WATCH | Architecture of Government virtual conference
This three-day event, hosted with GAPP, featured panel discussions exploring the potential configuration of government to ensure delivery of a democratic administration's objectives
SA needs fresh ideas to improve the capacity of a state that is beleaguered by inefficiency and corruption.
Political leaders at present cannot drive and co-ordinate the activities of public institutions to realise the mandate of an elected government.
The recent Architecture of Government conference, hosted by the Government and Public Policy (GAPP) Think-Tank in partnership with Financial Mail, featured panels exploring the potential configuration of government to better realise a democratic administrations goals.
This virtual three-day event included discussions between prominent international scholars, practitioners and leaders in the fields of governance, politics and public policy. They included Achille Mbembe, Trevor Manuel, Angela Stent, Busani Ngcaweni, Yamini Aiyar, Hsu Huang and Omano Edigheji.
There were two panel discussions on the opening day.
The first explored historical legacies, colonial and postcolonial, that continue to shape the architecture of government.
The second panel addressed the state of executive branch leadership, focusing on the merits and drawbacks of presidential and semi-presidential systems, in post-Soviet states and in young democracies.
Watch a recording of day 1's panel discussions:
There were three panel discussions on the second day.
The first investigated the party-state model in China to see if any valuable lessons can be drawn from its accomplishments.
The second panel discussed the governance of metropolitan regions in Africa, a continent whose population is both growing rapidly and urbanising.
The third panel addressed the challenges of fiscal decentralisation in the global south, and the potential benefits it might bring in terms of reduced spatial inequality, and administrative efficiency.
Watch a recording of day 2's panel discussions:
The final day began with a panel discussion on asymmetric decentralisation, with an emphasis on the experiences of India.
The closing panel explored the politics of state reform: how can appealing lessons and ideas be turned into action? Here the focus was on whether and how a political project to improve the organisation and administration of government can be initiated and taken forward.
Watch a recording of day 3's panel discussions: