Non State Actors under the current ACP-EU cooperation agreement: A sectoral review of the Nigerian Context
AbstractThe concept of Non-State Actors (NSAs) is relatively new within the parlance of civil society organisations (CSOs) or Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) connotations. The term NSA emerged from the 2000 Cotonou Agreement which regulates the cooperation mechanism between the two groups of countries as it tries to expand the scope of coverage of definitions of CSOs and/or NGOs. Within this context, the place of NSAs in the socio-economic and political transformation of post-military Nigeria as from 1999 has become an issue of public discourse. On the one hand, government is wont to suspect the genuine intensions of civil CSOs whose claim to legitimacy looks tenuous in view of reported lack of transparency, accountability and internal democracy. On the other, the civil society groups accuse government of “hidden agenda” by surreptitiously excluding them from active involvement in development policy initiation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The need for partnership between the civil society and government is however underscored in various international instruments to which Nigeria subscribes. These include the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), and the Cotonou Agreement of 2000. A pattern of tripartite cooperation among the government, external development-support funding agencies such as World Bank and the European Commission is evident in the emerging trends. However, without adequate capacity for constructive engagement of state actors and appreciable resources for collaborative initiatives, it is apparent that little or no success would come out of ongoing efforts to make NSAs critical partners in the development process. Broadly, this paper sets out to provide a sectoral study on the NSAs in Nigeria. This paper traces the emergence of NSAs as the broadening of sphere of civil society partnering with state actors within the particular framework of the Cotonou Agreement. It then analyses the strategic position of NSAs and the antecedents to current mutual distrust between state and NSAs. More specifically, the paper attempts a conceptual framework of relations between NSAs and government/donor agencies, the nature and structure of NSAs in Nigeria, and the roles or expected roles of NSAs in the political, social and economic development of the country. Relying mainly on secondary sources, it goes further to classify NSAs in Nigeria and undertakes a broad review of NGO activism based on their focal sectors. A review of emerging trends and implications for NSAs is then undertaken before projecting into the future of NSA participation in development in Nigeria. We supported some of the ideas with analysis of a sample database of NSAs developed by collating different database available in the country. The paper concludes with some recommendations.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by EconWPA in its series Development and Comp Systems with number 0512025.
Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 27 Dec 2005
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