Civil society plays a crucial role in the improvement of social services in Africa

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African Governments dedicate a big share of current public expenditure – between 40 per cent and 60 per cent – to education, health and social protection. Nevertheless, the greatest part of the budget devoted to human development is not reflected in benefits for the poor. A conference on this subject with the theme “Governance Dialogue: Putting Accountability into Service Delivery” took place on May 30, in Marrakesh, Morocco, as part of the framework of the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

According to Halima A. Adan, representative of Asha Haji Elmi, founder of Save Somali Women and Children (SSWC) and peace process advocate, women have succeeded in establishing themselves in the process of poverty reduction in Somalia. She used the formation of a group to make women’s voices heard in order to establish and maintain peace and promote development as an example.

Thanks to the initiative, women were able to participate in the peace process negotiations. And they intervene extensively in the education and health sectors. “Women negotiate daily at all levels” and the fact that they usually manage ample family networks and community ties makes them an asset in the peace negotiations, she said.

The efforts concerning good governance in Liberia were highlighted by Josie Stewart, former advisor to Tony Blair, with a roadmap to the social sectors. As for Ndoumbé Lobé, Director of the AfDB’s Economic and Financial Governance Department, he recalled the emphasis the Bank places on the improvement of governance. This is consistent with the requests from the African countries. Overall, the discussions were rich and demonstrated the importance of the Civil Society Organizations in the delivery of services in a responsible way that benefits the population.