Megatrends Afrika Associate
Urban governance and democratisation, non-governmental organizations, civil society, project management in development cooperation, Africa south of the Sahara (Uganda and Kamerun),
as of 2022 Researcher at the Research Program "Inter- and transnational cooperation" at the German Institute of Development and Sustainability
2021 PhD, Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies, Radboud University, Nijmegen
2016-2021 Scientific staff and study programme coordinator, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, Kleve
2014-2015 Consultant for GIZ (Addis Abeba) and UNU-EHS (Bonn)
2014 MSc, Cultural Anthropology, Utrecht University
Collaborations between civil society organisations in the development sector are often driven by priorities set in donor countries. In this Spotlight, Megatrends Afrika talked to Margit van Wessel, Wageningen University, about ways to make civil society collaborations more equal.
The BMZ has presented its new Africa strategy. The strategy turns away from focussing on private sector development, our authors comment in this Megatrends Afrika Spotlight. It promises global structural policy and multilateral cooperation - and a more self-critical attitude towards development.
The working paper finds that urbanisation does not automatically lead to democratisation, but structures the way citizens relate to the state. While urban density facilitates collective accountability demands, the link between urbanisation and individual accountability relationships with the state is less straightforward. The reviewed evidence suggests that the force to reckon with is not the middle class, but rather the poor masses. It is not enough for governments to cater to the elites anymore, as the share of the urban poor becomes too large to ignore.
Urbanisation offers great potential for Africa’s economic and social development but the rapid transformation is also putting a strain on Africa’s cities. Citizens have long demanded participation in urban governance that goes beyond elections. Although participatory processes have become increasingly evident, they are still far from being institutionalised at scale. This policy brief argues that participatory processes need to be thoroughly embedded in politics in order to move beyond particularistic gains towards a structural improvement of relations between citizens, CSOs, and local governments.
Megatrends have become ubiquitous phenomena in public policy debates. A thorough understanding of what this concept entails is often missing. We address this gap by unpacking the notion “megatrend” and tracing the significance it has for understanding the transformation of African societies.