Megatrends will shape political authority in Africa for the foreseeable future. The continent's societies are becoming younger, larger, more digital and more urban. They need to adapt to the effects of climate change, placing new demands on their states and governments. Established elites and political systems are coming under pressure from social movements. These processes of change can promote democratic structures, but also autocratic tendencies. At present, the latter is the dominant trend in many states around the world. The majority of African countries can be classified as electoral or closed autocracies. Our research examines the conditions under which megatrends have an impact in either direction.
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.
Ethiopia uses formal social protection programmes as a political instrument. Some of these, however, have an adverse effect on citizens’ equitable access to resources. Integrating informal social protection platforms into the system could help reduce both societal grievances and state fragility.
For decades, policymakers have been calling to save Lake Chad. More recently, they have insisted the shrinking of the Lake was both the cause and consequence of Boko Haram. This narrative is not fully corroborated by scientific research and comes with risks, Vincent Foucher explains in this Megatrends Afrika Spotlight.
Globally, states’ climate commitments (nationally determined contributions) are insufficient to curb global warming. One major challenge is the scarce participation of local stakeholders in implementing them. Locally determined contributions (LDCs) can play a crucial role in enhancing participation, our authors argue in this Megatrends Afrika Spotlight.
African cities need to raise USD 20-25 billion investment in basic infrastructure and USD 20 billion for housing to accommodate urban growth. This brief explores how improving creditworthiness, strengthening subnational financial intermediaries and pipelines of transformative investments may support this.
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.