The Centre for Democratic Development Ghana (CDD-Ghana) has observed that citizens’ access to information is a critical ingredient for consolidating good governance and rule of law.
It indicated that amongst the challenges to governance in Africa was lack of the citizenry access to information and data.
“Civil Society Organisations often face challenges in accessing information about the African Union platforms and processes, and compliance to Africa Governance Programme (AGP) Protocols is also inhibited by lack of transparency and access to information,” the CDD noted. .
Dr Kojo Asante, Director of Programmes and Advocacy, CDD-Ghana, made the observation at a five-day Stakeholder Engagement on Governance, Democracy and Human Rights in Africa.
The project, led by Afrobarometer together with four other institutions – CDD-Ghana, Institute for Development Studies, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, and the Laws Africa, sought to strengthen implementation of the African Governance Programme on democracy, governance, and human rights agenda.
It is being funded by the European Union to promote data-based advocacy and engagements among members of Pan-African Civil Society Organisations and African Governance Platform.
Through the Afrobarometer surveys, the project will produce data on African citizens’ perceptions on number of governance issues, including human rights, women and youth rights, corruption, and security which is the first of three convenings planned for 2022 with the second to take place in Cape Town in South Africa from October 3 to 7, and the final one held in Nairobi in Kenya from October 17 to 21
Dr Asante said both the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063 and the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals shared citizens’ centred approach to governance, however, challenged by declining coverage, quality, and frequency of publicly available data for key data categories in Africa.
“Coupled with this, there was a lack of awareness and visibility of the AGP Agenda and efforts to promote it but over decades, progress in democracy, good governance, and respect for human rights across Africa has been halting and as reported by Afrobarometer, Mo Ibrahim Foundation and Freedom House, there are concerns about regression in many countries.
“These concerns has been heightened as governments continue to claim extraordinary powers in the guise of responding to challenges brought about by COVID-19 pandemic and challenges with violent extremism and terrorism,” Dr Asante decried.