Provide examples of African regional professional associations considered effective. What explains their success and what role does leadership play?
This report provides examples of professional and academic associations
that work across three or more African countries, and that have some
evidence of success. Types of impact are varied, but are usually
identified as strong membership, attendance at national or international
meetings, awareness of the organisation in the wider sphere,
dissemination and uptake of publications, and connection or influence on
policy and policymakers. The report particularly tries to draw out any
impacts on governance in the wider public sphere, but most of the
indicators of success focus on inputs or outputs rather than outcomes,
and do not identify broader social or policy change.
Success factors identified in the literature include the following:
- The need for strongly committed individuals at the centre of the
organisation. Many networks rely on personal commitment.
- Personal leadership is mentioned regularly as necessary in developing
a network. Most networks rely on leadership by individuals rather than
leadership by a particular country.
- Connection or involvement of policymakers is often cited as a success
factor or key need for influencing governance outcomes.
- The quality of outputs is mentioned often by the health organisations,
as this contributes to credibility and their ability to engage
- The two law societies in this report both cite independence and
neutrality as important values for them, allowing professional
development free from politics.
- Regional structures are highly valued in this literature as a means to
share knowledge and build capacity, particularly emphasised in the
health literature because international collaboration is crucial in
Browne, E. Effectiveness of African regional professional associations (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 983). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2013) 11 pp.