The governance of West Africa’s economy is intricately connected to the future of democracy, peace and stability in the sub-region. Natural resources play a major role as an economic mainstay in many countries. Corruption and lack of transparency and accountability constitute major bottlenecks to accruing benefits from the resource revenue flows to a majority of the citizens. Government – especially the executive arm – uses its enormous powers and authority to control and influence its other arms. For example, it uses the ‘allocative’ powers to control oversight functions of the Legislature/Parliament and ‘appointive’ powers over the functioning of the Judiciary.
West Africa is blessed with an immense array of mineral, oil and gas wealth. Sadly, the “resource curse” afflicting the region has meant that much of this fortune lands in the hands of too few. Natural resources can provide an economic mainstay in many countries, however corruption and lack of accountability constitute major challenges in translating these resource flows into equitably distributed gains for the majority of citizens. OSIWA has strategic alliances with international partners such as Transparency International, Publish What You Pay and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and local affiliates, including the Centre for Public Interest Law in Ghana, the Rice and Rights Foundation in Liberia and BudgIT in Nigeria. Our work in this domain focuses on increasing the effectiveness of natural resource management frameworks, supporting alternate (and creative) means for anti-corruption enforcement and enhancing citizens’ demands for accountability.
NATURAL RESOURCES GOVERNANCE
The peace, stability and democratic evolution of West Africa hinges greatly on the effective management of its natural resources. The sub-region is rife with abundant stocks of natural resources – from bauxite in Guinea, crude oil in Nigeria and gold in Ghana, just to mention a few. But profits from this wealth remain invisible and overwhelmingly unattainable to the vast majority of citizens. Resource management in West Africa is often riddled bysheer negligence, endemic corruption and complete opacity – carried out as much by multinational companies as by state actors themselves. OSIWA works to promote the adoption and implementation of frameworks, such as the African Mining Vision and the ECOWAS Mineral Development Policy, as well as engaging directly with mining communities so they are empowered to effectively demand for proper management of their resources.
PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY
Effective delivery of public services is critical to the realization of economic and social rights and curbing the growing inequalities in West Africa. Limited and poor delivery of public services has contributed to chronic poverty and underdevelopment in the sub-region. To effectively address these development challenges, an effective and efficient administration, as well as delivery tools and mechanisms are essential. OSIWA will work to address the quality gap in public service delivery in the health and education sectors, as it relates to the coverage, the quality and the accountability of state institutions. That means supporting organizations that monitor public expenditure, tackle corruption and abuses, as well as propose new financing mechanisms and delivery methods that meet the needs of the populations in a sustainable way.
Historically, the emergence of civil society in West Africa was seen as the answer by many to prosperity and ...