The post-2015 sustainable development discourse has emphasized the need for a more inclusive and participatory policy framework projecting the voices of the people in policy-making and implementation processes. Some commentators have argued that while the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have achieved some poverty reduction, the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should be better designed to enhance the living standards of the people. Yet not much has been done to create the necessary space for citizens’ voices to be heard.
This paper argues for a more rigorous insistence on listening to citizens’ voices as part of the development policy process. It begins this listening through an analysis of the most urgent policy priorities of Africans, as expressed in Afrobarometer survey data from 34 African countries. Analyses of differences by region, income level, and human development level provide useful insights for the development discourse going forward.