May 25, 2021, is Africa Day, in which we commemorate the formation of the African Union and celebrate Africa, its cultures, achievements, traditions, and peoples.
This year, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, stressed the importance of Africa’s rich and diverse cultural and natural heritage when it comes to sustainable development and peacemaking on the continent. We too recognize the importance of sustainable development and of the continent’s many cultures.
We would also like to take the time to celebrate democracy in Africa at every stage of development and thank those who continue to push for better representation, accountability, transparency, and participation.
Around the world, Parliaments play a vital role, passing Bills into Law and overseeing the work of the Executive to ensure that at every point in time, “legislative intent” is strictly adhered to. In Africa, Parliaments have performed these roles with varying degrees of success over the years, but many have not taken the time to review their work, monitor laws previously passed to determine if they are achieving their intended outcomes and are still fit for purpose. In effect, most Parliaments, particularly in Africa, have not yet ventured into post-legislative scrutiny.
As we celebrate Africa Day 2021, the Parliamentary Centre has been reflecting on this challenge. The Centre’s contribution to instilling this new “culture” of legislative review on the continent is through an initiative to support the National Assembly of Burkina Faso to put in place mechanisms to effectively monitor the implementation of some recent legislation passed by the Assembly. The Centre is supporting the Assembly to “take a second look at” and review its work through some recently passed Laws. By doing this, the Centre hopes that we are sowing the seeds of what will become a “culture” of review that will eventually be embraced by most Parliaments on the continent.
We continue to believe strong democratic structures lead to better, more sustainable development outcomes and that better governance leads to stronger societies.
Happy Africa Day 2021 to the people of the continent and most especially to our many African partners in Parliament, Civil Society, and all other sectors.