Building Institutional Capacity for Governance by hedongchenchen


                     n the early years of independ-     with improved salaries for those who
                     ence African countries made a      would remain in service. But Gelasi
                     deliberate effort to build human   Mutahaba has observed:
                capacity. They established schools,
Building        health facilities, and universities       One singularly significant
Institutional   dedicated to producing the human          shortcoming was the conspicu-
Capacity for    skills that the newly established         ous absence of effective pay
Governance      states needed. Education was recog-       and incentives reform, which
                nized as the bedrock of the future,       remain critical to sustainable
                producing the human capital to meet       capacity building. Conse-
                the needs of the continent.               quently, morale and discipline
                                                          in the public service remained
                The policy shift by international         low, and unethical conduct in
                financial institutions in the 1980s       ways of bribery and corrup-
                de-emphasized the value of univer-        tion were on the rise. In the
                sities and pressured governments to       circumstances, service deliv-
                invest less in higher education. As       ery continued to deteriorate in
                universities decayed, many trained        most countries throughout the
                professionals left for greener pas-       1990s (Mutahaba 2002, 12).
                tures. Between 1986 and 1996, of
                the 1,708 Africans awarded PhDs in      A need for new capacities was driv-
                U.S. and Canadian universities, only    en by the shift to market economies
                687 returned to Africa (ECA n.d.-b).    and to programs of economic growth
                And the emergence of oppressive         led by the private sector, demands
                military and authoritarian regimes      for transparency and accountabil-
                accelerated the brain drain, leav-      ity as part of good governance, the
                ing many universities in dire need of   emerging global market and the
                human and financial resources to run    advent of information technology.
                even skeletal programs.                 Despite many efforts, the capaci-
                                                        ty-building challenges for African
                The structural adjustment programs      countries continue to persist. The
                of the World Bank and International     capacity deficit remains one of the
                Monetary Fund also had a devas-         major constraints to putting Africa
                tating effect on the morale of civil    on the path to accelerated growth
                servants. Governments were forced       and sustainable development. It is
                to reduce the public service, and       the critical missing link in Africa’s
                many civil servants lost their means    development and democratization.
                of livelihood. The freeze in recruit-
                ment that was subsequently insti-       Human development entails enor-
                tuted directly undermined capac-        mous socioeconomic transfor-
                ity building for service delivery and   mation, requiring the building
                severely undermined the caliber of      of the appropriate capacities to
                the civil service.                      ensure its achievement (Mohid-
                                                        din 2007). African governments
                The downsizing strategy promised        have recently launched capacity-
                a “lean and muscular civil service”     building initiatives such as the New

                                                                                              African Partnership for Develop-
        Box 8.1 Definitions of capacity development                                           ment (NEPAD) and the African
                                                                                              Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
        1.   “Capacity building is the ability of individuals, groups, institutions and       NEPAD promotes sustainable
             organisations to identify and solve development problems over time”              human development, eradication
             (Peter Morgan 1996).                                                             of poverty, continental and politi-
                                                                                              cal integration and global competi-
        2.   Capacity development is a concept which is broader than organisational           tiveness. APRM is a mechanism
             development since it includes an emphasis on the overall system, envi-           to promote the political, social and
             ronment or context within which individuals, organisations and societies         economic objectives of NEPAD and
             operate and interact (and not simply a single organisation (UNDP 1998).          ensure that participating countries
                                                                                              observe its principles and practices.
        3.   Capacity development is “any system, effort or process . . . which               To achieve NEPAD’s objective of
             includes among its major objectives strengthening the capability of              promoting sustainable human devel-
             elected chief executive officers, department and agency heads and pro-           opment, it is necessary to mobi-
             gramme managers in general purpose government to plan, implement,                lize human and material resources
             manage or evaluate policies, strategies or programs designed to impact           and forge cooperation and partner-
             on social conditions in the community” (Cohen 1993).                             ship between government and civil
                                                                                              society organisations (CSOs) at the
        4.   “Capacity is the combination of people, institutions and practices that          national and international levels.
             permits countries to reach their development goals. . . . Capacity build-
             ing is . . . investment in human capital, institutions and practices” (World     The African Governance Forum
             Bank 1998).                                                                      (AGF) that convened at Kigali,
                                                                                              Rwanda, in May 2006 (AGF VI)
        5.   Capacity building is any support that strengthens an institution’s ability       recognized that capacity is key to
             to effectively and efficiently design, implement and evaluate development        ensuring good governance and the
             activities according to its mission (UNICEF-Namibia 1996).                       delivery of services. It dedicated its
                                                                                              next forum, AGF VII, to issues of
        6.   “Capacity building is a process by which individuals, groups, institutions,      capacity building for development
             organisations and societies enhance their abilities to identify and meet         and the building of the capable state.
             development challenges in a sustainable manner (CIDA 1996).                      From AGF VII, which convened
                                                                                              at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in
        7.   Capacity development: “The process by which individuals, groups,                 October 2007, a consensus emerged
             organisations, institutions and societies increase their abilities: to perform   that African governments must
             functions solve problems and achieve objectives; to understand and deal          address capacity of the institutions
             with their development need in a broader context and in a sustainable            of governance so that they can deliv-
             manner” (UNDP 1997).                                                             er services efficiently, effectively,
                                                                                              equitably and predictably.
        8.   Capacity strengthening is an ongoing process by which people band sys-
             tems, operating within dynamic contexts, enhance their abilities to devel-       What is capacity building?
             op and implement strategies in pursuit of their objectives for increased         Capacity building—or “capac-
             performance in a sustainable way” (Lusthaus et al. 1995).                        ity development”, the term wide-
                                                                                              ly used in the 1990s—has been
        Source: From Lusthaus et al. 1999, 3.                                                 defined in varying ways by differ-
                                                                                              ent development agencies. Some
                                                                                              use narrow definitions that focus

242   African Governance Report II
on strengthening organisations and
skills, while others use a broader           Box 8.2 Key capacity notions and elements at three levels
definition that encompasses levels of                of capacity development
capacity from the individual to the
whole society. Box 8.1 is a sample            Level of
of definitions from individuals and           capacity        Notion of capacity        Elements of capacity
organisations.                                Individual      The will and ability      Knowledge, skills, values,
                                                              to set objectives and     attitude, health, awareness.
Generally defined, capacity build-                            achieve them using
ing is the ability of people, institu-                        ones own knowledge
tions and societies to perform func-                          and skills.
tions, solve problems and set and             Organisation    Anything that will        Human resources
achieve objectives. To be success-                            positively influence      (capacities of individuals in
ful, capacity development needs to                            organisational            organisations).
take place on the individual, insti-                          performance.
                                                                                        Physical resources (facilities,
tutional and societal levels (box
                                                                                        equipment, material, etc.)
8.2). At the individual level capacity
                                                                                        and capital.
development relates to the knowl-
edge, skills, values and ability of                                                     Intellectual organisational
a person to perform set tasks in                                                        resources (organisational
a conducive environment. At the                                                         strategy, strategic planning,
organisational level it suggests the                                                    business know-how,
resources—human, material, physi-                                                       production technology,
cal and technological—available to                                                      program management).
perform organisational responsibili-                                                    Leadership of managers.
ties effectively. At the societal level       Environment     A conducive               Formal institutions (laws,
it involves the formal institutions,                          environment-political,    policies, ordinances).
rules, procedures, processes and                              legal, economic,
social and human infrastructures                                                        Informal institutions
                                                              social and cultural
available for achieving collective                                                      (customs, culture, norms).
                                                              promotive of individual
goals defined by that society.                                and organisational        Social capital, social
                                                              performance.              infrastructure.
There are some core principles to
guide effective capacity development         Source: Adapted from UNESCO-IICBA 2006, 6.
at the organisational or societal level:
ownership, sustainability, participa-
tion, mobilization of local resources      dynamic interactions between the
and change processes. All capac-           people managing the institution and
ity development efforts and training       the laws, rules, norms and traditions
must be geared toward better per-          of the institution. The performance
formance of an institution or society      of the people will be determined by
in an inward looking, sustainable          three factors: availability of support-
manner (see box. 8.3).                     ive infrastructures, equipment and
                                           financial resources; their technical
The capacity of an institution             skills and professional competence
is essentially the product of the          and their commitment and integrity

                                                                         Building Institutional Capacity for Governance   243
                                                                                             visions and values and creates an
        Box 8.3 Principles of effective capacity development                                 environment for human and insti-
                                                                                             tutional enhancement. Likewise,
        Ownership. The people or organisation for which a capacity building project is       capacity-building efforts must nec-
        meant must claim it, own it and drive it. Externally driven capacity development     essarily be long-term and systemic.
        programmes are often fraught with tensions and contradictions and may not be         An evaluation of World Bank sup-
        durable.                                                                             port for capacity building in Africa
        Sustainability. In crafting capacity building programmes adequate attention
        and strategic planning should be focused on its sustainability.                         The evaluation’s findings
                                                                                                underscore the importance of
        Participation. Capacity development programmes must be participatory, espe-             approaching capacity build-
        cially for its recipients. Improving knowledge and skills, changing organisation-       ing in Africa as a core objec-
        al culture and introducing modern techniques in institutions should be based            tive and ensuring that capacity
        on the active involvement of the major stakeholders of those projects.                  building support is country-
                                                                                                owned, results-oriented and
        Mobilization of local resources. Capacity development premised on external              evidence-based. The challeng-
        resources, whether human or material, is not sustainable. For capacity devel-           es to improving public-sector
        opment to be indigenous, it must mobilize local resources in order to gain              performance in Africa—posed
        commitment.                                                                             by political and institutional
                                                                                                characteristics, weak incen-
        Change process. Capacity development must be a change process. Ulti-                    tives, poor working con-
        mately, it should change the actions, processes and culture of an individual or         ditions and emigration of
        organisation for better performance. This requires clear distillation of issues of      highly skilled professionals—
        capacity for whom, for what and in whose interests.                                     necessitate the priority of
                                                                                                long-term efforts (World Bank
                                                                                                2005, xvii).
                                             in observing the rules and regula-
                                             tions, norms and conventions of the             Capacity deficits in Africa
                                             institution (Mohiddin 2007).                    When they achieved independence,
                                                                                             many African countries inherited
                                             In essence, capacity building is about          weak and inefficient governance
                                             people, who have to be trained,                 institutions, designed to serve colo-
                                             equipped, sufficiently remunerated              nial interests but of little value for
                                             and adequately motivated in the                 post-independent states. From the
                                             efficient uses and management of                beginning, the new African states
                                             resources. It should also be recog-             needed to build capacity. But poli-
                                             nized that capacity building is more            cies of the development donors did
                                             than a technical exercise. It is rooted         not have a positive impact on capac-
                                             in the political economy as well as             ity building because they lacked
                                             the legal and cultural traditions of            internal ownership.
                                             the country, and any durable capac-
                                             ity building must take those fac-               Authoritarian rule in many African
                                             tors into account. Equally important            countries in the early years of inde-
                                             for capacity development is leader-             pendence resulted in weak institu-
                                             ship that articulates strong national           tional capacity building and further

244   African Governance Report II
undermined the already weak capac-      of this support has been directed
ity bequeathed by colonial rulers.      toward the public sector.
Military governments undermined
institutions of good governance,        How well has the World Bank‘s
namely, the constitution, political     money been used? A Bank evalua-
parties, the media and the judiciary.   tion report noted: “[D]espite sub-
Finally, the structural adjustment      stantial progress in reforming the
programs of the Bretton Woods           overall policy environment in the
institutions in the 1980s under-        developing world and the steady
mined the capacity of public insti-     improvement in the quality of
tutions in health and education, as     project lending, development out-
well as the civil service and public    comes are still falling short of expec-
enterprises (ECA 2005).                 tations, especially in Africa. Much
                                        of this shortfall is attributable to lag-
In the last few decades a great deal    ging capacity development” (World
of resources has been committed         Bank n.d., 1). This suggests that
to building capacity in Africa. The     capacity-development initiatives and            Technical
World Bank, the African Devel-          strategy of the international devel-            assistance
opment Bank, the United Nations         opment partners in Africa have been             programs fill
Development Programme, the              either inappropriate or ineffective in
                                                                                    capacity gaps
Economic Commission for Afri-           scaling up Africa’s capacity to the
ca, the Organisation for Economic       required level for better economic          rather than build
Cooperation and Development and         management and performance. On              sustained country
many governments under bilateral        the World Bank’s role, the report           capacity. Thus they
arrangements have been among the        further noted that “the Bank’s sup-         did not often lead
major players in advocating for, pro-   port for capacity building in Africa        to improved and
moting or funding capacity building     remains less effective than it could
                                                                                    sustained public-
initiatives.                            be” (World Bank 2005, viii).
                                                                                    sector performance
Almost a quarter of the US$55 bil-      In many respects technical assist-
lion of total annual overseas devel-    ance measures and training have
opment assistance is directed to        been found wanting. Technical
capacity building, mainly through       assistance programs fill capacity
technical assistance. The World         gaps rather than build sustained
Bank has also been a major provider     country capacity. Thus they did
of resources for capacity building by   not often lead to improved and sus-
supporting a wide range of interven-    tained public-sector performance
tions through its country lending       because they failed to apply the tools
and non-lending programs and dedi-      within a broad framework of human
cated corporate and regional enti-      resource management and link them
ties. “Between 1995 and 2004, the       to organisational and institutional
Bank provided some $9 billion in        developments.
lending and close to $900 million in
grants and administrative budget to     Seeing that the numerous train-
support capacity building in Africa”    ing interventions and other capac-
(World Bank 2005, vii). The bulk        ity building initiatives over the years

                                                                     Building Institutional Capacity for Governance   245
                                     have had little impact, some have           Critical rethinking over the years
                                     started to question the value of con-       has led to a growing global consen-
                                     tinuing with such exercises. They           sus that:
                                     doubt their effectiveness and whether
                                     new skills were acquired and trans-           Capacity development is a
                                     lated into improved organisation-             long-term process, rarely ame-
                                     al performance. According to one              nable to seeking quick results
                                     report, “Training interventions have          through shortcuts. It is, above
                                     generally been funded without an              all, an endogenous course of
                                     organisational training needs assess-         action that builds on existing
                                     ment or a comprehensive trainings             capacities and assets. As an
                                     plan. Staff is being trained for spe-         endogenous voluntary proc-
                                     cific tasks before they are in posi-          ess, capacity development can
                                     tions to use the training, or before          be supported or distorted by
                                     measures have been taken to help              external interventions. Fur-
                                     retain them” (World Bank 2005,                thermore, to be successful,
         Capacity                    32). The traditional approach, which          capacity development needs to
         development                 focused on creating or reorganizing           take place at three cross-linked
         has emerged in              government units and building indi-           levels: the individual, institu-
                                     vidual skills, could not by itself foster     tional as well as societal levels.
      reaction to the poor
                                     improved public-sector performance
      results of initiatives         because it failed to address the insti-       A central element of this con-
      based on technical             tutional context in which organi-             sensus is that capacity devel-
      cooperation                    sations and individuals operated.             ops and takes root where
                                     The institutional context is critical         incentives—monetary and
                                     to ensure that the necessary incen-           non-monetary—are favora-
                                     tives and rewards are provided for            ble, and dwindles where they
                                     improved public-sector performance.           are perverse. These incentives
                                     Training can be only part of the              shape the demand for capacity,
                                     human capacity-building solution.             as when governance arrange-
                                                                                   ments enable user, parliamen-
                                     Capacity development has emerged              tary, and citizen oversight to
                                     in reaction to the poor results of            hold governments account-
                                     initiatives based on technical coop-          able for performance. Incen-
                                     eration. The new approach empha-              tives also sustain the supply of
                                     sizes that root causes of poverty,            national capacity as when pay
                                     illiteracy and ill health are lack of         polices reward highly-skilled
                                     capacity in government to design              professionals for remaining
                                     and implement proper development              in the African public sector,
                                     strategies and the inability of soci-         and the enabling environment
                                     ety to hold government accountable            for private investment har-
                                     for its actions. It argues development        nesses domestic entrepreneur-
                                     achievements will be scalable and             ial skills, rather than adding
                                     sustainable only if political and eco-        to “brain drain”. As with the
                                     nomic institutions function properly          effectiveness of overall devel-
                                     (World Bank 2005).                            opment assistance, ownership,

246   African Governance Report II
   local championship, commit-           information revolution and techno-
   ment, and strong leadership           logical progress (Sako and Ogiogio
   are seen in the emerging con-         2002). To deal with the challenges
   sensus as prerequisites for sus-      Africa needs capable states.1 Yet the
   tainable capacity development.        state in many African countries is
   On the external side, the gap         weak, due to four related conditions
   filling approach that tended          described in a recent World Bank
   to be donor driven needs to be        study:
   replaced by a more “organic”
   approach that nurtures exist-            First, the basic socioeconomic
   ing capacities (World Bank               conditions in Africa, though
   n.d., 2).                                improving in some ways,
                                            constitute a weak founda-
Capacity-building                           tion for public sector capaci-
challenges                                  ties. The overall level of pov-
Africa’s development in the 1980s           erty both creates enormous
was so disappointing that some              need for effective public sector             Africa’s
characterized it as a lost decade           performance and limits the                   development
for development. Several factors—           human and financial resources                in the 1980s
ineffective policies, outright mis-         available to the public sector.          was disappointing,
management (in some countries),                                                      but after some
a heavy external debt burden, poor          Second, specific political and           painful economic
governance and conflicts that pre-          institutional characteristics
                                                                                     reforms as well as
cipitated the massive economic              in African countries inhibit
decline in the early 1980s—were             effective public sector per-
                                                                                     growing political
responsible for the poor perform-           formance. The state has yet              liberalization,
ance. But after some painful eco-           to integrate formal rules with           some notable
nomic reforms as well as growing            informal norms in ways that              improvements have
political liberalization and economic       ensure good governance…                  been registered in
stability, some notable improvements                                                 the last decade
have been registered in the last dec-       Third, . . .  public sector in
ade. But a lot more needs to be done        Africa exhibits low bureau-
to put Africa on the road to sustain-       cratic quality, weak mecha-
able development.                           nism of accountability, and
                                            high levels of corruption.
The continent is still faced with the
enormous challenges of poverty;             Last, globalization is widen-
the HIV/AIDS pandemic; promo-               ing gaps within Africa and
tion of democracy, rule of law, con-        between Africa and other
flict prevention, management and            regions. While globaliza-
post-conflict reconstruction; human         tion offers opportunities to
capital flight; private-sector devel-       help African countries to
opment; revitalization of universities      enhance their national capac-
and research institutions; regional         ities—through easier access
cooperation and integration; trade;         to global knowledge—it also
the burden of external debt; the            undermines their efforts by

                                                                      Building Institutional Capacity for Governance   247
                                        contributing to widening              demands, not only for more effective
                                        domestic income gaps, pull-           capacity building, but also for these
                                        ing highly trained talent out of      efforts to be more directly linked to
                                        Africa, and accentuating Afri-        results (World Bank n.d.).
                                        ca’s lack of competitiveness
                                        in international research and         Gaps in governance
                                        development and investment.           capacity in Africa
                                        About 70,000 highly qualified         Good governance helps to create an
                                        professionals and experts leave       environment of peace, stability and
                                        the continent annually. While         security in which people can be pro-
                                        migration brings in remittanc-        ductive and creative, build wealth
                                        es, which help reduce poverty,        and employment and promote
                                        it depresses public sector per-       human development and alleviate
                                        formance in such crucial areas        poverty. For the institutions of gov-
                                        as health, science and technol-       ernance to perform their functions
                                        ogy, and economic manage-             effectively, they must be endowed
          If African                    ment (World Bank 2005, 2–3).          with the appropriate capacities.
          countries are to                                                    Because sustainable development
          forge ahead with           The challenges posed by the fore-        thrives in an environment of good
                                     going conditions require long-term,      governance, if African countries are
      their development
                                     systemic approaches.                     to forge ahead with their develop-
      visions, they                                                           ment visions, they must build their
      must build their               To promote development, many             governance capacities.
      governance                     African countries have launched a
      capacities                     Poverty Reduction Strategy Pro-          Some express doubt about the sin-
                                     gram (PRSP) and set their aims           cerity of African governments’
                                     at the Millennium Development            alleged commitment to good gov-
                                     Goals (MDGs). The PRSPs require          ernance. Political scientist Pierre
                                     enhanced capacities to realize the       Englebert asks, “[I]f we and Afri-
                                     economic and social foundations          can governments know that good
                                     of poverty reduction. Because local      governance promotes development
                                     governments are at the forefront of      and yet there have been no general
                                     service delivery, particular atten-      improvements in governance, do
                                     tion needs to be given to build-         African governments want develop-
                                     ing and enhancing their capacities.      ment?” He adds, “[T]here is a poten-
                                     World Bank and IMF reviews of            tial contradiction here between the
                                     the PRSPs in 2002 underscored the        normative implications of the gov-
                                     poor capacity at the local govern-       ernance agenda and the self-inter-
                                     ment level and, more importantly,        est maximization of all elites….We
                                     the inability to use existing capacity   cannot take for granted the desire of
                                     effectively, constraining preparation,   governments to promote develop-
                                     implementation and monitoring and        ment” (Englebert 2005).
                                     evaluation of PRSPs at the local
                                     level. MDGs, by setting specific         Improving the capacity of govern-
                                     development targets to be achieved       ance institutions poses a major chal-
                                     by 2015, are contributing to             lenge of development in Africa. To

248   African Governance Report II
strengthen governance, African gov-     serious dearth of capacity. These
ernments have to commit themselves      include the legislature, executive,
to meeting the capacity challenges.     judiciary, civil service, political par-
An ECA study argues “the major          ties, civil society and the private sec-
challenge . . . is to promote a cul-    tor. As such those governance insti-
ture of good governance necessary       tutions are weak, poorly accountable
for sound economic management,          and prone to manipulations. While
efficient service delivery and social   a major finding of AGR I is that
empowerment of the people. Gov-         governance has improved in Africa,
ernance capacity is needed to create    its corollary is that there are several
a capable democratic state, a virile    challenges for which capacity is the
civil society and a thriving private    key. Sustaining and institutional-
sector with a good culture of cor-      izing the modest gains in Africa
porate management” (ECA n.d.-b).        will require substantial scaling up
This same position is echoed in an      of capacity development efforts of
ACBF study that argues that capac-      those institutions (ECA n.d.-b).
ity building will need to:                                                              The performance
                                        Legislature                                     of many African
  professionalize the voice of          Entrusted with law making, alloca-             legislatures is
  civil society and private sec-        tion of resources and oversight func-
                                                                                    hardly satisfactory.
  tor representative institu-           tions, the legislature is the most
  tions, empower women and              important organ of governance. But          Elected members
  civil society organisations,          the performance of many African             often lack sufficient
  strengthen transparency and           legislatures is hardly satisfactory.        education and
  accountability, address politi-       Elected members often lack suf-             independence
  cal instability and provide           ficient education, information and          to perform their
  skills for conflict resolution        independence to perform their con-
  and management, enhance               stitutionally mandated prerogatives.
  effectiveness and responsive-         And parliaments lack adequate facil-        mandated
  ness of the public sector as          ities, administrative and technical         prerogatives
  well as the delivery of pub-          support and financial resources.
  lic services, reduce the bur-
  den of regulations, improve           Weak caliber
  transparency, efficiency and          Many legislators lack the education
  effectiveness of the regulatory       to understand their role and dis-
  framework, encourage par-             charge their responsibilities. The
  ticipation by all stakeholders        Djibouti country study revealed
  in the development process,           that weak academic qualifications
  strengthen the rule of law, and       of elected officials resulted in their
  effectively address the issue of      inability to initiate laws, analyze
  corruption (Sako and Ogiogio          the budget and control the execu-
  2002, 7).                             tive. Training programs that could
                                        upgrade their skills are often lack-
One of the lessons learned from         ing or offered in an ad hoc manner
AGR I is that many of the govern-       with little durable impact. In Burki-
ance institutions in Africa have a      na Faso many elected officials are

                                                                     Building Institutional Capacity for Governance   249
                                                                                              training for members of both the
        Box 8.4 Enhancing the effectiveness of the Namibian                                   government and opposition.
                                                                                              On the other hand, Namibia pro-
        The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) trained mem-           vides an encouraging example.
        bers of parliament and regional councils and parliamentary staff to strengthen        Measures taken with the assist-
        their procedural, administrative, presentation and communication skills so they       ance of the United States Agen-
        can make better use of committees, public hearings and fact-finding missions.         cy for International Development
        It is hoped that the training will strengthen their ability to capture, analyze and   (USAID) are enhancing the com-
        incorporate input from civil society into the process of policy formulation, legis-   petence of the parliament, which is
        lative decision making and regional and local planning. To ensure sustainability      regarded as one of the most profes-
        beyond its current support, USAID helped establish the Namibian Democracy             sional in Africa. The USAID sup-
        Support Center, a cooperative partnership between selected government                 port enhances the skills of members
        institutions and civil society organisations to further strengthen the interac-       of parliament and their staffs and
        tion between the government and civil society in a coordinated and planned            deepens the parliament’s democratic
        manner. The Center’s objectives include outreach, planning, policy formulation        culture.
        and analysis. The program emphasizes the capacity of elected representatives
        to understand the implications and impact of HIV/AIDS on development and              Weak technical and administrative
        policymaking at national and regional levels and to analyze and provide inter-        support
        ventions into legislative and policymaking process to reflect civic inputs.           The absence of administrative and
                                                                                              advisory support for legislators
        Source: Namibia country report 2007.                                                  undermines their ability to fulfil
                                                                                              their responsibilities. In many Afri-
                                                                                              can countries there is a short supply
                                              reported to be illiterate, and their            of professional staff capable of col-
                                              contribution is considered minimal.             lecting, analyzing and converting
                                              In Madagascar the legislators have              data into meaningful information for
                                              minimum education and are unable                legislators. Botswana lacks adequate
                                              to control the laws, finances and               technical and administrative sup-
                                              procedures proposed by the govern-              port. A similar shortfall is reported
                                              ment. In Togo the management of                 in South Africa.
                                              the assembly’s resources lack trans-
                                              parency, and the assembly lacks                 Poor facilities
                                              capacity to control the executive.              Lack of facilities—buildings, offic-
                                              The country report identified areas             es, residential quarters and com-
                                              that need improvement—capacity                  munication facilities— hampers
                                              to initiate laws, review policies and           the effectiveness of the legislature
                                              programs, communicate with the                  in many African countries. In Dji-
                                              public and civil society, elaborate             bouti deputies do not have sufficient
                                              and control the budget and improve              offices, residences, communication
                                              transparency and accountability                 facilities such as telephone, fax, and
                                              in managing resources. The Sey-                 Internet, a documentation center or
                                              chelles report underscored the need             interactive web site. Legislators in
                                              to improve and enhance legisla-                 Madagascar lack an adequate library,
                                              tive capabilities on issues of nation-          computers, database, and access to
                                              al importance and recommended                   the Internet. The national assembly

250   African Governance Report II
in Nigeria lacks fully equipped            was considered inadequate, assistance
office accommodations and a library.       to parties has increased substantially
In Rwanda neither the Chamber nor          from R71 million to R156 million in
the Senate have a resource center or       2006/07 and will reach R278 million
research units staffed with profes-        in 2009/10.
sionals that can provide the neces-
sary technical backup.                     Lack of independence
                                           Executive dominance significantly
Facility constraint has been addressed     reduces the legislature’s role in mak-
in South Africa, where the national        ing laws and exercising oversight. In
legislature has provided members           Togo the effectiveness of the parlia-
with logistical support mechanisms         ment is hampered by the national
including computers, communication         assembly’s lack of independence. In
facilities and travel services.            Zambia, where the capacity of par-
                                           liament to operate independently is
Inadequate financial resources             compromised by the ruling party’s
The inability to be acquainted with        insatiable appetite for luring opposi-          Facing many
current developments in legisla-           tion members of parliament into its             constraints,
tures around the world and to have         ranks, the legislature rarely initiates         parliaments are
regular contact with constituencies        bills. Instead, it continues to be done
                                                                                       generally ineffective
through modern methods of com-             by the executive.
munication significantly reduces the                                                   in Africa. Executive
capacity and performance of legisla-       Facing many constraints, parlia-            dominance
tors. In Burkina Faso legislators do       ments are generally ineffective             significantly
not have the financial resources to        in Africa. Of the expert groups             reduces the
attend international meetings that         responding to the question on legis-        legislature’s role in
would expose them to best practices.       lative effectiveness, it is not surpris-
                                                                                       making laws and
As in Burkina, in Seychelles lack of       ing that in only 8 of the 22 countries
foreign exchange has made it dif-          did more than 50% of the respond-           exercising oversight
ficult for legislators to attend meet-     ents regard it as effective. The over-
ings and workshops abroad.                 whelming majority did not consider
                                           the legislature to be effective. (See
On the positive side, the National         chapter 4, “Institutional Checks and
Assembly in South Africa, in accord-       Balances”.)
ance with section 57 of the constitu-
tion, grants financial assistance to       Executive
each represented party in an amount        Because the executive is entrusted
relative to the party’s strength, and      with initiating and implementing
senior party officers, such as the         policy, any constraint of capacity of
leader of the opposition, receive          this branch could negatively impact
additional support. The money can          development. But executives in
be used for support and research           Africa seem to be faced with many
staff, office administration and capi-     problems:
tal costs, enabling parties to establish
and maintain a constituency out-           •	   Lack of sufficient capacity in
reach program. Because the support              policy analysis.

                                                                        Building Institutional Capacity for Governance   251
                                     •	   Lack of capacity to implement,       of the civil service was found to be
                                          manage and monitor and evalu-        below expectation and affected by
                                          ate development programs.            a shortage of qualified personnel,
                                                                               politicization, demoralized work-
                                     •	   Personnel deficiency in mana-        force and poor working conditions.
                                          gerial, financial and technical      The public service delivery system
                                          skills.                              is bloated, inefficient and ineffective
                                                                               in responding to the needs of the
                                     •	   Unmotivated and demoral-             people.
                                          ized staff in the case of some
                                          countries.                           In Djibouti weaknesses are found
                                                                               in human resources management,
                                     •	   Inability to attract and retain      materials and logistics, internal con-
                                          capable staff.                       trols, statistical capacity and budget
                                                                               preparation. In Nigeria the civil
                                     •	   Weak statistical compilation         service is not results-oriented. There
           Because the                    and analysis capacity.               is a shortage of staff in economics,
           executive is                                                        finance, policy analysis and general
          entrusted with             •	   Under-resourced and ineffective      administration. The state lacks the
                                          local governments.                   capacity to provide security, protect
      initiating and
                                                                               individual rights and ensure ade-
      implementing                   •	   Lack of proper decentralization      quate safeguard of property rights.
      policy, any                         policy and strategy resulting in     And the police are inadequately
      constraint of                       poor service delivery.               trained and equipped.
      capacity of this
      branch could                   Many of these problems were               In the Republic of Congo a lack
                                     flagged in AGR I but continue to          of control in managing human
      negatively impact
                                     constrain the executive.                  resources contributes to corruption
      development                                                              and fraud. In Madagascar there is a
                                     Weak human resources and                  lack of competition in recruitment,
                                     institutions                              unmotivated staff due to low pay,
                                     The Ghana country study revealed          poor working conditions and lack
                                     that politics plays a large part in the   of resources. The civil service does
                                     civil service and public officers were    not have the procedures and strat-
                                     subjected to partisan pressure. Per-      egy to attract competent personnel.
                                     sonnel often lack the requisite skills,   The Namibian civil service remains
                                     training and resources to perform         perpetually short of competence in
                                     their duties competently. Perform-        technical, managerial and leadership
                                     ance is poor in several key areas and     functions due to frequent turnover.
                                     services are nonexistent in remote
                                     locations. In Botswana inability to       In Niger all levels of public admin-
                                     attract capable staff and the low         istration suffer from shortage of
                                     level of education, skills and expe-      human, material and financial
                                     rience of civil servants are major        resources. The number of civil
                                     capacity constraints of the execu-        servants fell by 10% from 2000 to
                                     tive. In Zambia the performance           2004. Shortage of resources in local

252   African Governance Report II
governments has negatively impact-        or facilities. The overwhelming
ed service delivery, and weak infra-      majority of the experts from the
structure renders law enforcement         surveyed countries did not consider
agencies ineffective. In Tanzania         local governments capable of deliv-
weak institutional and organisation-      ering services.
al frameworks, unclear roles between
the central government and local          Inadequate materials and
government authorities and weak           infrastructure
incentives for capacity development       It is reported in Nigeria that most
are constraints on the public service     departments of statistics lack vital
(ECA Tanzania country report).            data processing equipment like com-
                                          puters and other information tech-
Botswana lacks the capacity to gen-       nology facilities. The Republic of
erate evidence-based decision mak-        Congo lacks government buildings,
ing and monitor and evaluate policy       office furniture and computers. In
and program implementation. In            Cape Verde lack of resources (mate-
Sierra Leone the government has a         rial and financial) to achieve the            Cape
limited capacity to generate qual-        tasks assigned to the institutions is         Verde has
ity information for the analysis of       among the major constraints of the            undertaken
development needs. There are few          executive.
                                                                                     several important
think tanks in the country—a result
of the devastating war, which led to      Efforts to cope with constraints           measures to
considerable brain drain. The uni-        Some countries have tried to address       improve its public
versities have limited research activi-   their capacity constraints. For            administration
ties into which policy analysis could     example, Namibia initiated meas-           system
feed. The capacity of the executive       ures aimed at achieving outcome-
in Togo is weakened by poor ration-       focused public service, inculcating
alization of the state structure, weak    professional and ethical behavior
decentralization, poor delegation of      in civil servants and focusing on
responsibility for economic manage-       customer service. To achieve these
ment and poor human resources.            reforms, a performance management
                                          framework is being piloted in two
In Ghana the capacity to plan, ini-       ministries.
tiate, implement and monitor local
development remains weak. Local           In Cape Verde, within the context
governments lack the authority to         of the programme to modernize
mobilize resources, and the central       the state, several important meas-
government’s monitoring of local          ures were undertaken to improve
government and provision of tech-         its public administration system.
nical assistance are weak. In the         These steps include the promul-
Republic of Congo local govern-           gation of a new law on the public
ments lack the capacity and inde-         administration system, a new plan
pendence to discharge their respon-       for career development and sal-
sibilities. In Burkina Faso many          ary increases for public servants,
local government entities exist only      use of information technology in
in name and do not have personnel         the public service and a new law on

                                                                      Building Institutional Capacity for Governance   253
                                     acquisitions and markets aimed at         to constrain the effectiveness of the
                                     improving transparency in the pro-        judiciary.
                                     cedure for acquiring property and
                                     services (ECA Cape Verde country          Lack of independence
                                     report 2007).                             An independent judiciary is a pre-
                                                                               requisite for a functioning democra-
                                     To improve the quality of the public      cy and is central to good governance.
                                     service and promote better service        Judicial independence is the founda-
                                     delivery in Kenya, a results-based        tion for the rule of law. It means that
                                     management approach to pub-               judges and magistrates are secure
                                     lic service reforms was introduced        enough in their positions to dispense
                                     in 2004 under an initiative called        justice without political interference
                                     the Results for Kenya Programme.          and cannot be dismissed or intimi-
                                     The programme creates a citizen-          dated for taking a position that
                                     focused, results-oriented public          might have an adverse impact on the
                                     service to attain the country’s Vision    executive. Without independence,
          Lack of                    2030 goals. Its components include        the judiciary is subject to the whims
          independence,              promoting transformative leadership       of political leaders.
          shortage                   for better results and accountability,
                                     building institutional capacity in the    Human resource constraints
      of judges and
                                     public service, improving commu-          In Sierra Leone magistrates, judg-
      magistrates,                   nication and education in the pub-        es and other legal personnel are in
      inadequate funding,            lic service and structuring partner-      short supply. In Namibia a shortage
      poor remuneration              ships with public sector stakeholders     of magistrates, delays in appointing
      and limited                    (Nyamweya 2008). There have been          legal aid counsel due to lack of funds
      facilities continue            some positive results in service deliv-   and extended investigation by the
                                     ery in Kenya.                             police constrain the effectiveness of
      to constrain the
                                                                               the judiciary. And the drain of expe-
      effectiveness of the           Across project countries the poor         rienced prosecutors does not help
      judiciary in Africa            quality of police equipment impedes       the situation. Financial, human and
                                     the capacity to fight crime and pro-      material shortages are reported in
                                     tect lives and property. There is no      Togo as a constraint on the judiciary.
                                     country in which half (50%) the           Although judges’ competence and
                                     expert respondents felt that the          the independence of the judiciary
                                     police are well equipped. Even in the     are not in doubt in Cape Verde, it is
                                     countries with the best scores, like      nevertheless believed that judicial
                                     Cape Verde, Botswana and Djibou-          procedures are overly complex and
                                     ti, only 40% to 45% of the experts        excessively bureaucratic, resulting
                                     considered the police to be well          in delays in court decisions. Moreo-
                                     equipped.                                 ver, the court registry operates poor-
                                                                               ly because the number of officials
                                     Judiciary                                 is limited and they lack adequate
                                     Lack of independence, shortage            qualifications, and disorganized
                                     of judges and magistrates, inad-          files and limited use of information
                                     equate funding, poor remunera-            technology result in poor perform-
                                     tion and limited facilities continue      ance of the courts. In Botswana,

254   African Governance Report II
where magistrates, judges and other         Nigeria the judiciary is incapacitat-
legal personnel are in short supply,        ed by lack of working facilities due
the judiciary fails to retain quali-        to inadequate funding for modern
fied and experienced staff, leading         amenities that could facilitate speedy
to delays in the disposal of cases. In      delivery of justice. Almost all judges
Madagascar lack of opportunities            write notes in long hand except in
for career improvement, poor train-         Lagos State. Many lack access to
ing, and poor working conditions,           computers and air-conditioned offic-
are among the serious constraints. In       es. Power outage is common, and
Seychelles a majority of the judges         writing materials are in short sup-
are foreigners with obvious implica-        ply. Prisons are congested, largely by
tions for sustainable national capac-       detainees awaiting trial.
ity in the management of the judicial
system. In South Africa the large           Financial constraints
backlog of cases across the country         In Zambia poor funding has led to
is attributed to inadequate fund-           poor salaries and unattractive work-
ing, resources and capacity within          ing conditions. Because the judiciary         Non-state actors
the justice system. In Niger the ratio      does not have financial autonomy,             can play an
of judges to population is 1:70,000,        it has no leverage over its budget,           important role
well below the international stand-         let alone the rate and timing of dis-
                                                                                      in consolidating
ard of 1:7,000, and the number of           bursements. In Sierra Leone the
judges has been increasing at the           judiciary also does not control its       and strengthening
rate of only 25 per year.                   own budget. Consequently, there           democracy:
                                            are long delays in adjudication and       mobilizing and
Problems of infrastructure and facilities   a large number of remand prisoners        articulating social
Except in the capital city, court           pervade the justice system.               demands, defending
infrastructure, records manage-
                                                                                      human rights and
ment and the court system had col-          In Ghana, however, some improve-
lapsed in Sierra Leone as a result          ments in the judiciary are reported       spearheading
of the civil war. In Congo lack of          since AGR I, especially in building       development
transport, sufficient office furniture,     up infrastructure, establishing com-
typewriters and office facilities are       mercial courts, automating some of
reported to constrain the judiciary.        the high courts and improving man-
In 2000 visits by the South Afri-           agement of the justice system. But
can Human Rights Commission                 executive dominance still blurs pub-
(SAHRC) to magistrate’s courts in           lic confidence in some parts of the
South Africa revealed poor security,        system. South Africa also has start-
lack of separate facilities for sensi-      ed to address the resource shortages
tive witnesses and children, non-           that affect the performance of the
functioning help desks and little           judicial sector.
essential equipment such as com-
puters and recording machines.2 In          Non-state actors
2004 a parliamentary ad hoc com-            Non-state actors can play an impor-
mittee on justice declared lack of          tant role in consolidating and
resources to be the most important          strengthening democracy. They
challenge faced by the courts. In           play a vital role in mobilizing and

                                                                       Building Institutional Capacity for Governance   255
                                     articulating social demands, defend-      of CSOs lack a coherent mandate,
                                     ing human rights, spearheading            functional boundaries, autonomy
                                     development activities and contribut-     and managerial and programmatic
                                     ing to poverty alleviation. Although      procedures. In Namibia CSOs lack
                                     the hostile political environment         skills in organisational development,
                                     they had to contend with for years        management, networking, lobbying,
                                     has improved, many non-state actors       advocacy and research, monitoring
                                     in Africa lack skills, experience,        and evaluation, and project identi-
                                     organisational capabilities, financial    fication and preparation. They are
                                     resources and infrastructure. Many        losing skilled managerial and profes-
                                     civil society organisations (CSOs) are    sional staff to the public and private
                                     weak, short of resources and depend-      sectors due to low pay.
                                     ent on foreign support.
                                                                               In Nigeria civil society is weak in
                                     Non-state actors require capac-           organisation and highly susceptible
                                     ity to contribute to the formulation      to political manoeuvring, although
          Although                   and implementation of development         it is active and engaged. There are
          the hostile                programs. In the 22 countries where       about 175 prominent CSOs in the
          political                  expert opinion was solicited on how       country, but few have solid organisa-
                                     effectively CSOs contribute to pro-       tional and managerial skills. CSOs
      environment they
                                     moting accountability and trans-          play a limited role and make limited
      had to contend                 parency, only in 6 countries—Mali         impact on policy formulation and
      with for years has             (70%), Ghana (64%), Zambia (59%),         implementation because few have a
      improved, many                 Senegal (58%), Sierra Leone (52%)         capacity for research or are compu-
      non-state actors               and Botswana (50%)—did a majori-          ter literate. In Tanzania, despite the
      in Africa lack                 ty respond positively. In the 16 other    contribution of CSOs toward build-
                                     countries the responses were below        ing a capable state, it is reported that
      skills, experience
                                     50% and as low as 16.5% in Egypt.         even though many of the donor-
      and financial                                                            supported projects for CSOs have
      resources                      Civil society organisations               built-in capacity development com-
                                     Human resource and other organisa-        ponents, they reflect donor interest
                                     tional constraints. In Botswana lack      for short-term results rather than the
                                     of adequate skills, experience, crea-     development of sustainable organisa-
                                     tivity and funding are among the          tions. Most small, indigenous CSOs
                                     major constraints faced by CSOs.          do not have the capability to engage
                                     In Cape Verde civil society organi-       qualified administrative and finan-
                                     sations suffer from poor manage-          cial managers to run their activities
                                     ment and lack of material resourc-        (ECA 2007b).
                                     es. Improvement of management
                                     capacity requires permanent train-        Financial and other constraints. Lim-
                                     ing schemes for CSO leaders. In           ited financial means and weak
                                     Madagascar the CSOs suffer from           human resources are among the
                                     insufficient organisational and lead-     major constraints faced by CSOs
                                     ership skills. In Sierra Leone civil      in Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and
                                     society is weak in technical, strategic   Madagascar. In South Africa fragile
                                     and advocacy skills. The majority         funding has led to weakened CSOs,

256   African Governance Report II
which have lost many of their com-        parties are deficient in institutional
petent staff to the government. In        capacity. Many of them have existed
Tanzania CSOs are not financially         merely for the purpose of contesting
self-sufficient and depend heavily on     the 1996, 2003 and 2007 elections.
donors. The capacity of civil soci-       Failing to win seats in parliament,
ety in Kenya to engage the govern-        they ceased to exist.
ment has been undermined over the
last four years by internal weakness,     Financial and infrastructure con-
problems of ethnicity and capacity        straints. Limited infrastructure and
migration into government and for-        inadequate funding pose difficul-
mal politics and by resource shortag-     ties for the effectiveness of political
es due to dependence on donors who        parties. In Zambia they suffer from
prefer basket funding geared mostly       inadequate and uncertain funding,
toward supporting state institutions      making it difficult to recruit full-
like the electoral commission during      time staff and purchase vehicles,
election periods rather than support-     office equipment, communication
ing CSOs.                                 services and Internet connections.              Political parties
                                          Similar shortages face parties in               in Africa have
Political parties                         Botswana and Djibouti.                          little capability
Political parties in Africa have little
                                                                                      to articulate issues,
capability to articulate issues, engage   In South Africa funding for political
in debate, promote their principles       parties is based on the size of a party.    engage in debate,
and vision of society or defend the       As a result, smaller and newer par-         promote their
interests and rights of their sup-        ties face capacity shortages, hamper-       principles and
porters. Most are not professionally      ing their ability to compete. Mada-         vision of society
organized and do not have functional      gascar also reported a lack of ade-         or defend the
democratic structures. Many lack          quate finances and transparency of
                                                                                      interests and rights
competent and committed leader-           operation in parties. And in Senegal
ship. They suffer from severe fund-       some parties do not even have decent        of their supporters
ing problems and are exposed to har-      headquarters; only the ruling party
assment and intimidation by incum-        and a few opposition parties can
bent governments (ECA 2008).              afford accommodations. The system
                                          of financing political parties based
Human resource and other institution-     on votes obtained has reduced chanc-
al constraints. In Botswana political     es that smaller parties can survive.
parties suffer from severe organi-
sational problems. In Zambia weak         Although political parties are mush-
internal leadership and management        rooming in Africa, they mostly lack
structures characterize most of the       capacity and institutionalised pro-
parties. In Djibouti political parties    cedures, processes and organisa-
face problems of human resourc-           tion. Without capable and efficient
es. Likewise, in Madagascar, the          political parties that can promote
political parties’ internal capacity in   informed debates, create alternative
organisational matters is weak and        visions for society and rekindle hope
suffers from a shortage of trained        in the democratic agenda, Africa’s
staff. In Sierra Leone political          democratisation process will falter.

                                                                       Building Institutional Capacity for Governance   257
                                     Media                                    in the economies of many African
                                     The media have grown in impor-           countries. In some countries the ide-
                                     tance since the opening of politi-       ological rationale was socialism. But
                                     cal space and democratisation in         after years of being marginalized the
                                     the 1980s and 1990s, promoting           private sector is now acknowledged
                                     accountability and transparency.         as the engine of economic growth.
                                     (See chapters 1 and 4.) But con-         The past decade has witnessed a
                                     straints on the media continue. They     plethora of policies aimed at creating
                                     suffer from deficiencies in skills,      a more conducive environment for
                                     trained manpower in investigative        the private sector, and many coun-
                                     journalism and quality reporting.        tries have taken measures to enhance
                                                                              the sector’s capacity to compete in
                                     In Nigeria, though the quality           global markets. Governments have
                                     of journalism is considered high,        also passed laws to attract investors
                                     many media houses still lack equip-      and have improved the policy and
                                     ment and facilities. The media are       regulatory environment.
          After years                not adequately trained for handling
          of being                   sensitive and topical issues such as     Sustained economic growth and
         marginalized                violent conflicts and gender issues,     development in Africa requires an
                                     and professionals are poorly paid.       efficient and dynamic private sec-
      the private sector is
                                     Cape Verde reports the need to           tor. One report observed: “For the
      now acknowledged               improve the training of journalists in   sector to play its role as an engine of
      as the engine of               order to enhance their independent       growth, it needs to be encouraged by
      economic growth                performance.                             a conducive policy environment, the
                                                                              availability of functional and effi-
                                     In Kenya, however, there has been        cient infrastructure, effective public
                                     a substantial growth of the media        sector institutions, and security of
                                     with the licensing of private radio      investment. African countries need
                                     and television. The media have           an enabling environment for both
                                     helped to promote transparency and       domestic and foreign private invest-
                                     accountability by exposing corrup-       ment to flourish. The private sec-
                                     tion and government scandals. They       tor needs improved management,
                                     continue to indirectly influence poli-   better information on markets and
                                     cies and programs while highlight-       investments, and a work force with
                                     ing conflict. Consequently, the rul-     the requisite skills and motivation.
                                     ing elites have attacked the media by    Supportive public policies and the
                                     using criminal elements and formal       efficient supply of infrastructure and
                                     security structures to harass journal-   services, as well as specific interven-
                                     ists, including attempts to gag them     tions to enhance private-sector insti-
                                     under the 2007 Media Bill.               tutions are direly needed” (Sako and
                                                                              Ogiogio 2002).
                                     Private sector
                                     In the 1970s there was a strong          Despite today’s relatively encourag-
                                     belief that the public sector was the    ing environment for the private sec-
                                     engine of growth, and the private        tor, more needs to be done if the pri-
                                     sector did not have a significant role   vate sector is to play its expected role

258   African Governance Report II
as an engine of growth. The pri-          and artisans; planning and manage-
vate sector in many of the countries      ment capacity in the health care and
is still fragile, lacking the capacity    educational systems and education in
to compete in the global market.          mathematics and science.
In Botswana undeveloped regula-
tory and institutional frameworks         Knowledge capacity for
hamper growth and expansion of            governance
the private sector. In Seychelles the     In many African countries poor gov-
private sector needs better training      ernance, a deteriorating economic
in strategic fields. Capacity building    situation—especially in the 1980s
in all sectors of the economy remains     and 1990s—and poor social wel-
essential for long-term sustainable       fare have eroded the knowledge base
economic growth and social devel-         and human capacity. First, research
opment. In Cape Verde administra-         and educational institutions have
tive barriers, excessive bureaucracies,   witnessed a downturn in the qual-
industrial legislation and high taxes     ity of education and commitment to
constrain the private sector. In Sierra   science. Budgets for education have           In many African
Leone the private sector operates in      dwindled, and funding for research            countries poor
a difficult environment in two key        has virtually dried up.                       governance,
respects: shortage of human resourc-
                                                                                     a deteriorating
es and insufficient public utilities.     Second, emigration and brain drain
For the majority of the citizens the      have intensified, affecting govern-        economic situation
informal sector is a means of their       ance capacity, especially in the deliv-    and poor social
livelihood, but it has not been a ben-    ery of social services. It is estimated    welfare have eroded
eficiary of reform initiatives by the     that since 1990, 20,000 skilled pro-       the knowledge base
government.                               fessionals have left Africa each year.     and human capacity
                                          Yet Africa spends about US$4 bil-
In South Africa, on the other hand,       lion per year (representing 35% of
the informal sector, which consti-        official development aid to Africa)
tutes an important part of South          to employ about 100,000 Western
Africa’s economy, benefits from pro-      experts to perform functions gener-
grams and agencies to support peo-        ally referred to as technical assist-
ple with money, business skills and       ance (ECA n.d.-a).
technology to run their businesses.
As the formal private sector expand-      The costs and consequences of Afri-
ed into the financial and service         ca’s brain drain are enormous. For a
sectors, it experienced a shortage of     continent with a dearth of financial
skilled labor. As a result, the gov-      resources, the huge costs of train-
ernment launched the Joint Initia-        ing skilled professionals are lost to
tive for Priority Skills Acquisition      the countries. In Kenya, for exam-
to address the skills requirements of     ple, it costs about US$40,000 to
the country’s expanding economy           train a doctor and US$10,000 to
in several areas: planning and engi-      US$15,000 to educate a univer-
neering of water, transport and other     sity student for four years, exclud-
network areas; town and regional          ing tuition fees where such exists.
planning skills; training of engineers    The World Health Organization

                                                                      Building Institutional Capacity for Governance   259
                                     estimates that delivery of basic          •	   Improvements in social wel-
                                     health services requires 20 physi-             fare and governance, which will
                                     cians per 100,000 people. While                discourage human capital flight
                                     Western countries boast of about               from the continent.
                                     222 physicians per 100,000 people,
                                     most African countries fall far short     Given the diversity of African states
                                     of the minimum standard (ECA              and their differing levels of develop-
                                     n.d.-a). And the few physicians that      ment and varying degrees of experi-
                                     Africa has are attracted to the West      ences in democratic governance, a
                                     for better salaries, living conditions    “one size fits all” approach to capac-
                                     and professional fulfillment.             ity building is not appropriate. All
                                                                               countries share many capacity gaps,
                                     The knowledge shortfall on govern-        but the degree of complexity var-
                                     ance in Africa includes the skills        ies. The solutions will have to be
                                     to manage public institutions and         appropriate to the historical, cultural
                                     businesses and to facilitate basic        and behavioural differences of each
          If the legislature         and applied research and innovative       country.
          is to assume its           practices for better service delivery.
          constitutionally           A new incentive regime for better         Enhancing the capacity of
                                     knowledge development in Africa           parliament
      assigned role
                                     must target the following:                The legislature, despite the con-
      and become a                                                             stitutional prominence it enjoys, is
      vibrant institution,           •	   Better funding of research and       still weak in initiating legislation
      its capacity                        educational institutions from        and oversight. In many countries its
      constraints have to                 the primary to tertiary levels.      effectiveness continues to be erod-
      be addressed as a                                                        ed by the dominance of the execu-
                                     •	   A merit system in education and      tive. If the legislature is to assume
      matter of priority
                                          research based on performance        its constitutionally assigned role
                                          and output.                          and become a vibrant institution,
                                                                               its capacity constraints have to be
                                     •	   Continuous training pro-             addressed as a matter of priority.
                                          grammes for staff and officials
                                          in public institutions.              Strengthening skills of standing
                                                                               committee members
                                     •	   Better remuneration for civil        Given that most of the technical
                                          servants, public-sector workers      work of a parliament is handled at the
                                          and research and education staff     committee level, targeting the com-
                                          in order to retain human capac-      mittee members for more training
                                          ity in Africa.                       makes sense. Training programmes
                                                                               should focus on issues such as:
                                     •	   A diaspora capacity programme
                                          that encourages donors and           •	   Reviewing legislation.
                                          international development
                                          partners to engage and use the       •	   Reviewing and approving the
                                          human capital of the African              budget and expenditures of the
                                          diaspora for technical assistance.        government.

260   African Governance Report II
•	   Scrutinizing the government’s       new parliamentarians to familiarize
     activities, policies and pro-       them with the general principles of
     grams, and assessing whether        parliamentary operation.
     they meet the intended objec-
     tives of legislation.               Enhancing the capacity of the
•	   Conducting investigations on        Despite the key role it is expected
     special issues and reviewing        to play in development, the execu-
     appointments.                       tive seems to be dogged with many
                                         problems. Many of the issues flagged
Strengthening technical and              in AGR I continue. Although the
professional support                     constraints discussed earlier may be
It is equally important to strengthen    observed in many countries, their
the technical support of the parlia-     magnitude and intensity vary. Hence
ment. There should be a research         it is necessary to domesticate solu-
wing to provide elected officials        tions to address the respective country
with the necessary briefs and elabo-     problems. But there are some inter-            Despite the
ration of issues under consideration     ventions that apply to all countries:          key role it is
so they can make constructive inputs                                                    expected to play
to legislation. The research wing        •	   Allocate sufficient resources to
                                                                                    in development, the
should be endowed with good docu-             enhance skills in policy analy-
mentation resources, a well-stocked           sis, in formulating, managing         executive seems
library and an Internet connection.           and developing programs and in        to be dogged with
                                              monitoring and evaluation.            many problems.
Strengthening relationships with                                                    many of the
constituencies                           •	   Strengthen the statistical office     issues flagged in
An important role for legislators             so it can generate reliable data
                                                                                    AGR I continue
is maintaining a close relationship           for informed decision making.
with their constituencies and gener-
ating consideration at the parliamen-    •	   Develop think tanks to broaden
tary level of issues that specifically        the sources of vital and credible
affect the people they represent. To          information for policy debates.
maintain a close relationship with
their constituency, the legislators      •	   Endow local governments with
need resources and logistics. Due             the resources to improve their
to a lack of funding, in many coun-           service delivery to the public.
tries this function is given only lip         Particularly, provide direct cen-
service.                                      tral government funding, then
                                              allow local governments the
Familiarizing newly elected members           flexibility to use it to enhance
with the working of parliament                their capacity for financial
Parliaments are elected periodical-           and fiscal planning and man-
ly. Turnover makes a training pro-            agement, policy and program
gramme for new members quite a                design, implementation, moni-
challenge. But regardless of cost it          toring and evaluation and
is important to organize training for         improved accountability.

                                                                     Building Institutional Capacity for Governance   261
                                     •	   Enhance the capacity of local             management and improve access
                                          governments to respond to the             to information.
                                          needs of the community, espe-
                                          cially in developing a partici-      •	   Provide continuous training at
                                          patory planning and budgetary             all levels to enhance the skills of
                                          process that involves communi-            the judicial staff.
                                          ties and other stakeholders in
                                          setting priorities and providing     •	   Provide convenient offices,
                                          oversight.                                court rooms, modern informa-
                                                                                    tion-recording and retrieval sys-
                                     •	   Improve the working condi-                tems and other facilities.
                                          tions and remuneration of civil
                                          servants to boost morale and         Enhancing the capacity of
                                          productivity.                        non-state actors
                                                                               Several measures can be taken to
                                     •	   Harness information and com-         boost the effectiveness of non-state
                                          munication technology to             actors:
                                          improve efficiency of service
                                          delivery.                            •	   In consultation with civil society
                                                                                    organisations, political parties,
                                     •	   Build capacity in the executive           community-based organisations,
                                          to manage the changing role of            the private sector and the media,
                                          the public sector in today’s world        devise policies and strategies to
                                          of globalization, the market              address their limitations in edu-
                                          economy, multiparty democracy             cation, skills, experience, organ-
                                          and information revolution.               isational ability and financing.
                                                                                    Non-state actors need skills that
                                     Enhancing the capacity of the                  will enable them to be effective
                                     judiciary                                      in policy formulation and imple-
                                     Several measures are recommended to            mentation, advocacy, negotiation
                                     overcome constraints on the judiciary:         and lobbying.

                                     •	   Bolster the independence of          •	   Enhance CSOs’ skills to par-
                                          the judiciary through legal and           ticipate in, and monitor, public
                                          administrative reforms.                   service delivery.

                                     •	   Provide the resources to hire        •	   Consider funding political par-
                                          more judicial and support staff.          ties to ensure that small parties
                                                                                    do not get discouraged due to
                                     •	   Improve the remuneration sys-             financial shortage. For democ-
                                          tem so qualified people can be            racy to thrive, the existence of
                                          attracted and retained.                   a vibrant multiparty system is
                                     •	   Implement a case management
                                          system and harness informa-          •	   Make Africa competitive. But
                                          tion technology to expedite case          today many African businesses

262   African Governance Report II
     are far from competitive. It is       that existing capacity is effectively
     therefore important to enhance        utilized and that an environment
     the capacity of the private sec-      that encourages capacity retention is
     tor to improve its efficiency and     put in place.
                                           But capacity building by itself is
•	   Attract foreign direct invest-        not enough. Capacity has to be
     ment. Although there have been        developed, effectively utilized and
     encouraging moves to improve          retained if it is to lead to appreciable
     the business environment, much        changes in African countries. An
     more has to be done.                  ACBF study observed:

•	   Improve the private sector’s               The availability and effec-
     competency for effective dia-              tive utilization of the requi-
     logue with other stakeholders              site capacity will determine
     in development, especially the             Africa’s ability to meet these
     public sector and civil society,           challenges in the 21st century.            Africa entered
     in order to influence the policy           What this implies, therefore,              the twenty-
     agenda.                                    is that sustained structural               first century
                                                transformation in Africa in
                                                                                        saddled with
•	   Improve journalists’ skills                the next two decades requires
     through support for appropriate            a significant leap in the quan-         many challenges.
     training.                                  tum of support and commit-              To address these
                                                ment to capacity building as            challenges,
Conclusion                                      well as reforms for effective           the continent
Africa entered the twenty-first cen-            utilization of such capacity            must tackle its
tury saddled with many challenges.              (Sako and Ogiogio 2002, 14).
                                                                                        capacity deficits
To address these challenges, the
continent must tackle its capac-           The lessons identified in a study
ity deficits. Africa’s brain drain was     conducted in the early 1990s by
not solely triggered by poor eco-          ECA on capacity development can
nomic conditions. It was also caused       still serve as inspiration as Africa
by political violence, repression of       continues to tackle its capacity-
human rights and the lack of a pro-        building challenges:
ductive professional and technologi-
cal environment (Sako and Ogiogio          •	    Capacity building requires a
2002). One way to abate the brain                comprehensive approach that
drain is to address its root causes.             addresses needs in all critical
Despite a hostile environment, some
skilled professionals opted to stick       •	    Sound and stable economic
it out, but the lack of proper capac-            policies are important for capac-
ity often leads to frustration, forc-            ity building.
ing people to withdraw and remain
inactive in spite of the critical skills   •	    National ownership of capac-
they possess. It is thus important               ity building and responsibility

                                                                         Building Institutional Capacity for Governance   263
                                          for its utilization is a necessary    •	   National efforts in capacity
                                          condition.                                 building should be complement-
                                                                                     ed by regional and sub-regional
                                     •	   While African governments                  activities.
                                          should be in the driving seat of
                                          capacity-building efforts, the        •	   Creating and maintaining a
                                          cost is so huge that they would            conducive economic and politi-
                                          not be able to achieve their               cal environment is critical for
                                          objective without substantial              capacity building.
                                          external assistance. Mobilizing
                                          the resources from both domes-        •	   All actors involved in capacity
                                          tic savings and external sources           building must agree on a mech-
                                          is needed to finance capacity              anism for coordinating and har-
                                          building and utilization. But              monizing their initiatives in a
                                          technical assistance for capacity          manner that can effectively push
                                          building should complement—                forward the capacity-building
          There are great                 not compete with or substi-                agenda (ECA 2006).
          challenges                      tute for—indigenous expertise.
         confronting                      This concern was expressed in         There are great challenges con-
                                          a recent ECA document which           fronting Africa and its international
      Africa. The first
                                          argues that “[w]hile foreign          development partners in promot-
      step in tackling                    assistance is highly necessary        ing capacity development on the
      those challenges                    and desirable, African states         continent. The first step in tack-
      has to come from                    need to take the initiative, lead     ling those challenges has to come
      Africa itself                       and mobilize strong internal          from Africa itself—harnessing its
                                          efforts for capacity develop-         existing knowledge base, skills and
                                          ment. In other words, there are       diaspora human capital and improv-
                                          several capacity issues that can      ing the economic and social infra-
                                          be addressed with good plan-          structure necessary for institutional
                                          ning and strategy by African          and societal capacity development.
                                          countries. Even where external        While Africa tackles the problem of
                                          support is required, such must        brain drain, it should also take on
                                          be well-defined and focused in        the more serious challenge of brain
                                          order to ensure the effectiveness     retention, so people do not emi-
                                          of such intervention” (ECA            grate and there is a conducive envi-
                                          n.d.-a, 6).                           ronment for them to contribute to
                                                                                the development of their respective
                                     •	   An action plan for capacity           countries.
                                          building, with clear measures
                                          for monitoring and evaluating         Notes
                                          success, is needed.                   1.   According to Mohiddin, the defin-
                                                                                     ing characteristics of a capable state
                                     •	   It is important to forge effective         are constitutionalism, democracy,
                                          partnerships in capacity build-            intelligence, competence, legiti-
                                          ing involving the public and pri-          macy, flexibility and effectiveness.
                                          vate sectors at the national level.        A capable state is well informed

264   African Governance Report II
     and knowledgeable, legitimate and        Development: Definitions, Issues and
     firmly accommodated in society.          Implications for Planning, Monitor-
     It is capable of changing, adapt-        ing and Evaluation.” Universalia
     ing and adopting itself to emerging      Occasional Paper No. 35.
     challenges. See Mohiddin 2007.        Mohiddin, Ahmed. 2007. “Reinforcing
2.   See ECA South African National           capacity towards building the capable
     Country Report, 2007, Chapter 9,         state in Africa.” Concept paper for
     p. 6).                                   AGF VII.
                                           Mutahaba, Gelasi. 2002. “International
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                                                                        Building Institutional Capacity for Governance   265

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