Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

Commitment of 0uagadougou
24 October 2007

Context of the Forum

In the framework of the United Nations System special Initiative for Africa, UNDP and the UNECA initiated the Africa Governance Forum (AGF) in 1997. The main objective of the Forum is to gather African leaders, representatives of the private sector, civil society organisations and other stakeholders in Africa (including leaders of Africa development partners) to share their views and experiences on the key challenges and opportunities to the promotion of good governance in Africa.

Six sessions of AGF have been held since its launching. Between the first session held in Addis Ababa in 1997 and the sixth one held in Kigali in 2006, AGF discussed several themes:

Following the sixth session which stressed the central character of the State in building good governance for the purpose of development, and upon invitation of His Excellency Blaise Compaoré President of Faso, the 7th Africa Governance Forum was held in Ouagadougou on 24 – 26 October 2007.

This 7th Forum was attended by high level representatives from 32 countries and fifteen international institutions including AfDB, UNECA and UNDP.

  • State of the Art of Governance and topics discussed by the Forum

    • Constitutional reforms, media, capacity building and decentralisation;
    • Accountability and transparency;
    • Good governance and conflict management;
    • Parliamentary process contribution to good governance in Africa, local governance and poverty reduction in Africa;
    Implementation of the African Peer Review Mechanism: challenges and opportunities.

    After drawing up a statement of the art on good governance for the purpose of development, the participants noted that since the 60s, African countries have been simultaneously confronted with the daunting task of constructing the nation and the State, ensuring the political management, economic and social development as well as structural transformation. One of the main causes of mitigated results identified in this quest for the improved welfare of African people is the weakness of African countries’ institutional and human capacities. While admitting the remarkable progress made in the continent towards a better welfare of the populations, the participants dwelt on the following main themes stemming from the experiences presented in the national reports, namely:

    1. Redefining the role of the State and Africa’s development challenges;
    2. Enhancing institutional and human capacity for improved public sector performance;
    3. State legitimacy and leaderships development;
    4. Enhancing local governance through decentralisation;
    5. The role of non state actors;
    6. State capacity in the context of globalization;
    7. The role of women in building State capacity.

  • Participants considerations on the main issues. The participants are:

    The participants deemed that it is important to consider challenges at all levels relating to:

    1. Democracy and governance taking into account the need for improved electoral processes and systems, improved mechanisms of population participation, higher emphasis on parliamentary processes and judiciary system, respecting human rights and the rule of the law;
    2. Peace and security, promoting reconciliation as a strategy for peace building and stability, preventing, managing and resolving conflicts, reconstruction, security sector reforms and re-establishing normal constitutional life.
    3. The efficient delivery of basic services, stimulating fair growth and the development of infrastructures such as roads, telecommunications and means of production and the provision of energy.
    4. Economic governance through the establishment or consolidation of appropriate institutions and their improved management, promoting transparent public contracting systems, the rational and transparent management of natural resources and the environment;
    5. Social commitment, involving civil society and media promotion, as well as support to vulnerable groups such as the youth and the handicapped;
    6. Globalisation, through the attraction of direct foreign investments, taking advantage of ICTs and improving growth management;
    7. Gender issues, improving women’s representation and participation in institutions and political processes, their access to economic and social resources and the lifting of socio cultural constraints which impede their development.

  • The Ouagadougou consensus

    Following fruitful discussions, participants came up with a consensus on building the Capable State in Africa.

    Thus, it was agreed:

    1. to encourage African governments to work toward the consolidation of the rule of the law, mainly through the efficiency, integrity and independence of the judicial system;
    2. to urge African governments to take initiatives and decisions in a participatory and inclusive manner to increase State legitimacy and sustainability.
    3. to reinforce moral integrity as well as intellectual and professional capacities, so much in the field of leadership as well as in the management of public affairs.
    4. to prepare future generations to become responsible citizens through suitable education;
    5. invite African governments to consider good governance as being the guarantor of public system stability and likely to provide better opportunities to all citizens in order to develop and improve their living conditions;
    6. to invite technical and financial partners to increase Public Development Aid as an additional required means for African States to undertake essential reforms:
    7. to work toward the reinforcement of regional economic integration, to better take advantage of the globalisation process:
    8. to take the require measures to engage and consolidate the decentralisation process, focussing on the effective transfer of the required competencies and resources to local governments;
    9. to create a conducive environment for the development of the non state actors’ capacities in view of their effective participation to the emergence and consolidation of a Capable State;
    10. to ensure gender streamlining in the process of building the Capable State in Africa;
    11. to promote good governance in the field of environment because of its impact on development and therefore encourage relevant actions involving communities at the international, regional, national and local levels.

  • Monitoring mechanism

    The participants to the 7th Africa Governance Forum strongly wish that the Heads of States would take ownership of the Ouagadougou commitment:

    To this end, they kindly request Their Excellencies President Blaise Compaore and Président Paul Kagame, to be their spokesman at the Heads of States Conference and the Commission of the African Union, for them to facilitate its implementation and monitoring.

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