Political delegations from seven African countries met on 5 June in Berlin with German experts from politics, academia and administration to exchange views on German municipal financial equalisation and various approaches to citizen participation and to stimulate their own reform processes. The Cameroonian moderator and governance expert Kah Walla moderated the event with a lot of expertise and verve.
168 participants had taken up the invitation of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to join the FSRP’s (Advisory Fund for Structural and Regulatory Policy Reforms) annual meeting at the Bremen Representation in Berlin. In its new phase, starting in October 2019, the FSRP - the future "Governance Fund" – will further expand the network of high-ranking German and African experts, identifying potential for cooperation with partner countries and providing tailor-made advisory services and exchange formats.
In her opening speech, Dr. Maria Flachsbart, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), emphasised that the worldwide exchange of knowledge and experience is very important for achieving the sustainable development goals. The network of German experts, set up by the FSRP, enables a unique exchange at eye level on the subject of good governance.
"Good governance is a core concern of many African governments. Good governance brings the state to the citizen and puts it at the service of development. Good governance is also the basis for domestic and foreign investment," explained Madagascar's Interior Minister Tianarivelo Razafimahefa in his opening speech, thus underlining the interest in cooperation with Germany. He also emphasized the importance of the experts present as essential for global development and a vibrant democracy.
Dr. Obiageli "Oby" Ezekwesili, former vice-president of the World Bank for Africa, former presidential candidate of Nigeria, former education minister of Nigeria and co-founder of Transparency International, among others, made a striking keynote speech on Africa's structural development problems and pointed the way to an ambitious reform agenda for a future Africa. Good governance includes transparency, accountability, equality and justice, participation, representation, rule of law, effectiveness and efficiency. Despite the current rampant corruption in many African countries, she is convinced that young people, especially women, will work for radical and urgent improvements in governance and change the continent's political landscape. With its partnership with Africa, Germany is demonstrating a global leadership role that she very much welcomes. For Africa, Germany will remain an example of political and economic stability as well as a strong ally.
Subsequently, representatives of the delegations from Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa presented their respective reform processes in a panel discussion and discussed common challenges and approaches.
The afternoon was devoted entirely to the further exchange of experts: Jens Bullerjahn, former Finance Minister of Saxony-Anhalt, and Michael Thöne, Managing Director of the Financial Research Institute at the University of Cologne, discussed their study on municipal financial equalisation with the participants in the event and the Brandenburg State Secretary for Finance Daniela Trochowski. At the same time, Henrik Schober and Nils Napierala from the Hertie School of Governance presented new forms of citizen participation in Germany. In lively workshops, the African representatives reported on their experiences and, together with German experts, analysed which approaches, under which specific conditions, could make a meaningful contribution to their reform efforts.
"The conference has given our professionals the opportunity to interact with other experts not only from Germany but also from other African countries. This format has made it possible to speak openly about the respective problems, to learn from each other and to find better, adapted solutions ", said the Malagasy Minister of the Interior, Tianarivelo Razafimahefa, enthusiastically.
Karen Losse, manager of the Governance Fund, closed the conference and wished the seven delegations who, in addition to the network meeting, also attended specialist meetings with relevant institutions in and around Berlin during the week, a successful stay in Germany.
The network meeting marked the beginning of a structured cooperation between German and African governance experts within the framework of the Governance Fund. Further symposiums and tailor-made advisory services in partner countries on a broad range of topics in the field of good governance will follow.
Detailed conference programme [pdf, 347kb]
Keynote of Dr. Oby: GERMANY AND AFRICA: PARTNERING FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE TO THE TOP [pdf, 292kb]
Presentation: Achieving Success in Public Participation - a multi stakeholder perspective on the state of citizen involvement and participation in Germany [pdf 1,33mb]
Version française: Réussir la participation du public - une perspective multipartite sur l’état de l’implication et de la participation des citoyens en Allemagne [pdf 0,7mb]
Versão em português: Alcançar Sucesso na Participação Pública - uma perspectiva de diversas partes interessadas sobre as possibilidades da participação e envolvimento dos cidadãos na Alemanha [pdf 0,7mb]
Henrik Schober and Nils Napierala, Hertie School of Governance
Presentation: Local Finances and Municipal Financial Equalisation in Germany [pdf 1,7mb]
Version française: Les finances municipales et la péréquation financière en Allemagne [pdf 1,7mb]
Versão em português: As finanças municipais e o sistema de compensação financeira entre os municípios da Alemanha [pdf 1,7 mb]
Dr Michael Thöne, Jens Bullerjahn