Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) play an important and ever-shifting role in African politics and influence the power dynamics on the continent. A vibrant and functioning CSO sector is essential to African societies and their development in various ways, including lobbying for the protection of human rights, amplifying civil voices and acting as external oversight bodies, holding African governments to account. CSOs' influence on policy-making on the continent is essential as they represent the interests of various groups. One of the African Union (AU) organs that facilitates the involvement of African CSOs and, ultimately, the African citizenry is the AU Economic, Social & Cultural Council (ECOSOCC). Established in 2004 by way of Articles 2 and 25 of the AU Constitutive Act, as an advisory body to the AU, this organ provides a platform for representation and involvement of African CSOs in decision-making on the continent through influencing AU policies, programmes and principles. Key areas of ECOSOCC's work in this regard are upholding the principles and policies of the AU by advising on and evaluating these programmes; undertaking studies and making recommendations; and contributing to the promotion of human rights, the rule of law, good governance, and democratic principles.
by Professor Daniel Bradlow
In most rich countries the news that a mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is coming to visit is met with indifference. But, in most African countries the news can cause great consternation.
In November 2020, a report by the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE); Center for Human Rights (CHR); the Boston University Global Development Policy Center (GDP Center) and others found the SADC region could potentially attain full energy access and 53 percent renewable energy (RE) installed capacity by 2040 while on its way towards zero-carbon growth. The report estimated that $52.8 billion in investment is required to meet this target.
Dear minister Enoch Godongwana
As you prepare for your first budget speech we urge you to provide the South African public with a full picture of how the government has used the resources it has received from international financial institutions (IFIs) and to announce the establishment of a South African IFI engagement group.
Climate change is a devilishly complex challenge that affects all aspects of our lives. It affects weather patterns, biodiversity, access to and sustainability of water and land resources, air pollution, inequality, employment, industrial production, distribution and consumption, and migration patterns.
South Africa’s local government elections, to elect the municipal tier of government, are constitutionally mandated through section 159 of the Constitution of South Africa to take place every five years. These elections were scheduled to take place towards the end of 2021 and have been the subject of great deliberation in the nation. Conducting elections during a pandemic has been the subject of much debate on the continent and worldwide, with certain countries choosing to continue with elections amid the pandemic and others choosing to postpone their elections amid concerns of the risks involved. Nations on the continent that have held elections during the pandemic include Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda and Côte d’Ivoire. Given the extent of the risks of holding elections during the pandemic and mixed calls on whether to postpone or continue with elections in the nation, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa ordered an inquiry commission to determine the nation’s capacity to hold free, fair elections during the initially scheduled period in October.
Dr. John Henrik Clarke once remarked, “History is not everything, but it is a starting point. History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is a compass they use to find themselves on the map of human geography. It tells them where they are, but more importantly, what they must be.”
(By Professor Daniel Bradlow)
The COVID-19 crisis is one of many indicators that we live in dangerous and uncertain times. Others include the international community’s struggle to respond to technological and climate change, demographic shifts, growing poverty and inequality as well as increased global insecurity.
(Op-Ed by Solomon A. Dersso, Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights)
For this year’s Africa Human Rights Day, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights commemorates this landmark event under the theme ‘Human and Peoples’ Rights and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Protecting Rights for Building Back Better’. This occasion serves to deliberate on why and how respect for and protection of human and peoples’ rights offers the recipe for a successful strategy for building back better.
(Op-Ed by Marystella A. Simiyu)
The inability of countries to ordinarily hold elections and undertake electioneering is one of the many disruptions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.