1990s. Indeed, although ground-breaking, the direct involvement of civil society in the management of transitional institutions contributed to weakening its member organisations as many of their leaders were either directly recruited into existing political platforms or simply decided to establish their own political organisations and join active politics.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Civil War, History , Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: 'Local Needs Policing' is the hallmark of the Sierra Leone Police community policing model. This DIIS Policy Brief lays out ten key observations that may be helpful when police reform is established elsewhere in the Global South.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil Society, Crime, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Jeffrey Smith
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Jeffrey Smith is currently Program Officer at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights where he manages the organization’s advocacy projects that focus on sub-Saharan Africa. He collaborates closely with grassroots civic activists and journalists across the continent—and the world—to highlight pressing human rights concerns to a wider audience. Mr. Smith’s research and advocacy has covered Zimbabwe, The Gambia, Swaziland, and Kenya, among others. He appears frequently in media outlets as an expert commentator on African affairs, including on CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC, and Voice of America. Mr. Smith is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where he also received a master’s degree in international relations and was the university’s first recipient of its distinguished human rights graduate certificate.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil Society, Human Rights, Interview
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Gambia
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: “First, for civil society to continue to succeed it must have open, free, democratic space. I have followed closely the ongoing debate in Kenya around civil society and its regulation…. [A]ccountability and transparency are important for civil society organizations, just as they are for all others. But there are ways to achieve accountability and transparency that do not restrict or impede the vital work of civil society.… Regulation should embrace diversity. Regulation must not be used to silence opinions or stifle views that the powerful do not share…. We carry out extensive due diligence on all the organizations we partner with, to ensure that they are not being used for illicit purposes, such as terrorist financing. We have not seen any evidence to suggest Haki Africa’s activities pose a threat to national security or jeopardize Kenya’s efforts at combating terrorism.” –U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Robert F. Godec, June 5, 2015 The visit of President Obama to Kenya in July 2015—the first by a sitting U.S. president—is much anticipated in the country, which faces serious challenges, including poverty, terrorism, corruption, and abuses by state security forces. Kenya has yet to fully recover from large-scale violence following the 2008 election, when around 1,300 people were killed—including hundreds by the police—and half a million were displaced during a six-week period. Kenya also hosts around half a million refugees fleeing war in Somalia. The U.S. government has sought to help Kenya address its human rights problem with humanitarian, good governance, and security initiatives. Kenya is routinely among the top seven recipients of U.S. aid, getting hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Yet the United States should strengthen and sharpen its efforts to support Kenya. A reinvigorated approach, initiated by the President’s visit, would both improve the lives of Kenyans and serve U.S. interests by combating violent extremism. This report recommends actions the U.S. government should take to promote greater stability in Kenya and the region, and outlines in particular how the U.S. government should support Kenyan civil society. In 2010 Kenyan voters approved a new constitution, which contains strong human rights safeguards, protections for civil society, and judicial reforms. And it is in many ways a model of legal protection for human rights. It provides for the creation of several important bodies, including the National Gender Equality Commission—which is pushing for the implementation of article 81b of the constitution: “not more than two thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender”—and the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights. Unfortunately, these and other official entities set up under the constitution to protect rights are insufficiently resourced and politically weak. The government’s implementation of the constitution has generally not matched the promise of its text. It has attacked civil society groups and attempted to muzzle dissent, often in the name of counterterrorism. The 2013 Public Benefit Organizations (PBO) Act, a law designed to regulate and protect civil society, has yet to be implemented. On the positive side, parts of the Kenyan judiciary remain defiantly independent of government interference, something President Obama should praise during his trip. The Kenya section in the U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014 states: “The most serious human rights problems were security force abuses, including alleged unlawful killings, forced disappearances, torture, and use of excessive force; interethnic violence; and widespread corruption and impunity throughout the government…. Widespread impunity at all levels of government was a serious problem, despite public statements by the president and deputy president and police and judicial reforms. The government took only limited steps to address cases of unlawful killings by security force members.” That crackdown runs counter to President Obama’s insistence that stability and security require “freedom for civil society groups.” During his visit, President Obama should discuss the crackdown on civil society along with other pressing and sensitive issues: security cooperation, corruption, refugee protection, and the human rights of LGBT people.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Transparency
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, United States, Nairobi, East Africa
  • Author: Sarah Dryden-Peterson
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Sarah Dryden-Peterson, assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (GSE), has spent years investigating the dimensions of education in conflict settings. During her time at GSE, her mission has proved ever more important as conflicts intensifying in Syria, Iraq, Gaza, and Somalia both demand immediate action and provide new opportunities for exploration.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Education, Poverty, Children
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iraq, Middle East, Gaza, Syria, Somalia
  • Author: Filip Reyntjens
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: While post-genocide Rwanda’s decent technocratic governance has led to strong economic recovery and good public service provision, its political governance is deeply flawed and may destroy these achievements. The ruling RPF has solidly established hegemony by eliminating the political opposition and autonomous civil society, massively violating human rights, and killing well over hundred thousand of its own citizens, abusing the legal and justice systems, and deploying skillful information management. This article addresses the way in which this hegemonic project was conducted, how this relates to regime achievements in the economic sphere, and how tradeoffs between political and technocratic governance have kept the international community at bay.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Governance, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Rwanda
  • Author: Anne Applebaum
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: In the early part of the twentieth century, the small group of revolutionaries who became the Russian Bolsheviks developed an alternative theory of civil society. Burke, Tocqueville, and even Russian intellectuals believed that civil society was fundamental to democracy; Lenin believed that the destruction of civil society was crucial to totalitarian dictatorship. But by attempting to control every aspect of society, totalitarian regimes would eventually turn every aspect of society into a potential source of dissent, as in the cases of Czechoslovakia and Poland. Yet in many other societies heavily influenced by Soviet ideology—those in Belarus, Central Asia, China, Cuba, parts of Africa, and much of the Arab world—those in power remain attached to the old Bolshevik idea that independent civic institutions are a threat to the state.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Authoritarianism, Media, Repression, Dictatorship
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, Central Asia, Middle East, Asia, Cuba, North America, Belarus
  • Author: Marvis Zupork Dome
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: The post-2015 sustainable development discourse has emphasized the need for a more inclusive and participatory policy framework projecting the voices of the people in policy-making and implementation processes. Some commentators have argued that while the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have achieved some poverty reduction, the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should be better designed to enhance the living standards of the people. Yet not much has been done to create the necessary space for citizens’ voices to be heard. This paper argues for a more rigorous insistence on listening to citizens’ voices as part of the development policy process. It begins this listening through an analysis of the most urgent policy priorities of Africans, as expressed in Afrobarometer survey data from 34 African countries. Analyses of differences by region, income level, and human development level provide useful insights for the development discourse going forward.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Public Opinion, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Elisa Tarnaala
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: African Journal on Conflict Resolution
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: Fifteen years after the launch of the UN’s landmark resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, its recommendations concerning women as civil society actors, and women as victims of conflicts, have become part of a largely accepted and standardised guide for the international community and in many states. Fewer advances have been made with involving politically skilled women in high-level negotiations and understanding the wider processes of conflict mediation – where the basis for peace is crafted at different levels of society. This article offers insights on which issues should be taken into account regarding gender-based violence during mediation and suggests how a conflict context can be analysed from a perspective of gender and women. It also explores the issues that have dominated the agenda of peacemaking in West Africa in particular and across the continent, in order to provide real-world examples of peace and transitional processes where lessons can be learnt about addressing or failing to address gender-based violence. A transformative and inclusive peace process that changes conceptions of the status quo, fights gender-based violence, and includes women in post-conflict planning could remove many risks from women’s agency in post-conflict peace and security. It could gradually reform structural factors that constrain women’s participation.
  • Topic: Civil Society, United Nations, Women, Gender Based Violence , UN Security Council
  • Political Geography: Africa, Liberia, West Africa, Côte d'Ivoire
  • Author: Richard Youngs
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Politics in the Middle East are increasingly polarized and fragmented. The Arab Spring's citizen-led spirit of reform is still alive, but societies are increasingly torn apart by bitter tensions between Sunni and Shia, secular liberals and Islamists, and governments and civil society. As polarization has deepened, the concern with engaging in dialogue to bridge differences has intensified. The relationship between these mediation efforts and support for systemic reform will be a pivotal factor in the Middle East's future political trajectory.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Democratization, Islam, Regime Change, Governance, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Social accountability as a tool for development planning is gaining foothold in international donor circles. It is concerned with the responsibility and responsiveness of state authorities, as well as the ability of citizens to make claims and hold those who exercise power to account for their actions.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organization, Foreign Aid, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Nicolas Vercken, Surendrini Wijeyaratne
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The 2013 elections helped to restore constitutional order in Mali and marked the start of a period of hope for peace, stability and development. The challenge is now to respond to the Malian people's desire for improved governance.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Diplomacy, Gender Issues, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Rama Anthony
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: South Sudan is one of four Oxfam country projects delivering the Within and Without the State (WWS) programme, funded by DFID from 2011 to 2016 under the Conflict, Humanitarian and Security Programme Partnership Arrangement (CHASE PPA). WWS is piloting innovative approaches to working with civil society to promote more accountable governance in conflict - affected and fragile contexts – and is sharing the experience and learning within Oxfam and with the wider development world.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Michael Bratton, Richard Houessou
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: Africans express growing attachment to democracy according to citizen attitude surveys conducted by the Afrobarometer in 34 countries1. Seven out of ten Africans prefer democracy to other political regimes, and the proportion of deeply committed democrats (that is, those who also reject authoritarian alternatives) has risen steadily over the past decade. These insights run counter to an emerging view that the impetus for democratization on the African continent has stalled. Influential analysts have suggested recently that “political reform left Africa ‘too democratic’ given the level of income… [and] that the continent has begun to regress to its expected level… by becoming less democratic.” Others have pointed to a global trend of “democratic retreat” that is driven in Africa by China’s economic expansion and the Western security response to spreading Islamic jihad.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Authoritarianism, Democracy, Leadership
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Kei Otsuki, Weena Gera, David Mungai
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Since the 2000s, African cities have witnessed a series of interventions to improve water and sanitation. This policy brief outlines key lessons learned from the intervention experience, drawing on the UNU research project Multi-level Urban Governance for Total Sanitation (2011-2013) under the Education for Sustainable Development in Africa (ESDA) Project. It highlights the importance of multi-actor approaches for promoting: (1) an institutional framework to coordinate civil society organizations, community-based organizations, and the state agencies across levels; (2) policy recognition of water and sanitation as socially embedded infrastructure with gendered dimensions; and (3) the relevance of scientific research and university education to ongoing policy interventions.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Health, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Danielle Resnick
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: When, why and how has foreign aid facilitated, or hindered, democracy in recipient countries? Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, this policy brief examines the impact of foreign aid on supporting transitions from one-party to multi-party regimes, preventing democratic breakdown and the erosion of civil liberties, enhancing vertical and horizontal accountability, and enabling competitive political party systems. Particular attention is given to the trade-offs and complementarities between different types of foreign aid, namely democracy assistance and economic development aid. Select policy recommendations are offered to improve aid effectiveness at bolstering democratic trajectories within the region.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Economics, Human Rights, Political Economy, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Richard Downie
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The police are one of the most critical institutions of the state. This is particularly true in nations emerging from conflict, which are characterized by insecurity and high levels of crime. Without security, governments cannot begin rebuilding their economies and improving the lives of their citizens. As a result, they will continue to struggle for legitimacy, and a return to conflict will remain an ever-present risk. A nation's military has an important role to play in dealing with external threats and establishing basic security in the immediate aftermath of conflict, but the police are the institution best suited for dealing with internal security and addressing the safety needs of the public. For citizens, a police officer is the symbolic representation of state authority. Their view of the state and their acceptance of its authority are partially shaped by their interactions with the police.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Civil Society, Corruption, Crime
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Puntland is the first of Somalia's federal units to attempt transition from clan-based representation to directly-elected government, but poor preparations and last-minute cancellation of local elections in July underline the challenges of reconciling competing clan interests with a democratic constitution. Cancellation pragmatically averted violence, but societal tensions remain unaddressed. The presidential vote by a clan-selected parliament in January 2014 will thus be fraught. Weak political and judicial institutions will struggle to mediate, risking involvement by partisan arms of the state. Direct elections are no panacea for reducing the conflict risks, but hard-won incremental progress on the constitution and local democratisation must not be abandoned. The cancelled ballot's lessons should be instructive for promised elections in the rest of Somalia. Better technical preparations matter, but Puntland's experience shows that donors and other international actors also need to be heedful of local political realities, including support of elites, robustness of institutions and viability of electoral districts.
  • Topic: Security, Political Violence, Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Sebastian Elischer
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The effects of organized labor on regime change in developing countries are not clear‐cut. Optimists argue that union agitation is conducive to both democratic transition and consolidation processes. Pessimists hold that unions will support any regime that is conducive to their demands. Accordingly, unions may support regime transitions; however, once their economic interests are under threat, they will jeopardize the subsequent consolidation process. Systematic studies on the effects of organized labor on regime change in sub‐ Saharan Africa are sparse and largely confined to the (pre)transition phase. This article examines the role of organized labor in Niger between 1990 and 2010. Given the high number of regime breakdowns during the period, a longitudinal study of Nigerien labor enables a critical examination of motives and actions of organized labor toward different regime types. In contrast to other recent findings on African unionism, the article confirms the pessimistic view.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Regime Change, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Sharad Eldon Mahajan, Laura Kigali
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: What change(s) was this approach intending to influence through its leverage strategy? Oxfam's livelihoods work in Rwanda focuses on women's economic leadership in the horticulture sector. In making women an integral part of the supply chain, we hope to bring about long - term societal change, both facilitating development of the horticulture sector and improving the status of women. We seek to do this by working with and through partners such as the government, private sector, micro finance institutions (MFIs), and civil society, to leverage large - scale change through evidence - based advocacy.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Civil Society, Development, Gender Issues, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Mireille Affa'a-Mindzie
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: After the severe twin crises that nearly brought Mali to its knees in January 2012, the country is gradually recovering from their debilitating consequences. In August 2013, Mali successfully elected its new president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, thus putting an end to an eighteen-month-long transitional government that was put in place following the March 2012 coup. Even though the violence has abated and renewed hope seems to be in the air, the structural causes of the Malian conflict are still stubbornly present and their consequences are still being felt by neighboring Sahel countries that suffer from similar underlying ills. The situation in Mali and other concerned states in the region generated a renewed interest in the Sahel-Sahara region and in efforts to stabilize this region. This prompted the International Peace Institute, the Executive Secretariat of the Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel-Saharan Areas of Niger (SDS Sahel Niger), and the Centre for Strategies and Security for the Sahel Sahara (Centre 4S) to convene an international seminar on security and development in the Sahel-Sahara on February 15 and 16, 2013, in Niamey, Niger.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Development, Economics, Peace Studies, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  • Abstract: On 4 March Kenyans will vote in highly anticipated elections. These elections will be Kenya's first since widespread violence following the December 2007 presidential election shocked the country and world. The 2007/8 violence lasted two months, during which time 1,133 Kenyans were killed, over 600,000 driven from their homes and more than 110,000 private properties were destroyed. The stakes during the upcoming elections are high and, while not inevitable, there is a serious risk of a recurrence of widespread violence.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil Society, Democratization, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Governance
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: En dépit du fonctionnement régulier des institutions et du discours officiel vantant les progrès en matière de déve- loppement et de sécurité, le Burundi est en train de perdre les acquis de l'accord d'Arusha. En raison de l'impasse électorale de 2010, le système de partage du pouvoir conçu à Arusha a fait place à un monopartisme de fait qui se traduit par la fin du dialogu e entre l'opposition et le gouvernement, une dérive autorita ire et le retour de la vio- lence politique. Le respect de la minorité politique et de la règle de droit, essentiel à la démocratie, semble ignoré depuis 2010. Afin de pérenniser les acquis du processus de paix et la stabilité du pays, la classe politique burundaise doit renouer avec le dialogue, ga rantir le pluralisme poli- tique en vue des échéances électorales de 2015 et veiller à un processus de justice trans itionnelle consensuel. En rai- son de leur implication dans le processus de paix, l'importance de leur aide au Burundi et l'absence de bailleurs alternatifs, les partenaires internationaux actuels doivent mettre ces trois questions au centre de leur dialogue avec le gouvernement.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Corruption, Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Sebastian Elischer, Gero Erdmann, Alexander Stroh
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In the early 1990s most African countries carried out extensive reforms of their electoral regimes. Adopting a historical institutionalist approach, this paper critically examines the role of institutional path dependence in accounting for the setup of six African electoral regimes. For this purpose, we distinguish between different types of path dependence. The paper further analyzes the extent to which the development of electoral institutions contributed to the regime-type outcome (democratic/hybrid/autocratic). The main emphasis herein is on so-hybrid regimes;” in other words, regimes existing in the grey zone between democracy and autocracy. The paper finds that, while institutional path dependence has a limited but important impact on the setup of the electoral regimes, it is ultimately the process of decision-making during critical junctures that accounts for the regime type outcome. Hybrid regimes lack long-term institutional ownership.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Human Rights, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Nicoletta Pirozzi, Valérie Vicky Miranda, Kai Schäfer
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Joint Africa-European Union Strategy, adopted at the Lisbon Summit in December 2007, was intended to overcome an unequal partnership between the African and European continents by establishing a framework of cooperation based on shared values and common objectives. However, in the first implementation phase it became clear that these conditions were far from being fully realized. In particular, the Partnership on Peace and Security has shown a tendency to institutionalize dialogue and crystallize practices of cooperation along the well-established Brussels-Addis Ababa axis, while efforts to engage with other crucial actors remain to some extent limited. This paper focuses on the sub-optimal involvement of two crucial stakeholders, namely African regional organizations and civil society actors. It presents the main findings and policy recommendations of a study concluded by IAI in September 2012, with the support of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and the European Parliament.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Lars Buur, Obede Baloi, Carlota Mondlane Tembe
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Since the General Peace Accord (GPA) in 1992 ending the civil war and the first democratic elections in 1994, Mozambique has experienced a peaceful transition towards democracy, underpinned by successive rounds of local and national elections, which have been, if not totally free, then at least sufficiently free to be accepted by the international community. This, combined with sustained economic growth (Sousa and Sulemane 2007), a substantial decline in people living below the poverty line, relatively high levels of foreign direct investment (FDI) and very high and continued levels of foreign donor support has made Mozambique 'a success story' for the international donor community where few such stories seem available (Renzio and Hanlon 2006: 3). This has triggered continuous and generous levels of assistance and made Mozambique the ultimate 'donor darling'. But with the opening up of the rich natural resource endowment in energy, gas, oil and minerals to exploitation after Frelimo's election victory in 2009, the country stands at a critical juncture, with the potential to become donor-independent within the foreseeable future.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Political Economy, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: José Jaime Macuane
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Discussion of development strategies in Mozambique reveals three main perspectives on the role of elites in the policy process: donor dominance, political dominance over technocracy, and the emergence of non-state (economic and civil society) actors as players in the policy process, although still with a marginal role. These analyses tend to see the identity of these actors as monolithic and clearly identifiable. The identities condition the involvement of these actors in a set of dichotomous relations, such as politicians versus technocrats, donors versus internal actors, and state versus non-state actors. Based on this understanding, this paper analyses the role of elites in policy processes, focusing on elite formation and power relations in Mozambique in a context of an economically dependent country undergoing democratization. The paper shows that the dominant analyses of the role of the elites in the policy process in Mozambique overlook the process of elite formation, which contributes to the existence of multiple and overlapping elite identities in the policy process. In this regard, the paper concludes that, despite the emergence of new elites (economic, societal and bureaucratic) resulting from economic and political liberalization and as an aspect of pro-poor policies, the differentiation between these elitesis more apparent than real because of the strategies they have adopted to maintain their dominance in a context of the increasing importance of electoral politics. Further, the paper concludes that the political elite still dominates the process, even with donor dependence, but that nonetheless this dominance is being challenged by an erosion of legitimacy caused by the low effectiveness of the development strategies, reflected in increasing public contestation over government policies, which opens up a space for changes in the current pattern of elite relations.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Mireille Affa'a-Mindzie
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The popular uprisings in North Africa in 2011 and more recent crises in Mali and Guinea-Bissau have raised questions about the capacity of the African Union (AU) and the international community to successfully prevent violent conflicts in Africa. In Mali, the military coup in March 2012, which ousted President Amadou Toumani Touré, occurred only two days after a ministerial meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council was held in the capital Bamako to consider the situation in the Sahel region and the Tuareg rebellion in the northern part of the country. Less than a month later, the equally unforeseen crisis in Guinea-Bissau erupted while an ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council ministerial meeting was taking place in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, in April 2012. Against this backdrop, the International Peace Institute (IPI) hosted a roundtable discussion on early warning in partnership with the Permanent Missions of South Africa and Azerbaijan to the United Nations, both members of the United Nations Security Council at the time. The seminar, “Preventing Conflicts in Africa: The Role of Early Warning and Response,” was held on April 27, 2012, at IPI's Trygve Lie Center for Peace, Security, and Development in New York.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Political Violence, Civil Society, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Diplomatic Courier
  • Abstract: The Arab Spring has created significant challenges and unprecedented opportunities for NATO and its partners in the Mediterranean region. New security issues have emerged alongside new regimes and regional instability looms. State failure, civil conflict, and institutional collapse could present a number of major security threats, among them the creation of a refugee crisis affecting NATO members, increased illegal arms trafficking, and a breeding ground for militant groups in a Somali-like setting near European shores. These threats highlight the need for NATO to set up a plan for fostering regional stability and developing good relations with new and emerging leaders. The changing nature of regional security and Arab governance demands a multi-faceted approach which requires NATO to draw on expertise beyond its own, especially in empowering civil society and youth groups that are the cornerstone of sustainable democracy. Such new challenges require new partnerships and this memo intends to convey two core recommendations: restructure the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) to allow for a more incentivized and effective partnership, and partner with other institutional actors to enable NATO to offer a more comprehensive assistance package. NATO should play to its strengths while working with organizations that specialize in other tasks that are necessary to meet these goals. Only robust partnerships will allow NATO
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Civil Society, Refugee Crisis, Arab Spring
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Middle East, North America
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Six mois après la nouvelle victoire électorale du Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie et Forces de défense de la démocratie (CNDD-FDD), le Burundi s'enfonce dans une impasse politique qui pourrait se transformer en une crise majeure susceptible de remettre en cause dix ans de progrès. En effet, au lieu de consolider la démocratie, les élections communale, parlementaire et présidentielle de 2010 ont abouti à la marginalisation de l'opposition, au p assage dans la clandestinité des Forces nationales de libération (FNL) et à l'émergence d'une nouvelle rébellion. Combinée à un système de gouvernance faible, cette évolution pourrait conduire à un recul démocratique. Seul s le rétablissement du dialogue politique entre le gouvernement et l'opposition, la sortie de la clandestinité pour les FNL et le renforcement des institutions démocratiques sont de nature à inverser cette dangereuse évolution.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Politics, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The April 2011 general elections – if credible and peaceful – would reverse the degeneration of the franchise since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999, yield more representative and legitimate institutions and restore faith in a democratic trajectory. Anything similar to the 2007 sham, however, could deepen the vulnerability of West Africa's largest country to conflict, further alienate citizens from the political elite and reinforce violent groups' narratives of bad governance and exclusion. Flawed polls, especially if politicians stoke ethnic or religious divides, may ignite already straining fault lines, as losers protest results. Despite encouraging electoral preparations, serious obstacles remain. Many politicians still seem determined to use violence, bribery or rigging to win the spoils of office. In the remaining weeks, national institutions, led by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC), should redouble efforts to secure the poll's integrity, tackle impunity for electoral crimes, increase transparency and bolster safeguards, including by publicising results polling station by polling station and rejecting bogus returns.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Civil Society, Democratization, Human Rights, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Liberia's October 2011 general and presidential elections, the second since civil war ended in 2003, are an opportunity to consolidate its fragile peace and nascent democracy. Peaceful, free and fair elections depend on how well the National Elections Commission (NEC) handles the challenges of the 23 August referendum on constitutional amendments and opposition perceptions of bias toward the president's Unity Party (UP). The NEC, the government, political parties, presidential candidates, civil society, media and international partners each have roles to play to strengthen trust in the electoral process. They should fight the temptation to treat the elections as not crucial for sustaining the progress made since the civil war. But even after good elections five factors will be critical to lasting peace: a more convincing fight against corruption; deeper commitment to transforming Liberia with a new breed of reform-minded political players; sustained international engagement in supporting this more ambitious transformation; economic development; and regional stability, particularly in Côte d'Ivoire.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Political Economy, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Africa, Liberia
  • Author: Lorenzo Fioramonti, Patrick Kimunguyi
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Europe has been the privileged economic and political partner of Africa, but more recently China has increased its foothold in Africa through important financial investments and trade agreements. Against this backdrop, the empirical research conducted in 2007-08 in Kenya and South Africa as part of a pioneering international project investigates the perceptions of public opinion, political leaders, civil society activists and media operators. While confirming their continent's traditional proximity to Europe, African citizens are increasingly interested in China and its impact on Africa's development. Europe is criticised for not having been able to dismiss the traditionally 'patronising' attitude towards Africa. While African civil society leaders and media operators describe China as an opportunity for Africa to break free of its historical dependence on European markets, other opinion leaders warn against too much enthusiasm for the Asian giant. There is a suspicion that the Chinese strategy might, in the long run, turn into a new form of economic patronage.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Economics
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, China, Europe, Asia, South Africa
  • Author: Markus Virgil Hoehne
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Somalia has been without effective state institutions since 1991. Over the past two decades, moderately effective state-like institutions have been rebuilt in Somaliland and Puntland in northern Somalia, but they do not enjoy international recognition and are limited in power and scope. This text concentrates on the integration of non-state actors, particularly traditional authorities, during the process of state-formation in Somaliland. Arguably, this integration has brought about a hybrid political system that functioned quite well during the first years of existence of Somaliland. Hybrid political systems are currently of great interest in various African settings, including the possibility of integrating traditional authorities into (local) government in South Sudan. These systems, however, mix modes of legitimacy of different political actors in a way that, in the long run, either undermines the democratic capabilities of modern states or seriously damages the credibility and effectiveness of traditional authorities. Thus, hybrid political systems may be a way to stabilize politics in a transitory phase (e.g., after civil war or independence) but they are not the easy way out of the dilemma that state institutions in many African states are weak, have only a very limited outreach and in many regards lack popular legitimacy.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Civil Society, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Chris Newsom
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Neither Nigeria nor foreign donors are investing enough to end violent conflict in the Niger Delta. While Nigerian officials opt to buy short-term cease-fires, such as the 2009 amnesty process, other governments spend too little in money and manpower to grow local civil society, engage core conflict issues, or adequately understand the region's problems. All parties likewise fail to focus on deeper trends when planning their anticonflict strategies. This causes them to undervalue the potential costs of ongoing violence, as well as the importance of a peaceful Niger Delta to Nigeria's economic development and global energy security. A tragedy of the commons results. The situation in the delta remains fragile and will likely return either to intermittent conflict or full-blown insurgency within six to eighteen months if a "business as usual" approach is taken to interventions. The amnesty process opened a door for stabilization but did not reduce the long-term potential for violence or deal with root conflict issues. Governance is both at the heart of the conflict and the best place to seek solutions. To best help catalyze peace in the region, donors should invest heavily in democratization and learn lessons from a decade of setbacks and poor investment choices. International support for governance reform in the delta must start at the grass roots. The key is to lay a foundation to support and argue for better government practices higher up. Civil society is already having some success promoting accountability at the community level. Obstacles are high and progress is slow, making longer commitments from donors a must. Reformers in the Niger Delta also have operated too much in isolation. Local and international actors need a multilateral strategy allowing them to combine levers and use each other's momentum. They must ground this strategy in deeper analysis of the region's problems and a unified theory of change. Donors should also complement their support of governance reform in the delta with funding for innovative local development work. Ideas and best practices should be sought from other countries, with flexibility for keying in to promising government initiatives.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Civil Society, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Jok Madut Jok
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The government of South Sudan and its development partners appear to be heavily focused on state building and less so on nation building: the question of how to turn the young state into a nation in which all South Sudanese can see themselves represented.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Ethnic Conflict, Fragile/Failed State, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Sean Jacobs
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The New School Graduate Program in International Affairs
  • Abstract: The last two decades or so has seen an explosion of interest in the question of civil society and the role of media and information in democratic politics. Specifically for Africa, the development of strong civil societies is seen as vital for democratization and democratic stability and in thinking about the State. Much of the literature has a prescriptive tone, suggesting that the development of privately owned media enterprises is the key to the emergence of a fully functioning public sphere, in which government wrongdoing will be exposed and democratic debate can take place. In much of the writing, particularly by political scientists, dependence on the state is the main factor, along with resource constraints, lack of training, and inability to reach areas of the population that cripples media and its ability to nourish the free flow of ideas in civil society. However, this paper is less interested in how much we can expect from the kind of institutional reform implied by the scholarship mentioned above, but rather from the assumptions about the role of the state and the place of media in African politics. The paper will discuss these issues in the context of a very advanced and well-developed media system – that of democratic South Africa – to see how well it is fulfilling the expectation of this literature.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Dale Peskin
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: The connected society reached a milestone at the end of 2010: More than 4 billion people paid for mobile phone service. That's six of every 10 people on the planet. During a period of unprecedented technological innovation, the spread of a decades-old technology may seem like an obvious achievement. That is until you consider that the hand-held device has become the hub for thousands of innovations that are changing the way the world communicates.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Education, Science and Technology, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Africa, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Daniel Forti
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: This paper provides a comprehensive examination of Somaliland’s unusual development and current standing as a self-declared sovereign nation. Unlike Somalia, a state devastated by a perpetual twenty-year conflict, Somaliland boasts a growing civil society along with a relatively vibrant democracy and accountability to the Rule of Law. Since 1991, the region has become a pocket of security and stability, in absence of formal recognition, by creating government and societal institutions that strongly suit the values and needs of its people.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Democracy, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somaliland