The North-South Institute



Do Legislatures Matter? Strengthening Governance in Africa

Dec 6 2012

A Roundtable Discussion

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The North-South Institute, Boardroom

Suite 500, 55 Murray Street

On Wednesday December 12, NSI convened a small group of parliamentarians, policymakers and practitioners to discuss the effectiveness of legislatures and how to improve governance in Africa. The discussion benefited from the insight of, among others, Senator Raynell Andreychuk, co-chair of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association, Anesh Maistry, Acting High Commissioner for South Africa, David Malone, president of IDRC, John Williams, CEO of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians against Corruption, and Joel Barkan, Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The roundtable contributors identified several important entry points for measuring legislative effectiveness, including the how legislative committees function, how legislatures are funded, and the role and characteristics of the Speaker.

 NSI will produce a workshop report in early January and a policy brief shortly thereafter. For further information, please contact Senior Researcher Jennifer Salahub


11:00 - Welcome and introductions, Joseph K. Ingram, President, The North-South Institute

11:10 - Remarks by John G. Williams, CEO, Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption

11:30 - Plenary Discussion

11:30 - Question 1: What do African legislatures do?

Introductory remarks:   Dickson Eyoh, University of Toronto (5 min)

Thomas Tieku, University of Toronto (5 min)

12:15 - Buffet Lunch

12:30 - Question 2: Do legislatures in Africa act as a check on executive power?

Introductory remarks:    Joel Barkan, University of Iowa/Center for Strategic and

International Studies (5 min)

Petra Andersson, The Parliamentary Centre (5 min)

13:15 - Question 3: What should be the measures of legislative effectiveness?

Introductory remarks:    Robert Rotberg, Harvard and Carleton Universities  (5 min)

Teddy Samy, Carleton University (5 min)

14:15 - Closing Remarks, Robert Rotberg and Jennifer Salahub, The North-South Institute

14:30 - End