Bringing Government and Citizens Together Focus of IRI Panel at Africities Summit

Panelists look at solutions to the lack of democratic governance in Africa.Bringing government and citizens together was the focus of a panel discussion hosted by IRI during the sixth Africities Summit in Dakar, Senegal.  The panel looked for solutions to the lack of democratic governance in Africa and how the development and stability of African countries requires a greater emphasis on principles of democratic governance.

Panelists developed a list of recommendations that will become a part of a larger set of recommendations from the more than 100 sessions that took place during the summit.  The recommendations were:

The discussion opened with panelists from Ghana, Kenya and Senegal highlighting specific initiatives in their respective countries, described lessons learned and challenges they still face and their plan to address those problems in the future. 

Hamisi Omari Mboga, the Secretary General of the Association of Local Government Authorities of Kenya; and Tubman Otieno Ochogo, a Town Clerk for the city of Mombasa, Kenya, discussed how citizen participation is embedded in Kenya’s constitution and stressed the importance of participation in ensuring accountable, effective, equitable and transparent governments. 

Kofi E. Taylor-Appiah, a Metro Development Planning Officer with the Tema Metropolitan Assembly in Tema, Ghana, highlighted the need for governments to communicate important information, particularly regarding budgetary facts, in language or graphics that the average citizen can understand easily. 

Binete Ndiaye IRI staff talk to summit participants about the Institute's democratic governance programs.Mbengue, with the Forum Civil in Dakar, Senegal, described an innovative citizen evaluation program, Citizen Certification, which allows self-organized groups of citizens to evaluate the performance of their local government using 38 clear and specific indicators.   

Additionally, IRI sponsored a booth in the Africities Exhibition hall, where IRI staff were available to discuss the Institute’s work on democratic governance programs in sub-Saharan Africa and around the world.  The exhibition hosted international aid agencies, nongovernmental organizations and companies to share information and expertise on improving local government’s capacity to govern more effectively.

The Africities Summit and Exhibition are organized by the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa and is held every three years.  These events are an opportunity for African local governments, local government associations, nongovernmental organizations, international aid agencies and other stakeholders to discuss important topics related to the empowerment of local government.

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