Good Governance Africa engages in research programmes and projects to produce useful fact-based knowledge and resources, from books, research reports, and occasional papers, to insightful stories published in Africa in Fact and key statistics in our Africa Survey.
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Visit the Online Store for access to articles in the Africa in Fact journal and valuable economic, political and social indicators in the Africa Survey.
Our programmatic work and projects cover these key areas:
Child development & youth formation
Africa is home to almost 200 million people aged between 15 and 24. The continent has the youngest population in the world. Against this backdrop, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 12% of youth unemployment. South Africa, for example, has a staggering youth unemployment rate of 52.6%, four times the world average at 13%.
To move the continent in a positive direction where the youth can drive development and productively participate in society, interventions that focus on critical child development issues, youth formation and leadership training are essential for an empowered youth population in Africa.
Africa holds about 30% of the earth’s remaining mineral resources. The continent contains the largest reserves of precious metals such as gold and platinum. Governance and long-term sustainability are critical considerations if the people living on the continent are to benefit from these natural resources.
The natural resources programme focuses on measures to sustainably manage this natural capital, highlighting progress, shortcomings and policy recommendations for change.
Local governance and grassroots democracy
What is the relation between governance and grassroots democracy? Based on the democratic notion that political power rests in the hands of the people, good governance means citizens have an active voice in how they are governed, there is agency and democratic participation by citizens, civil society and political structures.
As part of our work on local governance, we commissioned a nationally representative survey on the perceptions of national government in South Africa and devised rankings for all of South Africa’s 234 local and metropolitan municipalities – the Government Performance Index (GPI). For more on the Survey and GPI visit the Research Outputs Library.
Recently, Africa has experienced an increased growth in criminal syndicates and extremist movements evolving into transnational groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), White extremists, and Al Qaeda and affiliates amongst others. The programme seeks to understand the significance of such movements and their enabling conditions, in relation to the communities and popular cultures within which they operate and embed themselves. The programme aims to determine how improvements in governance could help mitigate the risk posed by these groups.
Our current project on national security and terrorism in Africa is under way and all project-related resources will be made available in the Research Library.
Ethical values and spirituality
The importance of ethical practices and values has been highlighted as a core pillar of governance across different spaces and sectors in society. To foster a culture of good ethics aligned with the principles of good governance, we work with civil society and faith-based organisations to look at governance issues and ways to address these through ethical practices and spirituality.
As the pre-eminent Centre of Excellence working to improve governance in the country, GGA-Nigeria’s activities are organised around three core thematic pillars that reflect Nigeria’s most pressing challenges and opportunities:
Improving the business environment BIZ-ENV PROGRAMME
This programme will cover analysis of “software” issues that currently constrain well-functioning markets and dynamic business sectors in Nigeria. These include business regulations, institutions and other determinants of private sector growth and shared economic prosperity. It will proffer policy alternatives to help address constraints and unleash Nigeria’s economic potentials. Priority themes will include enhanced corporate governance, competitiveness and corporate sustainability and responsibility. It will lead pioneering research on standardised reporting and transparent accounting for government and business.
Extractives, power & oil sector reform EXT-REF PROGRAMME
This programme is concerned with reform of Nigeria’s extractive industries (oil and gas, and the re-emerging mining sector), which together constitute the primary, lifeline sources of government revenue, even though the overall share of extractives has shrunk significantly to just over 10% of Nigeria’s increasingly diversified economy. Addressing challenges in this “hardware” sector, such as inefficiency, leakages and a Petroleum Industries Bill that has languished in parliament will be major concerns to be addressed within this work strand. Also, how the reform of taxation and overall fiscal provisions in these sectors can help Nigeria recalibrate its focus from ‘Gas-for-Export’ to ‘Gas-to-Power’ projects will be key themes for the programme.
Enabling innovation & sustainability drivers INN-SUS PROGRAMME
This programme aims to uncover and upscale successful governance innovations by connecting them to sources of technical and financial support. It will work to unearth successful governance experiments and tested local models of sustainable transformation. By helping to “tell the story”, this programme hopes to help turn evidence-led innovations into replicable solutions that can in time be applied and scaled-up across all of Nigeria’s 36 states. The programme will pay particular attention to locally-inspired accountability frameworks, youth, gender and empowerment, climate innovations, as well as agricultural development and catalysts at all levels of government in Nigeria.
In 2016-17, GGA-Nigeria experts will focus on consolidating our work in the three core thematic pillars, while expanding our expertise in other complementary areas. GGA-Nigeria will continue to hone its niche as an authoritative voice, adding clear value to evidence-based policy formulation, implementation and governance reform in Nigeria.
Protection of persons and their rightfully acquired property is a central element of economic freedom. Security of property rights, protected by the rule of law, provides the foundation for both economic freedom and the efficient operations of markets.
As part of our work in the region, GGA West Africa will conduct various research projects into existing laws protecting the rights of private properties and to find out whether these laws and regulations are enough, whether they are properly enforced and if the presence or the absence of these laws are attracting private initiatives in this region or not.
Educational attainment and industry
Quality education means the ability of the educational system to produce graduates who have skills compatible with what the production and service sectors of the country need. Tertiary education plays a crucial and leading role in this direction. It is expected of the tertiary institutions to be innovative and research-oriented in the development and revision of their curricula and training methods to reflect the needs of the job market.
In-depth and empirical research would be carried out into tertiary institutions such as the polytechnics and the universities. The core aim is to find out if both private and public sectors recruit skilled persons from Ghana’s tertiary education after completion in unfamiliar operational environments. Our work will focus on a review into the educational policies of tertiary education in Ghana and develop a model to be in conformity with the job market. While also looking at how literacy and numeracy could be strengthened to bolster the informal sector, contribute towards economic transformation and sustainability.
Taxation and tax administration
Public financial resources cannot be well managed without the concept of taxation, which is imperative in every economy for the formulation and administration of fiscal policies. GGA West Africa aims to add value to the overarching taxation regulations and reformation. Research questions such as corruption linking tax services in Ghana will be answered to inform policy makers’ decisions on taxation. There will also be an inquiry into how taxpayers perceive taxation and development in Ghana. Sensitisation and capacity building programmes will also be employed for citizens to appreciate taxation cultures and its importance for growth in an economy.
Business and repatriation of funds
Attracting foreign direct investment continues to be a priority for many African governments. Most of these countries are facing infrastructure funding gaps. Ghana for example, currently has an infrastructure funding gap of $1.5 billion. Most of these governments have therefore maintained the encouragement of foreign investment in their respective countries as an integral part of their economic policy.
Foreigners who plan to invest and do legitimate business in any country would like to ensure the security of their investment and their profit. They would invest only when they are assured that they can repatriate their profits to their home countries. Meanwhile, any host country would also like to ensure that business activities in their countries are legitimate and profits are being repatriated according to existing laws. GGA West Africa will look into the various regulations covering how foreign businesses are regulated and protected in the region.
Many years after the establishment of the Economic of West African States (ECOWAS), intra-regional trade is still low despite the existence of several mechanisms relating to the free movement of persons and goods, elimination of customs duties and the institutionalisation of regional trade fairs.
Many opportunities abound and could be exploited to increase wealth in the region. The current context of globalisation and multilateral negotiations requires appropriate treatment of the issue to enable the region to conquer its own internal market.GGA will look at the various existing ECOWAS protocols and treaties on trade and how these are promoting or hindering trade among countries in the region under review. The rules governing indigenous vis-à-vis foreign businesses to ascertain to what extent are these being applied and enforced; as well as the processes in the acquisition of licenses to do business in Ghana and whether this is encouraging or discouraging legitimate investors.
Land administration and governance
There has been a surge in large acquisition of land in Ghana for the past decade both from foreign and local investors. These vast lands have been used for a myriad of commercial, industrial and residential activities such as agriculture, mining (legal and illegal), real estate development, and shopping centers. There are considerable negotiations and transactions for the sale of large masses of land in Ghana. The question is that, are these transactions impeding the country’s development or improving upon the status quo?
Furthermore many investors go through serious injustices and distress during the process of land acquisition for urban development. Do these bottlenecks and injustices deter or promote investors? Urban development in Ghana is one of the crucial strategies for economic freedom for the country’s populace. However the processes and outcomes of the acquisition is not a win-win situation for all especially the local people.
GGA will look into the processes surrounding land acquisition and administration in Ghana, especially how the institutions mandated to oversee these processes are doing their work.