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Category Archives: Local government

The Central African Centre for Libertarian Thought and Action


CACLiTA known as the Central African Centre for Libertarian thought and Action is a Central African Region based think tank grounded on free market ideals and limited government. This think tank is envisaged to be headquatered in Yaoundé, the political Capital of Cameroon, though for the moment the team still works from home.

CACALiTA’s vision is to be the premier Centre for freemarket oriented and Liberal policy analysis, education and reform in the Central African region. Furnishing governments, organisations and indivisuals with evidence based policy alternatives is part of our vision.

The threaths which CACLiTA will face include intimidation from opressive government regimes in the Central African region who may view CACLiTA as a threath to regimes that have failed in spearheading development and in promoting the spirit of entrepreneurship especially in revamping the water sector, the air transport sector and the energy and power sectors in the Central African region.

CACLiTA’s mission is to advocate for free market ideals especially in the water sector, the air transport sector and the energy and power sectors. Of course CACLiTA aims to reshape policy in the above mentioned sectors by clamouring for a change in governance. Drawing on developments in other parts of Africa and the world to strengthen the political and economic atmosphere in the Central African region, especially in states like Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic,Gabon, Congo Brazaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo, is part of our mission.

CACLiTA seeks to reach out to policy actors in the public and private sector, politicians and academics. At a later stage CACLiTA will also reach out to university students in a bid to reshape thier thinking on how to influence policy in the above mentioned sectors.

CACLiTA thus intends to add value via workshops, the production of policy briefs and media debates by engaging policy actors from both the public and private sectors to brainstorm on how to improve the the water sector, the air transport sector and the energy and power sectors. In the long run CACLiTA will be able to influence the way politicians, public and private actors and academics think with respect to adequate privatisation in the water sector, the air transport sector and the energy and power sectors.

Our Team
CACLiTA has two major experts who have researched widely in the water sector, the air transport sector and the energy and power sectors. Chofor Che is the lead expert of CACLiTA who is a Cato Institute intern and currently an associate of the Africanliberty.org initiative, an African focused libertarian and free market initiative. He holds a Master of Laws and a Doctors of law degree from the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa. His works have appeared at AfricanLiberty.org, Le Martin, LibreAfrique.org, Next-Afrique, ContrePoints, Afrik-news.com and Algérie-focus.com. He was also a parnelist at the World Congress on Local and Regional Government Leaders which took place in Morocco from the 1 to the 4 of October 2014.

Ananga Ananga Micheal is a graduate from the US based Boston Law School and an independent oil and gas expert working as consultant for Cameroon based oil and gas companies. He has researched widely in the oil and gas sector especially in the Central African region. With such a rich pool of experts, CACLiTA is able to convey the message of improving the water sector, the air transport sector and the energy and power sectors in the Central African region.

Our Partners
CACLiTA will thus have the opportunity to collaborate with regional think tanks like the Ghanian based IMANI Ghana, AfricanLiberty.org, and the South African based Free Market Foundation. CaCLiTA envisages to organise workshops and student seminars with the Moroccan based LibreAfrique.org.
CACLiTA thus calls on all lovers of liberty and free markets especially those in the United States of America, Europe and Africa to join in the mission of CACLiTA. We will thus be grateful with whatever assistance including technical advice, financial and material assistance; you can give us to better the situation of the water sector, the air transport sector and the energy and power sectors in the Central African region.

 

A Quest For More Women In Top Management Roles In Local And Regional Governments In Africa, by Chofor Che, published at Africanliberty.org on 24 March 2014


The activities of local and regional governments influence the lives of both men and women in ways that are fundamental to satisfying basic needs and the quality of life. Men and women do not, however, enjoy equal access to nor have control over the basic services furnished by regional and local governments because women continue to be underrepresented in both political leadership and administration at the regional and local government levels. Yet local government most especially as the sphere of government nearest to the grassroots, is in the best position to include more women in top management positions in decisions made at regional and local government.

Although women make up over 50 per cent of the world’s population, they continue to be underrepresented as elected officials, voters and leaders at the regional and local government levels especially in Africa. The consequence of such a lacuna is that women do not have equal influence in policy making which affects their lives in one way or another. The involvement of women in top management and leadership positions at regional and local governments can have a significant influence on domestic policy especially issues which affect their families’ daily lives such as infrastructural development, sanitation, education and healthcare.

Elements that limit or facilitate the participation of women in political processes vary according to social or cultural conditions, economic situation, geography, and political context and systems. These elements commonly considered as barriers to the participation of women in top management positions in regional and local government affairs include outright discrimination and gender stereotypes. Other elements include, culturally prescribed domestic roles, lack of confidence, low voter education, lack of financial and socio-economic capital, ‘winner take all’ electoral systems, and political institutions that are not conducive in striking a balance between public life and family life.

Although internationally there exists a rights-based framework, which advocates for the equal participation ofmen and women in political decision-making, including at the local and regional government levels, progress has been uneven and slow. Despite various commitments like the Beijing Platform for Action and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) made by the international community to empower women via increased women’s political participation, the world average proportion of women in top management positions at regional and local government levels in Africa remains low.

Despite the low participation of women in top management positions at local and regional government levels, according to the World Bank, several countries including Morocco, South Africa, Ghana, Rwanda and Mali have made some progress. For instance women municipal leaders in Ghana took advantage of new opportunities to work together and formally organize themselves via the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)’s African Local Governance Program (ALGP). FCM and its African associates agreed to focus on gender equality and increase the participation of women in local government administration, in the context of working to achieve the MDGs related to women.

Rwanda is another African state which has taken long strides to ameliorate the situation of the participation of women at top management levels at regional and local governments. As part of the ALGP-supported workshops, participants from Rwanda tabled a report that found that women find it easier to approach women local and regional officials and women officials tend to attract more women to their community meetings.

Gender equality has been a priority of the Association des municipalities du Mali (AMM) since 2004, but until 2006 activities to promote women’s equality at the local government most especially were relatively unstructured. With financial support from FCM, 600 of the 720 women municipal officials from all regions of Mali came together to found AMM’s women’s caucus. The caucus created a structure which has focal points in each of the country’s eight regions and one at the capital, Bamako. A secretariat was also created to support its work. With a formal structure to guide its contribution to gender equality, AMM has been working with the central government on the municipal dimensions of gender equality matters, especially the fight against poverty and the right of women to own property. The existence of the AMM also allows women municipal representatives to learn from the experience of women in other parts of the world.

Men and women can best fulfill their personal, family and community responsibilities when they have equal access to regional and local government programs and services. It is thus germane for regional and local governments in Africa to be given an opportunity to comprehend gender roles and responsibilities, to recognize factors that affect gender relations, and to play a role in promoting gender equality via their policies and programs. Equitable access to programs and services at the regional and local government levels commence with measures to ensure equitable participation by men and women in consultative processes and local and regional government decision making at top management and leadership levels. Men and women need to beable to participate fully, allowing them to influence the outcome of decision-making processes and to play a substantive role in deciding on regional and local government concerns especially the allocation of public funds in order to reflect the needs and aspirations of both men and women.

– See more at: http://www.africanliberty.org/content/quest-more-women-top-management-roles-local-and-regional-governments-africa-chofor-che#sthash.6hiWQz0s.dpuf

 
 

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Vocational And Technical Skills In The Informal And Rural Sector In Africa – Chofor Che , posted at Africanliberty.org on 18 Feb 2014


The mismatch of skills in the informal and rural sector to the needs of the labour market in Africa has been identified as one of the reasons for serious youth unemployment and the continent’s underdevelopment. According to an African Economic Outlook (AEO) study, the most difficult areas for recruiters to have employees are those areas which demand technical qualifications, such as the oil and gas sector, the mining sector, the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, the manufacturing industry, the agri-business sector and the logistics sector. Most of Africa’s tertiary educational establishments focus on public sector employment rather than on the private sector labour demands. How can the continent overturn this impediment especially as there is much talk of Africa’s renaissance?

Graduates in the fields on humanities and social sciences find it difficult to get employed than those who specialize in the information technology, agriculture and the engineering fields. A 2013 Mo Ibrahim study shows that the social sciences and the humanities have higher enrolment rates and graduates. Those in the engineering, manufacturing, construction and agricultural sectors tail the list in terms of higher educational enrolment and graduation. Just 2 per cent of youth in Africa are studying agriculture and the continent is in dire need of specialists in these fields to move the continent forward especially as agriculture contributes on average 25 per cent of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Sub Saharan Africa has the lowest share of engineering graduates in the world. Natural resource sectors such as the mining, oil and gas industries employ less than 1 per cent of Africa’s workforce. Despite these disturbing statistics the continent suffers from serious brain drain because employment conditions in these sectors remain vulnerable.

An African Development Bank (ADB) study purports that in Sub Saharan Africa; non wage employment represents more than 80 per cent of total employment for women and more than 60 per cent for men. 9 to 10 rural and urban workers have informal jobs in Africa most of whom are women and youth. The largest employees in Africa are the retail, agriculture and hospitality industries which remain insecure. Almost 90 per cent of jobs furnished by the agricultural sector for instance are vulnerable.

There is therefore a need for joint efforts to make technical and vocational skills more appealing to African youth and women. African states in collaboration with universities and think tanks need to encourage enrolment especially at the university level for specializations like the engineering, manufacturing, construction, natural resource and agriculture sectors. Central governments in collaboration with regional and local governments need to make jobs for instance in the agricultural sector more secured. If these jobs continue to be vulnerable, African youth and women will not be interested in enrolling in areas like agriculture thus a lacuna in the private sector labour demands. As existing public and private employment capacity is too small, investing in the informal and rural sector can be seen as an opportunity if the challenges of wages and productivity alongside education and training are overcome as well. It is thus time for African states to rethink matching of skills in the informal and rural sector to meet the needs of the labour market in Africa.

– See more at: http://www.africanliberty.org/content/vocational-and-technical-skills-informal-and-rural-sector-africa-chofor-che#sthash.0mCUZZbA.dpuf

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2014 in Africa Development, Local government

 

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Rethinking participatory and decentralized rural development in Cameroon, By Chofor Che, 29 December 2013


On the 16th of December 2013, the Government of Cameroon and the African Development Bank (ADB) signed the second phase of the loan agreement termed the Grass field Participatory and Decentralized Rural Development Project (GP DERUDEP). According to the ADB, farmers of the North West region (NWR) of Cameroon are to adequately benefit from this loan. The total amount of the project is estimated at UA 25.600 million. The Government of Cameroon is expected to provide the remaining UA 8.80 million. As a continuation of phase one of the project from 2005 to 2011, it is expected that phase two will be carried out in areas of the NWR with strong production potential like Widikum, a sub division with a growing potential of palm oil production. Apparently phase two of the project is to affect 8 out of the 36 municipal council areas of the NWR. It is hoped that phase two of GP DERUDEP will improve on agricultural production especially the rehabilitation and construction of farm to market roads in the NWR.

The putting into place of phase two of GP DERUDEP has created mixed reactions in the state of Cameroon. Many are optimistic about the success of the project while a lot of Cameroonians home and abroad remain pessimistic about the project. During the weekly broadcast of Cameroon Calling, a prominent programme on political and economic developments in Cameroon on Cameroon’s Radio and Television Coporation (CRTV) on the 29th of December 2013, the coordinator of GP DERUDEP confessed that the State of Cameroon planned to also involve some isolated municipal council areas that were not involved during the first phase of this project; but the ADB imposed a road map for the realization of phase two of this project. All the same he added that concerned municipal councils will be involved as partners in the project especially as they will be called upon to also contribute some small amount of funding towards the effective realization of phase two of the project.

As a keen analyst especially on issues of decentralized development on the continent and in Cameroon in particular, in as much as the intentions of the ADB may be well founded, the impact of GP DERUDEP may not adequately address the concerns of the population of the NWR. First of all several inhabitants contend that several activities earmarked under phase one of this project were not well executed due to lack of technical expertise. Others claim that a lot of money apportioned under phase one of the grant has been siphoned by corrupt government officials.

Financial aid has never been a sustainable panacea for development in Africa. ADB loans and grants as well as financial assistance from other donor organizations have not adequately addressed poverty and development on the continent. Proof of this is that the United Nations (UN) is presently worried about the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on the continent by 2015 because financial assistance has proven to be inadequate for development of the continent. Rather than signing loan agreements, which will only enrich few corrupt officials, empowering municipal councils may be the way to go. Municipal councils definitely need to be given substantial administrative and financial autonomy so as to take charge of rural development. The country does not have an adequate financial equalization formula, which can curb the imbalance between rich and poor municipal council areas. A council like the Widikum Council in the NWR could benefit from training of appointed and elected staff on the conception and the management of rural projects especially in the production of palm oil. This municipal council as well as other municipal councils in the country could also reinforce the role of women in top management of their council areas. Job creation for youth and women should be a priority of such partnerships between international organizations, central governments and municipal councils. Cameroon is blessed with rich natural and human resources and does not have to rely so much on financial assistance from international donors. If only the state could take some of these suggestions into account rather than depend on foreign aid then the state would realize some improvement in participatory and decentralized rural development.

 

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Making local government in Africa more autonomous for the continent’s renaissance, by Chofor Che, 16 May 2013


There has been much talk on Africa’s renaissance especially by the World Bank and the African Development Bank. This renaissance is occurring in Africa while countries especially in Europe are still grappling with the effects of the global economic crises.

In 2012, the IMF stepped down its forecast for global growth and improvement for 2013 from 4.1% to 3.9%. According to the IMF’s updated World Economic Outlook, which is published twice each year, ‘Downside risks continue to loom large, importantly reflecting risks of delayed or insufficient policy action’.

Local government in Africa has a great part to play in the continent’s renaissance, but is not yet autonomous administratively and financially. Decisions which could have been taken by authorities like mayors are still taken by central governments.

Local government in Africa has a significant influence on the quality of life of the grassroots; especially as they are responsible for the provision of essential services like sanitation, health and water. One of the main reasons why local governments in Africa have failed in service delivery in the wake of the global crisis is because even though they have the greatest potential for being effective, they are the furthest removed from the central authorities and the donor community. Most local governments in Africa like those of Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic and Chad are yet to be administratively and financially autonomous. There is also little or no intergovernmental relations between local government and other spheres of government in these countries. Financial transfers from the central government to local government usually delay.

Many central governments in Africa have even resorted to slashing material resources and fiscal transfers to local government. Slashing local government transfers in the case of a fiscal shortfall means cutting back on essential services such as health care and quality water supply. In Swaziland for instance, supplies of anti-retroviral drugs to local government, has been slashed by central government as a result of the global financial crunch, especially as donors have cut back on the assistance they used to give to this country towards fighting the HIV/ AIDS pandemic.
It is time to reflect seriously on local government’s role in Africa’s renaissance. One of such ways is the twinning of municipalities in Africa as well as other parts of the world, so as to boost the participation of local government in issues traditionally reserved for central government like international business and investment. This would definitely entail lessening the numerous trade barriers that exists among African nations.

It is also important for the powers including administrative and financial powers of local government in Africa, to be constitutionalised. In this way, local government will be able to make effective decisions affecting the local populace in essential service delivery areas such as health care and water supply.

Autonomy to local government does not mean that there should be no supervision of this sphere of government especially by regional government. Local government should be supervised without any usurpation of powers.
There is also need for municipal personnel especially municipal executives like the mayors and municipal managers to be well trained and educated. The central government, the regional governments as well as other partners such as universities, need to join efforts to train municipal officials and executives.

There is also need for intergovernmental relations between all spheres of government in African states. If spheres of government in African states cooperate among themselves, the continent’s renaissance can be rapidly achieved, especially as ideas on budgeting; service delivery, as well as trade can be shared across the board.

Corruption is another canker-worm eating into the economic fabric of local government in Africa. There exist numerous anti-corruption measures including lengthy legislation on the continent, but the problem of effective implementation remains the greatest dilemma.

Africa’s renaissance definitely needs unified efforts from governments including local governments and a serious boost from free market engineers in Africa and Europe. Coordinated action with autonomous local governments in Africa having a legally defined role can speed up Africa’s renaissance.

 

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