Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has lauded Afrobarometer’s role in deepening democratic governance in Africa.
Afrobarometer is a pan-African research network dedicated to making citizen voice a key pillar of Africa policy making.
The Minister in a speech read on her behalf on Monday at the launch of the Afrobarometer’s 10th round of national surveys with a planning meeting at Ada in the Greater Accra Region, noted that Afrobarometer had proven to be part of the fabric of democratic development and governance through their quality of work.
The five-day planning meeting involves a series of plenary and working-group sessions to discuss and design survey instruments and methodologies, data quality assurance measures, and results dissemination strategies.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said their knowledge sharing in the research areas of democracy, governance and economic development had influenced policies and programmes by the various arms of government namely the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary, demonstrated through sharing of democratic experiences and technical cooperation among countries on the Continent.
“Conversely, the peaceful transfer of power in countries, including Ghana, coupled with increasing political participation, robust political institutions, and civil space for greater inclusiveness, has also impacted positively in the discourse by Afrobarometer,” she said.
She said Afrobarometer had become a household name in the Continent’s quest for transparent and accountable governance; adding that Afrobarometer, together with other research groups, continue to play a meaningful role in the political discourse by making people’s voices significant in policy initiatives and decision-making at the continental and global level.
“For African countries, including Ghana, the realities and preferences of her people have been brought to bear through outcome of surveys, which is a shining example of how research and data content could be utilized to transform our societies to meet the needs and aspirations of the people.”
The Minister said there was no gain saying that research and development were indispensable tools that could be deployed in the implementation of policies towards the achievement of flagship programmes, including the African Union Agenda 2063.
She said the deepening of democracy through participation in local governance, which had become prevalent on the continent through the concept of decentralization, leads to citizen participation and regular interface between elected local government representatives.
She said undoubtedly, decentralization increases the quality of citizen participation at the local level, especially in governance and economic empowerment.
The Minister said as a Pan-African Institution, Afrobarometer was intrinsically linked to the regional integration agenda being pursued by regional organisations on the Continent; saying the Institution should, therefore, play an advocacy role through economic linkages within the framework of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), whose Secretariat was also located in Ghana.
Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and a member of Afrobarometer’s International Advisory Council, reiterated that timely data was critical to the success of African development and policy decision-making.
Mr Joseph Asunka, Chief Executive Officer, Afrobarometer, said the Afrobarometer’s data were a public good, which were valued and used extensively around the globe.
“Core or institutional funding is critical to the continued production of these data, and I hope you
will all support us with advice and guidance on fundraising within and beyond the continent, including from private businesses that benefit or could benefit from the evidence we generate.”
Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Afrobarometer co-founder and Board Chair, said Afrobarometer was unwavering in its commitment to promoting and enabling evidence-based policy making in Africa.