Effective Governance in Challenging Environments

The “Africa rising” narrative has gained traction in recent years. But who, exactly, is rising? While statistics point to a continent whose fortunes have improved, many African citizens remain at the margins of socioeconomic development.

And as recent citizen uprisings on the continent demonstrate, growth without effective democratic governance cannot ensure peace and stability.

This report argues that Africa will only live up to the “rising” narrative if it can strengthen its systems of governance, promote inclusive development, and embed a culture of democracy and peace. It examines the obstacles to effective governance in challenging environments—from identity crises to poor natural resource management—and presents five country case studies that illustrate their effects.

Exploring African responses to these challenges, the authors outline progress and setbacks in developing frameworks for effective governance and strengthening institutions at regional, national, and local levels. They offer a number of recommendations for the African Union, its member states, and others to enhance democracy, bridge the divide between governance standards and performance, and promote effective governance from the ground up.

Effective Governance in Challenging Environments is a joint undertaking by the African Union and the International Peace Institute.

The launch of this publication was held at IPI on December 12, 2014.