Dr. Kojo P. Asante, Director of Programs and Advocacy, Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) reiterated that citizens’ access to information is an essential ingredient for consolidating good governance.
He noted that among the challenges to governance in Africa was the lack of citizens’ access to information and data.
Dr Asante said so in Accra at the opening of a five-day “Stakeholder Engagement on Governance, Democracy and Human Rights in Africa”.
The project, led by Afrobarometer (AB), in collaboration with four other institutions – the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) and Laws Africa, seeks to strengthen the implementation of the Africa Governance Program (AGP) on democracy, governance and the human rights agenda.
The project, which is funded by the European Union, aims to promote data-driven advocacy and engagements among Pan-African Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and members of the African Governance Platform (AGP).
Through Afrobarometer surveys, the D4GA project would produce data on African citizens’ perceptions on a number of governance issues, including human rights, women’s and youth rights, corruption, and security.
This is the first of three convocations scheduled for 2022. The second convocation would take place in Cape Town, South Africa from October 3-7, and the last would be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from October 17-21.
Dr Asante said that the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 and the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals share a citizen centered approach to governance, however, this was questioned by declining coverage, quality and frequency of publicly available data for key data categories. in Africa.
In addition to this, there was a lack of awareness and visibility of the AGP Agenda and efforts to promote it.
He said that CSOs often face difficulties in accessing information on African Union platforms and processes, and compliance with AGP protocols is also hampered by a lack of transparency and access to information. information.
“This project and its planned activities aim to address these barriers to CSO actions and the success of AGP in pursuing its agenda.”
He said that over the decades progress in democracy, good governance and respect for human rights across Africa had been stalled at best and, as reported by Afrobarometer, the Foundation Mo Ibrahim and Freedom House, there were concerns about backsliding in many countries.
Dr Asante said these concerns had been heightened as governments continued to claim extraordinary powers under the guise of responding to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges of violent extremism.
He said the World Justice Project’s 2020 Rule of Law Index shows that 65% of countries in sub-Saharan Africa scored below the median, and there was less and less space for legal remedies to protect human rights since the dissolution of the Southern African Development Community Tribunal. , and the weakening of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
He recalled that CDD-Ghana and more than 30 West African CSOs had just launched a transnational platform known as the West African Democracy Solidarity Network (WADEMOS) last Thursday ( September 15).
He said WADEMOS sought to mobilize pro-democracy CSOs and civic groups to counter the backsliding of democracy.
He said WADEMOS Secretariat staff would help increase their knowledge and acquire additional skills to help CSOs work together to advocate and promote democratic development in Africa.
Dr. Asante therefore expressed optimism that they were already on track to achieve the goal of the project and that of D4GA.