Originally published on the EU Institute for Security Studies site.
› This policy Brief opens the EUISS Imagine Africa series, which provides a platform for African experts to do foresight analysis on priority areas for Africa-Europe cooperation. The first cycle (2021-2022) focuses on the theme of ‘people-centered development’.
› African people demand self-sufficiency and autonomy, as well as democracy and transparent, accountable and responsive governance. However, African decision-makers are not always receptive to citizen engagement, according to Afrobarometer surveys.
› Not harnessing the energy and will of citizens deprives African countries of input legitimacy and valuable political, social and financial capital that is vital to achieve core development goals and solve problems. Countries where citizen engagement is higher show greater optimism about the future and deliver better policy outcomes.
› Strengthening government transparency and building a collaborative relationship between citizens and the state can yield significant returns, allowing African countries to implement a new, people-driven approach to development. This could be a priority for international and EU support.