PTF Announces Establishment of New Affiliate in South Africa

The Partnership for Transparency (PTF) is pleased to announce the establishment of a new affiliate in South Africa – Partnership for Transparency Africa (PTF-Africa).

“To maximize our impact and ensure local ownership, we’ve recognized the need to establish a physical presence in the regions in which we work,” said Richard Stern, PTF’s president. “PTF already has three other affiliates based in Europe, the Philippines and India. These organizations are legally independent but closely integrated arms of PTF that enable us to better understand local contexts, issues and partners.”

PTF-Africa was officially registered under the auspices of three founding board members – Mervyn King, Carolyn Stremlau and Robert Hunja – by South Africa’s Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) in July 2017. The legally independent but closely affiliated organization will collaborate with PTF in its mission to support civil society organizations (CSOs) in Africa to develop innovative methods to improve governance, resource use and public service delivery.

“We’re approaching corruption on the continent differently. Rather than seeking to name-and-shame perpetrators, we want to help reduce opportunities for the abuse of power in the first place,” says PTF-Africa CEO, Sarah Little. “Citizens have a set of rights and responsibilities, including the right to participate in decisions that affect our communities, and a responsibility to help our leaders and public servants reach a higher level of integrity.”

PTF-Africa is expected to better support operations across the continent, following on past successes in Cameroon, Nigeria, DR Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Ghana, including PTF’s flagship Citizen Action Platform (CAP), an extension of UNICEF’s U-report program that serves as a mechanism for citizens to submit feedback and secure improvements in government service delivery at the local level.

PTF recently invested in the Municipal Council Business Management and Good Governance Fellowship [BMF] in Cameroon, run by IGI-FITCAM, by supporting an assessment of how participants applied what they learned about governance and legal and regulatory challenges in their daily work. We are actively developing a rule-of-law program and recently partnered with the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) in Malawi to develop a program for greater CSO engagement that will improve transparency and integrity in public procurement. PTF is also working with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to refresh its CSO engagement strategy.

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Study Points to Corruption as #1 Barrier to Youth Employment in Cameroon

Unemployment is one of the major issues inhibiting development of Africa’s young population. A PTF-funded report by the International Governance Institute in Cameroon reveals corruption as the #1 obstacle to youth employment and development.

The World Bank estimates that around 60% of youth are unemployed in Africa. Corruption is a major obstacle for many, diverting resources for skills training, stealing opportunities from deserving candidates, and exaggerating inequalities. Likewise, corruption undermines the rule-of-law that ensures accountability and transparency required for business growth. Without a clear understanding of laws, policies, and ethical practices, or what to do to defend themselves against corruption, youth are left unsure of how to tackle these challenges.

The Municipal Council Business Management and Public Service Governance Fellowship [BMF] brings together community representatives for small businesses and local governments in Cameroon for short training courses in project management and ethical business practices. It is operated by the International Governance Institute in Cameroon also known as the IGI-Focal Governance Team (IGI-FITCAM) with the goal of helping local authorities translate national development policies into better growth prospects for ordinary citizens.

The BMF program supports young public servants in the civil service and private sectors, unskilled small business operators and young entrepreneurs, who desire to improve their competencies in business management and local governance for the sustainable development of their communities. It was piloted with the Buea municipality starting in July 2016, training nearly 300 participants.

After witnessing program success, PTF provided a modest grant to IGI-FITCAM to document what the BMF graduates learned and applied in their daily work. This information is intended to identify the continuing challenges for young workers, especially in the informal sector and solicit suggestions for course update and next steps to take the program forward.

The study provided insight into the challenges for young people in Cameroonian society, who singled out corruption as the major challenge facing new entrants into the job market and public service. In fact, 89% of respondents said they had experienced or witnessed corruption of some sort while seeking employment. About 85% of participants who attended the BMF agreed their skills to deal with these challenges and nearly half strongly agreed that the program had a significant impact on social change in their community.

Some of the other issues facing new entrants into the public service identified, that will require training and learning on anti-corruption, as well as, legal and regulatory interventions to mitigate include: ineffective governance in public service; corruption in public service; harassment by employers; lack of self-confidence; godfatherism; absence of mentoring/coaching; sexual abuse; and tribalism and discrimination.

The results of the study are particularly important for PTF, IGI and its partners as we look into new ways of engaging ordinary citizens and public institutions to improve government performance. See more about our work with youth or donate to the cause.

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