Posted by: isaac aggrey | January 9, 2013

3RD PILLAR – A FORCE TO RECKON WITH.

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The global economy has changed substantially over the last fifty years and over. Many countries including those in Africa have experienced rapid and sustained economic growth that has helped to improve the lives of many of its citizens.

These successes have been driven by a combination of sound economic policies implemented by governments as well as the recognition of the private sector as the key driver of the growth and development process.

However, despite the progress made, poverty and inequality remain a major challenge in many countries particularly in Africa where we have the highest concentration of poverty and inequality.

The world is continuously changing and new challenges are emerging such as climate change and those brought about by the global financial economic crisis.

One important lesson we have learned from the growth and development experience over the years is that sound economic policies and market oriented solutions, though important, are not enough to bring about the social and economic transformation required to improve the livelihoods of every one.

There are many socio‐cultural and political constraints that cannot be solved by the government alone, and the private sector is not well placed to address them either. In an effort to address these challenges, we have seen the phenomenal growth through technology to fill this “development gap”.

However, it is important to recognize that it is not just technology that can help to address these development challenges that continue to confront us. It is through partnerships and other citizen‐driven projects that have adopted business‐like approaches to solving the social problems that have succeeded in bringing about meaningful socio‐economic change in society and open government has managed to play a very critical role in the socio-economic transformation of nations.

Citizens especially the youth need encouragement, education, and skills to speak up and speak out, be responsible enough to engage with the government in participatory leadership in order to give a true meaning to democratic governance. They should be provided with an opportunity for involvement in public affairs, a means of political education and a channel for influencing public policy. Almost always, improvement comes through organized pressure from the civil society groups.

The more influence ordinary people have over government policy through democratic channels, the more likely government will reflect their concerns and aspirations, as well as meet their basic needs.

This basic democratic principle demands that government attends to people’s interests equally in its policy and administration, without favour or discrimination.

Public open debate should be established to deepen our democratic values. The democratic emphasis on this open debate assumes not only that there are differences of opinion and interest but that such differences have a right to be expressed and listened to devoid of partisanship.

This will ensure peaceful removal of politicians, policies and scrutinize the work of government by questioning officials, inspecting documents and cross-examining state personnel that have failed or outlived their usefulness.

In addition, public dialogue should aim to provide a source of alternative policies, reforms and a consistent basis for holding government to account.

Five important fields to consider:

The overall target of government development assistance is to ensure that those in poverty have the ability to improve their living conditions.

Five areas to be considered are as follows:

• Democracy, equality and human rights

• Economic development

• Knowledge, health and social development

• Sustainable development

• Human security

Government should also utilize resource persons who are successful in their endeavors such as parliamentarians, entrepreneurs, educationist, journalist, practitioners, scholars, engineers, scientist, bankers and motivational speakers to strengthen and help champion its course.

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