AU Watch

Research & Analysis

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude”.

Maya Angelou

There is a growing questionable narrative coming out from Africa – of a rising Africa at the cusp of success. This new narrative has been a counter narrative to the cliché headlines of the 4 D‟s: destruction, death, disease, and despair. However, is Africa really rising, or as blogger Sunday Khan  asked “Is this yet another example of overgeneralization and homogenization of an entire continent and its peoples?” With hundreds of thousands of its youths fleeing the continent for Europe and with thousands dying in the Sahara Desert and many more sold as slaves in Libya and the Maghreb who is this Africa rising for? See More

A 2017 AU Watch survey of youths in The Gambia and Senegal reveal that over 91 percent are willing to risk ‘backway’ travel to Europe to leave what many describe as a “hopeless Africa” – and these are the faces of Africa’s future!

We agree with the conclusion reached by Sunday Khan that Africa is definitely changing, but the unguarded and triumphant message of an ‘Africa Rising’ is too soon and ignores the huge human underdevelopment, poor governance, unbridled corruption, rising inequality, political instability, and unsustainability and economic risk that threatens the gains that have been made. Stamping out corruption is key to an Africa rising narrative, as well as getting millions of Africa’s youths into schools. The AU made 2018 a year for combating corruption. Did it change anything? In 2020, it is “Silencing the Guns” Do they really mean it? We intend to find out.

AU Watch founders perceived a growing need for independent research to generate practical, creative solutions to the challenges facing the AU. Corruption, bad governance, poverty, extreme inequality, injustice, insecurity, senseless fratricidal conflicts and human right violations are the defining challenges of our time – challenging not only the AU, but the world at large. We at AU Watch believe that if we act now to address these challenges Africa, and indeed the world will be a safer, fairer and more prosperous place!

Research and analysis underpin all that we do. We carry out independent and rigorous analysis of critical African, regional and country-specific challenges and opportunities related to the AU, its institutions and programs.We also provide research on political, social and economic policies and many other issues and themes defining Africa’s place in the 21st century. Our research is authoritative, providing strategic analysis and practical solutions to assist policy makers in both public and private sectors to achieve their goals.

We are aware that failure to base policy and programs on sound political, scientific, economic and social analysis can have unwanted consequences for whole communities. Growing inequalities, social deprivation, discrimination, hunger and disease are all caused by poor decision making and neglecting to implement evidence-based policy. We are renowned for our innovative and in-depth approach to research, our high-quality teaching and as a regional knowledge hub that transforms peoples’ lives through our ground breaking work. We engage the AU, its Recs and other bodies, governments, the private sector, civil society in open debate and discussions on the most significant developments on AU affairs. Our organizing power attracts African leaders and the best researchers and analysts in their respective fields from across the Africa and beyond.

AU Watch carries out extensive and authoritative research and evaluation in formats accessible to a broad audience. Using a range of mediums, including radio and TV we also carry out independent and rigorous analysis of critical African, regional and country-specific challenges and opportunities related to the AU, its institutions and programs. Research and analysis strengthens our work, helps us to evaluate our impact and reach and contributes to the exchange of policy ideas. Our broader goal is to achieve award-winning (news and broadcast) analysis and reports, papers, books and other research outputs that will be vital resources for leaders and policy-makers in government, the private sector and civil society.

Our research also aims to create an environment for change. We are aware that public policy can help reduce poverty prevent violations and promote more inclusive growth and greater social equity. We are of the view that strong, informed policies can help establish more stable economies with decent work opportunities for the poor, build peaceful societies, and advance development. But to be effective, policies must be supported by the citizens they are meant to serve. And they must be based on evidence.

Our work is underpinned by research, evaluation and analysis, believing that the derivative knowledge and evidence are crucial in shaping the changes needed for that vision of an Africa at peace with itself to be realized – an Africa that can assist its citizens and institutions navigate the challenges ahead.

For organizations working in and on Africa, we can design tailored research, analysis and strategic assessments to improve their understanding of complex justice, security, development and human rights situations and to increase their relevance and effectiveness on those areas.

In partnership with the University of The Gambia, we offer several popular certificate and postgraduate diploma courses in development and human rightsthat are integrated with our research activities. Some of our research addresses the complex and persistent challenges of (in)security, human rights, poverty, corruption, injustice, climate change and development. For example, our Policy Organs and Research Programme investigates how best to increase the legitimacy and accountability of public authorities in the areas of governance, security, and justice.

Crucially, we take multidisciplinary approach and work with hundreds of CSOs, organizations, schools, business governments and individuals around Africa and beyond which seek to see research applied in different policy areas and practice. Such collaboration allows us to build or consolidate partnerships with a broad array of actors with the ability to drive change in society. By sharing skills and knowledge this way we strengthen the capacity of many individuals and communities improving their ability to make informed choices to better their lives.

For more information about what our research offers, please consult our detailed research policy brief here.