Mission Statement


Mission Statement



The Consortium for Self-Governance in Africa (CSGA) is an association of teaching and research centers and research-action organizations dedicated to the study of Africa's governance challenges and promotion of self-governing institutions. Governance dilemmas at the local, national, and international scales have caused or contributed to violent conflicts, continuing human misery, and, in some cases, enormous human tragedies in contemporary Africa. Yet, African history abounds with examples of peaceful and productive societies. We assert that a major contributor to the current malaise is the nature of governance in post-colonial Africa. Centralized, autocratic regimes have typically stifled the ability of individuals and communities to fully utilize their potentials of becoming the engines of their own development processes. The Consortium's activities will focus on efforts to review and suggest ways to enhance the capacities of the peoples of Africa to design, craft, and strengthen their own institutions of governance, drawing upon the diverse patterns and cultural resources of African societies and upon those available to human societies elsewhere. By adopting a "bottom-up" approach to the constitution of order in Africa, the Consortium departs from conventional modes of analyses and establishes its uniqueness.


The Consortium's mission is, therefore, to contribute to the exploration and implementation of innovative approaches to the constitution of order in Africa. In so doing, it will build upon relevant ongoing enterprises in Africa and direct, but not limit, its focus to the following areas of concern:

  • Understanding patterns of indigenous, traditional, and local governance in Africa and their potentials for advancing democratic self-governance.

  • Understanding conflicts and conflict-resolution mechanisms of local, national, and regional scales.

  • Understanding the place of African languages in enhancing the constitution, and the establishment or sustaining of democratic orders in Africa.

  • Developing and strengthening public entrepreneurship through the generation of relevant intellectual knowledge that can help communities draw upon the best of their own traditions, while remaining open to innovation and change, and thereby strengthen their capabilities for democratic self-governance.

  • Exploring the possibilities of religion as a form of social capital that can enhance enlightenment and liberty, as Tocqueville put it.

  • Understanding the complexities of multiple forms of identity as they bear upon citizenship, identity, and collective action.

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