Welcome to our research repository that presents our research, publications, occasional papers and reports.
Nigeria is grappling with both historic and recently self-inflicted difficulties in its anti-corruption war. Stumbling blocks have proliferated to thwart the effectiveness of government’s efforts to revamp institutions, tackle mismanagement and wilful theft from the treasury. The operational challenges span institutional weakness, defective personnel, disregard for due-process and a proclivity to create media spectacle to the neglect of serious anti-graft investigations. There exist legion political failings too, such as the government’s lack of political will, questionable sincerity and the naked politicisation which has created sacred cows whilst damaging President Buhari’s credibility. Analysts will likely look back in a decade from now and adjudge his floundering anti-corruption drive as a case-study in how not to combat graft. Click here to download
Nigeria has six geopolitical zones with a total of 774 local government areas (LGAs). Contrary to what obtains in most federal system, Nigeria’s 774 LGAs are listed in the Nigerian 1999 constitution. This renders the state governments powerless to abolish or create new ones without recourse to the National Assembly. The local government in a majority of contexts exists as the lowest tier of governments that act within powers delegated to it constitutionally or by directives of a higher level of government. It is meant to set the agenda and direction for growth and development in its municipality through the long-term planning and effective use of resources to benefit citizens. The LGAs are constitutionally responsible for deciding the needs of the community and providing services such as primary health care, waste disposal, creation and maintenance of markets, park lands and other recreational sites, etc. Click here to download
Africa’s agreement on a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) is aimed at delivering the largest regional trade liberalisation arrangement since the WTO. About 44 African leaders initialed the agreement in Kigali, Rwanda this past week with Nigeria surprisingly pulling out at the last minute. Given the abrupt withdrawal, debates have raged about the coherence of Nigeria’s economic governance. We engaged actively in the CFTA negotiations from its inception in 2015. So why has the country – standing to win much from the agreement – failed enthusiastically to sign up? One answer lies in our lack of a national economic vision anchored in sound analysis that involves government, citizens and corporates alike.
Crafted appropriately, the CFTA’s utility is incontrovertible, especially for the larger economies such as Nigeria. It will pool the strength of all 55 African countries with their 1.2 billion people and combined GDP of over $2tn. It promises expanded intra-African trade, boost to regional value chains and a qualitative African structural economic transformation. Less than one-fifth of Africa’s trade takes place among countries on the continent. Comparable figures for Europe and Asia currently stand at 67% and 58% respectively.
Nigeria’s foremost business figure, Aliko Dangote, averred recently the need for the Nigerian private sector to lead in formulating a national industrial plan that will transcend elected administrations. On the CFTA and our economic diplomacy, a similarly activist and disciplined approach by the private sector will go a long way towards orienting government’s external economic actions. Click here to download
When the just outgone US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson visited Nigeria recently, the August visitor arrived in Abuja with warning to African leaders about the dangers of China’s concessional loans to the continent. It seemed rich coming from the top US envoy in an era defined by Donald Trump’s doctrine of “America First”. Indeed, nearly two-third of Africans polled in a recent Afrobarometer survey take a positive view of China in Africa. This is contrary to Mr Tillerson’s call for Africans to be wary. Yet, his intervention should not be lightly dismissed, considering especially recent developments in the African energy sector. Sino-Africa relations is witnessing the consolidation of trends such as China’s enthusiastic building of dams without regards to their ecological or geopolitical impacts; a pervasive tendency to relegate Africa’s own labour from Chinese funded energy projects and other projects; and forward-looking agenda such as on sustainable energy featuring too scantily on the agenda of the China-Africa partnership. Click here to download
Nigeria should prioritise efforts to:
1.) Recruit a respected international official to help de-personalise anti-corruption work, build investigative capacities and inspire new ideas for professional and competent prosecution of corruption cases.
2.) Revamp and strengthen institutions responsible for policing transparency and good governance, including the National Assembly and the Nigerian Public Complaints Commission (The Nigerian Ombudsman).
3.) Restructure and streamline governance to promote institutionalised transparency, waste reduction and freeing up of resources for human development and inclusive governance.
Despite commendable successes such as Nigeria’s surge up the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking, its citizen are disillusioned with the President Buhari-led government and its unfulfilled promise of change and a stalling anti-corruption war. The country will emerge as the third most populous country in the world by 2050. Experts predict its youth bulge will yield dividends or become a risk. The quality of Nigeria’s governance will determine how well it navigates risks and leverage opportunities. Key to this is a radically new tack on corruption and a reset in leadership. Click here to download
In its effort to draw attention to governance improvements that can accelerate Nigeria’s tax reform, Good Governance Africa (GGA) commissioned a study to consider the nexus between taxation and themes such as political economy, accountability, transparency, responsiveness and public engagement. The study dedicated attention to this cluster of governance-related challenges in the Nigerian tax system. It culminated in the publishing of a book titled “Mainstreaming Good Governance into Nigerian Tax Reform” in 2017
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Mbizana Municipality Local Governance Report
10 October 2017
In this, Oliver Reginald Tambo’s centenary year, Good Governance Africa thought it fitting to pay tribute to this icon by pursuing his clarion call for “peace and prosperity for all South Africans”. We thought it most appropriate to commence our engagement in Tambo’s own birthplace of Nkantolo, a village in the local municipality of Mbizana, some 30km from the town of Bizana, Eastern Cape. We had substantial grounds for justifying this position, which are described in greater detail in this report.
The fundamental purpose of taxation is to generate revenue effectively, efficiently and fairly to finance public services. Nigeria’s governance challenges find expression in its weak tax administrative structures, regulations and enforcement procedures. This book, Mainstreaming Good Governance into Nigerian Tax Reform, shines the light on the key governance blockages in the Nigerian tax system and isolates them for in-depth analysis. It gives careful consideration to the interconnection between taxation on the one hand, and the challenges of accountability, transparency, responsiveness and political economy on the other. It examines the strategic steps to improve tax administration in Lagos State and Nigeria as part of the inter-related goals of good governance, revenue mobilization and funding sustainable development.
Tax reform has been ongoing in Nigeria since 2004 (and in Lagos State since 1999), but the changing orientation of Nigeria’s economy away from hydrocarbon rents increasingly underlines the urgency of the tax reform efforts. The study looks at the nexus between good governance and increasing tax revenue. It partly traces the country’s persistently low tax-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio (far below the sub-Saharan Africa average) to failure to zero in on the low-hanging governance reforms required to reboot the tax system and enhance its legitimacy amongst the public.
Presently, tax administrators in Nigeria are under intense pressure to grow tax revenues as governments at the federal, state and the local levels grapple with increasing social obligations coupled with dwindling oil revenues. Naturally, this process is easier if taxpayers willingly and voluntarily comply with their obligations under Nigeria’s tax laws. How to address the key stumbling blocks – particularly through interventions and changes of a governance nature – is the primary focus of this book. It outlines specific governance strategies that can help build on the pockets of progress so far achieved in tax reform, away from the technical preoccupation of existing studies. The book breaks new grounds in the tax debate by offering an iterative framework and actionable solutions to guide interested stakeholders in and outside government. This is needed as Nigeria embarks on the crucial tax reform steps that will be required to put its progressively diversified economy on a more sustainable footing.
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Perceptions of National Government Survey
The national government survey shows that nearly 79% of South African citizens in our research sample believe that the government is incompetent and corrupt, while more than 70% believe that the government has failed to generate employment.
South African citizens are seriously concerned about the quality of governance in their country, with some 60% agreeing that “people are giving up hope that the government will listen to them”. The most positive feedback was on pensions and social grants, the latter of which gained a 61.2% positive rating.
Government Performance Index
The Government Performance Index (GPI) is based on extensive information-gathering and statistical analysis, offering South Africa’s first complete overview of the performance of South Africa’s 234 local and metropolitan municipalities.
The GPI is based on 15 indicators across three categories: quality of administration, level of economic opportunity and the extent of service delivery. The data for the indicators was derived from various sources, Stats SA, National Treasury, Auditor General and the Extended Public Works Programme; and all indicators were equally weighted.
Download summaries and translations in all 11 official languages on
the National Survey and Government Performance Index:
Project on Land, Land Tenure and Restitution in South Africa – in comparative African perspective
Communal Indigenous ownership’ – some comments on recent court cases
Professor William Beinart, African Studies Centre, University of Oxford
Questions of land tenure are of great importance in South Africa at present and land issues as a whole have come to the fore, not only because land reform is perceived to be slow and relatively unsuccessful but because President Zuma has reopened the land restitution process.
Report:KG Education in Ghana
Good Governance Africa’s West Africa Centre commissioned a study in 2015 into Kindergarten Education, see the report “Ameliorating Strategies for KG Education in Ghana”. The report will provide a foundation for a colloquium in August 2016.