The Hanns Seidel Foundation West Africa (HSF) is currently engaged with projects in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Niger and Mali. The Hanns Seidel Foundation’s overall objective in West Africa is to contribute to decentralisation, civic education, the rule of law and conflict prevention. In order to achieve these goals, the foundation’s approach is based on two pillars:
Firstly, the HSF supports the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), an instrument for accountability and transparency which can be voluntarily acceded by African Union member States. The mechanism promotes the adoption of policies and standards aimed at enhancing political stability, sustainable development and (sub-) regional integration. The APRM process is currently at different stages in the HSF project countries; by providing platforms for mutual learning and the exchange of information, the foundation therefore tries to set benchmarks, create spill-over effects and promote regional integration within the mechanism. The foundation’s engagement in the APRM process is co-funded by the European Union.
Secondly, the foundation focuses on four thematic priorities in order to realise a greater inclusion of civil society on national, regional and local policy levels, and to support the creation of a democratic state under the rule of law. Through its support for local partners in their efforts to restore the fragile relation between civil society and government, the HSF contributes to the development of social dialogue and the promotion of good governance. Trainings on citizenship and civic education aim at the enhancement and strengthening of citizens’ capacities, empowering them to better participate in the political, social and economic processes of their countries. By promoting comparative analysis of constitutional mechanisms in West Africa, the foundation seeks to encourage a critical discussion on the status of the rule of law and its theoretical foundations. At the same time, HSF-supported research on security issues in West Africa provides policy makers with in-depth knowledge for the design of preventive measures on the national and regional level. Reforms in the framework of political decentralisation are meant to improve citizens’ ability to claim basic democratic rights, such as responsive behaviour to their needs, transparency and efficiency in public administration.