State-private sector-civil-society partnerships and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) : a South African response

Ngwenya, Nomfundo Xenia (2001-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2001

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: As the regional arm of the United Nations in Africa, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is faced with the challenge of conforming to the broader agenda of its mother body while it simultaneously strives to be seen to devise solutions that are unique to Africa's development needs. This means that the ECA needs to find a way of striking a balance between the demands of international development trends and the viability of such trends for Africa. The United Nations, similarly to other influential multilateral institutions like the World Bank, has moved into the 21st century with the 'partnerships approach' to development. The central idea behind these partnerships is that of promoting active participation between the state, the private sector and civil society in contributing towards development. What this means, therefore, is that development is no longer viewed as the sole responsibility of the state, but rather calls for a closer working relationship between these three sectors. Given the fact that these sectors are at different levels of development in many African countries, with some countries not even having an active civil society, private sector or even a strong state, the ECA has to make sense of what exactly partnerships mean for Africa. This study is based on an understanding that if the ECA wishes to have an impact on the African continent, it will have to engage its Member States in order to develop a common idea and approach to the conceptualisation and implementation of partnerships in Africa. In light of this background, this study focuses on South Africa as a Member State of the ECA and one of a few countries that have a strong civil society and developed private sector. What is also significant about South Africa is the fact that a number of significant initiatives that involve both state and non-state actors have been evident in the period since the first democratic elections of 1994, thus allowing for an informed response from representatives of the different sectors. A South African response has thus been compiled from the six interviews that were conducted, two with representatives from each of the three sectors. Following from the responses, the study makes recommendations as to how the ECA can playa leading role in promoting partnerships in Africa.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Verenigde Nasies se Ekonomiese Kommissie vir Afrika (EKA), 'n streeksvertakking van die Verenigde Nasies in Afrika, staan gedurig voor die uitdaging om te konformeer met die breër agenda van die moederorganisasie, maar streef terselfdertyd daarna om spesifieke antwoorde te vind vir Afrika se unieke ontwikkelingsbehoeftes. Dit beteken dat die EKA 'n middeweg tussen die eise van internasionale ontwikkelingstendense en die toepaslikheid daarvan in Afrika moet vind. Net soos die Wêreldbank en ander invloedryke internasionale instansies, is die Verenigde Nasies se benadering tot ontwikkeling in die een en twintigste eeu geskoei op 'n vennootskapsbasis. Die onderliggende oogmerk van dié benadering is die aanmoediging van aktiewe bydraes tot ontwikkeling deur die staat, privaatsektor en burgerlike samelewing. Derhalwe beteken dit dat ontwikkeling nie meer gesien word as die uitsluitlike verantwoordelikheid van die staat nie, maar eerder as 'n funksie van samewerking tussen die drie bogenoemde sektore. Aangesien baie Afrika state hulself op verskillende vlakke van ontwikkeling bevind, tesame met die feit dat sommige nie oor 'n aktiewe burgerlike samelewing, private sektor, of selfs 'n sterk staat beskik nie, is dit die taak van die EKA om gestalte te gee aan die konsep van 'vennootskappe' binne 'n Afrika konteks. Hierdie studie gaan uit vanaf die standpunt dat die EKA alleenlik 'n impak sal hê as lidstate betrek word om 'n gemeenskaplike verstandhouding en benadering tot die konsepsualisering en implimentering van vennootskappe in Afrika te ontwikkel. In die lig van bogenoemde, fokus die studie op Suid-Afrika, as EKA lidstaat en een van 'n paar Afrika state met 'n sterk burgerlike samelewing en goed ontwikkelde privaatsektor. 'n Verdere belangrike dimensie in die geval van Suid-Afrika, is die aantal belangrike inisiatiewe wat gesamentlik tussen staats- en nie-staatsinstansies sedert 1994 aangepak is. Hierdie inisiatiewe het verseker dat verteenwoordigers van alle sektore 'n ingeligte benadering tot besluite rakende die ontwikkeling van die streek kon volg. Vir die doeleindes van hierdie projek is ses onderhoude gevoer - twee per sektor - ten einde 'n beter begrip te kry van die land se benadering tot vennootskappe in diens van ontwikkeling. As 'n uitvloeisel van hierdie studie, word 'n aantal aanbevelings gemaak oor hoe die EKA 'n leidende rol kan speel in die aanmoediging van vennootskappe in Afrika.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52461
This item appears in the following collections: