125 years after the Berlin Conference: further cooperation is possible
September 27, 2017
Civil Society in Africa
September 27, 2017

Identities and Governance in Africa

Mapinduzi is a Swahili word meaning, social transformation or profound change. It is this name that the founding members have chosen to name this group which they consider as a think tank or a laboratory of production of ideas in order to contribute to the construction and the development of Africa.

At the beginning, Mapinduzi brought together men and women from the worlds of development, academics and researchers, and is now expanding to include people working in the media and political decision-makers. So far Mapinduzi has had some small funding from the Protestant Development Service, EEDGermany (today Bread for the World-EED). In its production strategy, Mapinduzi organizes workshops or meetings for the production of ideas and encourages its members and all those invited or involved to capitalize and write papers which are subsequently published according to rigorously selected themes. After his first two publications on the analysis of the context and the 125 years of cooperation between Europe and Africa, the third project focuses on identities and governance in Africa.

It is within the framework of the work related to this third theme that a workshop of reflection and exchanges was held in Dakar from 26 to 28 February 2013. The participants were from Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso , Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, DRC, Germany and Luxembourg. There was also a contribution from Sierra Leone. In this issue of the Cahiers du Mapinduzi 3, we want to share the texts presented and / or sent, highlights of the exchanges and discussions during the workshop. The following questions were put forward in Dakar:

  • How to best manage the virtuality of ethnic identity in the face of irreducible identities?
  • How to articulate identities in the identity of the nation-state?
  • What answers can be found for emerging identities (urban youth, mestizos, new villages)?
  • How to translate an African vision of governance in a globalized world?
  • What is the place to be given to information and communication techniques in building a consensual national culture?
  • How can national languages ​​be used as vectors of national and / or regional integration?
  • How can the consciousness of the public thing emerge?
  • Land is not traditionally a commodity. What is causing this situation to spread more and more?
  • Our cultures are increasingly confronted with a globalized culture. What are the consequences for the management of public affairs?
  • “The hand that gives is above the one that receives”: is the approach to support development actions not involved?
  • Public Security Service Offer Fails – How to Reform the Security Sector by Respecting the Values ​​of Citizenship?
  • Security policies in the perspective of integration and regional cooperation – How do we create policies that take account of this, in connection with the new phenomena of cyber-crime and interregional crime?

Three major conclusions which constitute at the same time fields of research and action have emerged from the debates:

1. The non-functionality and the decay of the State are essential factors in the exacerbation of identity conflicts

  • Imported and inherited systems of governance have failed.
  • Traditional forms of governance: do not mystify them or mummify them.
  • Do not look for models in the past, or abroad: it is therefore necessary to innovate (tinkering) from everything that is at our disposal.
  • The absence of appropriate resource management policies creates conflicts that are often defined as identities.
  • There is a need for reform and professionalization at the level of the State services.

2. We must start from the complex and multiple realities:

  • First to know them and to analyze them (by accepting what irritates us).
  • Take into account multiple accountabilities and diverse legitimacy.
  • Work on the relationships between decision-makers, institutions and populations.
  • Taking into account the multiple spiritualities and mimicry triggered by imports of all kinds.

3. We want to build a citizenship based on our multiple identities

  • Work on crossbreeding and roots (recognize new landmarks: Urban, new villages …)
  • What implosions for corporate defragmentation?
  • Nation or community of destiny?
  • Identify elements of mobilization of populations in relation to belonging to a space, a community, a State. Mapinduzi Unit intends to work on these points and to deepen the links with the field actions of each other.

Your comments and reactions are welcome

Download the PDF file on this link

Flaubert Djateng
Christiane Kayser
Bafoussam, Les Barthes, may 2013

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