Is the glass half-full or half-empty?
Time: 10:00 - 11:30
Venue: Bergen Resource centre for International Development Juss 2, Jekteviksbakken 32
Given the significant role that political accountability plays in assessing development prospects in Africa, it is vital to know how it is being understood and practiced there, how it may be strengthened from within, and what the challenges are for research in this area.
This presentation, which draws on research among parliamentarians in Ghana and other studies, disaggregates the concept with a view to better understanding the challenges facing elected representatives charged with the dual task of being accountable to the electorate and holding government leaders accountable. The main arguments are that (a) elected leaders are overly responsive to the electorate but fall short when it comes to answerability; (b) type of party organization matters when it comes to strengthening horizontal accountability; (c) the route to full democratic accountability is long and full of corners; and (d) a phenomenological rather than a positivist approach to the study of culture may help create a better understanding of the challenges in strengthening political accountability in Africa.
Göran Hyden is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida and has written extensively on issues of governance and development. His most recent book is African Politics in Comparative Perspective (2006). He has also served as consultant for a number of bilateral and multilateral agencies as well as governments and NGOs in East Africa.