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THERE Y OU STAN D, TRYING TO REBU ILD A NATI ON I N AN E NVIRO NMENT O F RAISED EX PECTAT I ON S AN D SHO R T PATIENCE, BECAUSE E V E RY ON E WANTS TO SEE C H A N G E TA K E P L A C E R I G H T A WAY. AFTER ALL, THEY VOTED FOR YOU BECAUSE THEY HAD CONFIDENCE IN YOUR ABILITY TO D E L I V E R – I M M E D I AT E LY. O N LY Y O U C A N N O T. NOT BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF FINANCIAL R E S O U R C E S , B U T S I M P LY B E C A U S E T H E C A PA C I T Y T O I M P L E M E N T W H AT E V E R C H A N G E Y O U H AV E I N M I N D D O E S N O T E X I S T. H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

O U R MISSI ON

A

S EVER, the leaders we work with at AGI are

this is Africa’s century, but that in order to meet their

the most eloquent spokespeople for why we

enormous potential, African nations need leaders and

do what we do. And it’s simple. We founded AGI with

governments which can deliver for their people.

a deep belief that one of the biggest challenges leaders face is not working out what to do, it’s making it

Things move so quickly for the countries we work with

happen in practice. And making it happen – whether

and for AGI as an organisation that an annual report, a

that means building roads or power lines, deliver-

year behind the times, can feel very dated very quickly.

ing vital public services like health and education, or

The report covers January to December 2011. This al-

creating an environment where businesses can thrive

ready seems a long time ago, so in this letter I have

and create jobs – is what will enable Africa to reach its

tried to give a flavour of what we achieved in 2011 but

potential, not grand visions and strategies. AGI works

also a little of what has happened since. Inevitably,

alongside African public servants from Chiefs of Staff

there’s only so much I can cover. But if you take away

down to junior analysts to build capacity and strength-

two things, it should be the sense endeavour and pas-

en the institutions needed to deliver the change Af-

sion of AGI’s staff to make government work for the

ricans deserve, with Tony Blair and other politicians

poorest people in the world and our humble pride in

working alongside the leaders themselves, offering the

being invited to work alongside some of Africa’s most

kind of support that only someone who has walked in

inspiring political and public service leaders as they

their shoes can. We do this because we believe that

strive to make the 21st century Africa’s century.


O U R IMPAC T 2011 WAS A BIG YEAR FOR AGI. Three years since

President and his top team, helping him to put in place

the organisation was founded, and with a proven mod-

the nuts and bolts of an effective Presidential office, to

el and results from our first two flagship programmes

define his key priorities, and to work towards legisla-

in Sierra Leone and Rwanda as well as early success-

tive elections which must be the next step in Guinea’s

es in our third project in Liberia, we took the decision

ongoing democratic journey.

to further expand our footprint in Africa and to take our unique approach to new partners. The rationale was

At the same time, AGI strengthened our longstanding

clear. At AGI, our goal is to improve the lives of the

commitments to Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Liberia.

citizens of the countries we work in.

To take just one example: AGI has worked in Liberia since 2009, focussing on building an effective Minis-

Effective government in Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Li-

try of State for Africa’s first female leader, President

beria has the potential to improve the lives of 20 mil-

Johnson Sirleaf. In 2011, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was re-

lion people. But across Africa there are a billion more,

elected in the second peaceful Presidential elections

400 million of whom live on less than $1.25 a day, most

since the end of the war. With the strong relationships

with no access to electricity or clean water. They want

we’d developed with the Liberian government, AGI

the same things we all do: a government which will

were well positioned to support the President and her

do what it can to make their lives better, and which is

team in developing a “150 day plan” to ensure that her

effective, honest, and accountable. Our motivation for

second and final term began with a strong commit-

growing AGI is to serve these people. So, during 2011

ment to changing the lives of the ordinary Liberians

we began working in Guinea, and laid the foundations

she cares about so much. With the second term now

for further expansion. Over the course of 2012, AGI

well underway, AGI has developed a new programme

will partner with six or more countries in Africa, with

with the Government of Liberia in which we will focus

more than 40 staff across the continent.

our capacity building support on the economic development goals at the heart of the President’s agenda

Guinea’s independence in 1958 was followed by two

- ensuring that Liberia can bring in the foreign invest-

generations of misrule and economic stagnation. But

ment needed to rebuild the country’s infrastructure

in 2010, the country held its first ever democratic elec-

and create jobs, and that the state can get the de-

tions. Alpha Condé, who had spent 40 years of his life

velopment benefits it expects from concessionaires,

fighting for democracy in Guinea, was elected Presi-

including from potential offshore oil. And at the centre

dent and sworn into office on December 21st 2010.

of government, AGI will support the Ministry of State

His in-tray was daunting. 80% of the country lacked

and Finance Ministry as they develop the processes to

electricity. Guinea’s vast mineral resources were

drive the implementation of the President’s plan to “lift

largely misused whilst the majority of the population

Liberians” over the next five years, including building

lived below the poverty line. Government expenditure

roads and bringing electricity to the people.

had doubled under the military junta which ruled before 2010, and the budget deficit had gone from 1 %

It has been humbling to receive requests from other

of GDP a year to 1% a month. The public finances

African leaders interested in AGI’s support. In 2012,

needed a steady hand. And alongside this, President

we have begun work in Africa’s newest country, South

Condé had to shepherd Guinea’s transition from au-

Sudan, following an invitation from President Salva

tocracy to democracy, reforming the security sector

Kiir. While there is huge optimism about the future,

and keeping the army in the barracks. The institutions

South Sudan is struggling to emerge from a protracted

of government were weak: as President Condé him-

conflict with its northern neighbour Sudan. It has the

self put it in the early months of his Presidency, he

highest maternal mortality rate in the world, and over

had “inherited a country, but not a state”. AGI were

a million children grow up without primary education.

invited to support President Condé and began work

There are just a few hundred kilometres of paved roads

in December 2011. We have had a team of three AGI

in a country the size of France. And its institutions of

staff in Conakry since then, working closely with the

government, including the Presidency, are being cre-


ated from scratch. AGI has begun to work in partner-

its own future and a belief that the AGI approach of

ship with the Government of South Sudan to explore

supporting leaders to deliver real change for their peo-

whether our support can help them as they build these

ple is central to achieving this.

crucial foundations of statehood. More recently, AGI had the privilege of beginning work with Africa’s second woman President, Joyce Banda of Malawi.

O U R P E O P L E , O U R PA RTN E R S , O U R LESSONS AT AGI, WE CARE FIRST AND FOREMOST ABOUT THE PRACTICAL IMPACT WE ARE ABLE TO HAVE ON THE GROUND. We pride ourselves on being an organisation that rolls our sleeves up and gets things done. But we are also deeply reflective and ever curious about what works in development and about our place within this landscape. We are committed to being the kind of organisation that learns from our failures as much as our successes, so that we can translate that learning into improved performance. In 2010 we began a strand of work to codify our emerging lessons and to share these as broadly as possible with practitioners and the wider development community.

Widening our impact while remaining true to the values

In 2011 we appointed the innovative firm, Agulhas Ap-

and quality which have made AGI successful thus far

plied Knowledge, to lead independent evaluations of

is a central challenge, and one we do not take lightly.

all of AGI’s programmes, and partnered with the UK’s

Every country is complex, its circumstances a result

Overseas Development Institute to run an event en-

of the unique twists and turns of its history. But the

titled “re-thinking leadership for development”.

countries AGI is starting to work with now are in many cases larger, more fragile and more recently emerg-

We ended the year by joining with Rajiv Shah of USAID

ing from conflict than those we began working with in

and three senior African ministers to lead a discussion

2008. However, we do not let this challenge daunt us.

at the High-Level Aid Effectiveness Forum at Busan

Instead we meet it with optimism, a conviction that

on the theme of “taking charge not taking charity: how

every African nation deserves the chance to determine

Africa can lead its own development”.


With so much happening in 2011, it should come as no surprise that AGI’s leadership team have focused on developing our organisational infrastructure, so that we can rise to the challenge ahead of us. We have renewed our focus on the building blocks of every organisation: brilliant people and sustainable funding. AGI’s people are a source of endless pride and inspiration for me. Over the past four years, we have hired

double to around £6m a year. In order to be able to

more than 100 amazing staff from six continents, with

respond to demands for support as they arise, rather

backgrounds in everything from Mumbai’s business

than as funding permits, we have established a new

district to the Australian government, from campaign-

“rapid action fund”, a pot of unrestricted funds which

ing global NGOs to top flight management consultan-

allow AGI to immediately respond to a request like

cies operating in London, Lagos and New York. What

that we received from the new President of Malawi, or

this diverse set of people share is a different perspec-

President Johnson Sirleaf’s call for support with her

tive on Africa, a view that development is something

150 day action plan. It is because we have funding

done by not to a nation, and a passion for rolling their

like this – as well as our more established, longer term

sleeves up and supporting leadership in some of the

partnerships such as that with USAID - that AGI can

toughest places in the world. As we grow, we need

move in hours rather than months to meet demand.

more such people, and I urge those of you reading this letter, whether you’re a senior civil servant in Paris or

If you are inspired by this message, and share our

a business leader in Lagos, to put yourselves forward

optimism that this is Africa’s century, I’d love to

or pass the message on to friends and colleagues. AGI

hear from you. We need you to take our unique ap-

– and Africa - needs people like you, people who can

proach to development to new countries. To staff

bring their experiences of the world to bear as they

our growing organisation. To share our results and

work shoulder to shoulder with African public servants

our impact with a broad audience. Without our sup-

in Conakry, Lilongwe, Juba, Kigali, Freetown and Mon-

porters, our vital work would not be possible.

rovia. On behalf of myself and our Patron, Tony Blair, At AGI, both we and the governments we work with owe a debt of gratitude to our funders, who have believed and invested in our different approach to development since the very beginning. Without their support, none of what we have achieved would have been possible. With our plans for expansion come even greater fundraising challenges for the organisation: over the two years 2011-2013, our budget will nearly

thank you!


MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR OF TRUSTEES I AM DELIGHTED TO BE INTRODUCING the Africa Governance Initiative’s third annual report. The countries of Africa summed up the importance of building effective government institutions in their submission to the global summit on aid effectiveness in 2011: “Capacity development is critical for achieving Africa’s renewal based on clear vision, strategic planning, effective and accountable leadership and capable institutions at all levels. It constitutes the ‘how’ for the continent to exit from aid dependency towards self-sufficiency and sustainable development” African Consensus Position on Aid Effectiveness, submitted to the high level forum on aid effectiveness The work of AGI in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Liberia has been focused in 2011 on precisely this issue: supporting African governments to build capable institutions which can implement reforms for the benefit of their people, ultimately reducing poverty and improving lives. Building effective institutions that will last is not easy, particularly in light of the complex and fast-changing backdrop against which AGI operates. As AGI takes on new challenges, either in new countries or in new areas of work in the countries in which we currently operate, there will inevitably be risks and challenges to overcome. Our focus as the Trustees of the organisation is to make sure that AGI continues to deliver against our charitable aims while managing these risks effectively. The Trustees would also like to thank our funders for their continued generous support without which AGI would not be able to achieve what it has. We also want to say a special word of gratitude to the Chief Executive, Kate Gross, for her energetic and purposeful leadership; the staff of AGI; and the partners they work alongside for their commitment, passion and professionalism –they are the people that make AGI’s work so special. Liz Lloyd, Chair of the Board of Trustees


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2011 Annual Report