Berlin, 21 January 2020: Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili, current Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy and former Vice President of the World Bank’s Africa division joined the DOC last night for our Meet in Mitte New Year’s Reception, which saw attendance from Transparency International founder Peter Eigen, and officials from the Nigerian Embassy.
Oby introduced her #FixPolitics initiative, stating that the absence of good governance is the main obstacle to development in Africa. Oby maintains that a main issue in politics in African countries is the tendency to only begin discussing good governance upon a government being formed. If good governance isn’t entrenched in the political atmosphere which gave rise to that government, then good governance will not be achieved. Thus, Oby insists it is politics that needs fixing, in order to guarantee good governance.
In her research, Oby looks at the “crisis of ownership and legitimacy of democracy” in Africa. She highlights that only 34% of African people are satisfied with the performance of democracy, embodied in the decline in voter participation in Nigeria and elsewhere. Oby states that the low figure of 35% voter turnout in Nigeria, in comparison to a global average of 66%, is a deep cause for concern. A critical aspect of that is that a large number of the population regard the benefit of participation in election as close to zero. The expectation in many countries in Africa, that democracy would aid the transition out of poverty, has not been satisfied. Indeed, Nigeria was recently designated capital of world poverty, overtaking India in the number of citizens living in abject poverty.
Thus, Oby calls for a rethink of the ineffectual governance model, which is causing the citizens of Africa to lose faith in democracy. This is in part, Oby states, due to the fact that politicians in Africa, behave like “market entrepreneurs”, and use politics as a vehicle for transactions in the benefit of the few, and not the many.
This is the reason why Oby has designed #FixPolitics as an analytically-based structural change agenda to address African politics and the issues of good governance.
Oby Ezekwesili spoke to DOC TV on the role of external actors in development projects in African countries:
Oby Ezekwesili on the role of civil society in ensuring good governance:
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