Project Description

Architecture of Government Conference

South Africa needs fresh ideas to improve the capacity of a state that is beleaguered by inefficiency and corruption.

Political leaders currently cannot drive and coordinate the activities of public institutions to realise the mandate of an elected government.

The Architecture of Government conference, hosted by the Government and Public Policy think tank in partnership with Financial Mail, explores the potential configuration of government to realise better a democratic government’s goals.

The conference will be addressed by prominent international scholars, practitioners, and political leaders in the fields of governance, politics, and public policy, among them Achille MbembePhindile Baleni, Angela StentBusani NgcaweniYamini AiyarHsu Huang and Omano Edigheji.

Day 1

There will be two panels on the opening day. The first will explore historical legacies, colonial and post-colonial, that continue to shape the architecture of government. The second panel will address 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.

Day 2

There will be three panel discussions on the second day. The first investigates the party-state model in China to see if valuable lessons can be drawn from its accomplishments. The second panel discusses the governance of metropolitan regions in Africa, a continent whose population is both growing rapidly and urbanising. The third panel addresses 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.

Day 3

The final day begins with a panel discussion on asymmetric decentralisation, with an emphasis on the experiences of India.

The closing panel will explore the politics of state reform: how can appealing lessons and ideas be turned into action? Here our focus will be on whether and how a political project to improve the organisation and administration of government can be initiated and taken forward.