The role of civil society
286. The EU Strategy for Africa stresses the
involvement of civil society organisations in promoting human
rights and good governance in Africa.
287. James Mackie of the European Centre for
Development Policy Management noted that civil society has been
involved in discussions on the EU Strategy for Africa, and that
the EU has been supporting programmes to build capacity for this.
They described how civil society groups are increasingly being
involved in mainstream discussions on development and co-operation
with Europe. In this context, Europe refers to "non-state
actors", encompassing the private sector in this definition.
However, civil society groups have been disparate in terms of
focusing on the Strategy and the most dialogue has been between
the AU and European Commissions. (Q 177) Myles Wickstead believed
that African civil society was likely to feel largely excluded
from consultations on the Strategy. (Q 78)
288. The AU has been trying to engage non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) and civil society groups from across Africa,
including employers' federations, trade unions and Africans living
outside the continent. The involvement of civil society for the
AU is very new and dialogue remains primarily at governmental
level. However, the AU is aware of this deficit and that mechanisms
need to be found to involve civil society.
289. The AU ECOSOCC is an obvious mechanism civil
society engagement with the AU, although HE Alpha Oumar Konaré,
President of the AU Commission, has made clear his desire to find
other ways to involve different stakeholders on specific dossiers.
The European Centre for Development Policy Management stressed
the advantages of a thematic approach, such as discussions on
trade involving the private sector.
290. Implementation of the EU Strategy for
Africa should support the involvement of civil society in the
promotion of governance in Africa, particularly the role of African
civil society groups in helping to build African institutional
capacity in this area at national, sub-regional and continental