By George Akeliwira
In September this year, I had the privilege of participating in the 2015 edition of the Good Governance Debate Series in Stuttgart, organized by CLEAN Africa and supported by the African Good Governance Network. In 2007, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), under the auspices of the former German Federal President Horst Köhler initiated an African Good Governance Network (AGGN) with a mission to foster academic collaboration between Africa and Germany and to support key players in the domain of Good Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Myself and three others represented the Brandt School. The other schools that participated in this year’s debate included the universities of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Lueneburg and Passau. We took part in a two-day debate training and were given twelve topics to study for the debate itself. Each school had to do four rounds of debates and the first two schools that scored the highest points would debate in the grand finale. The schools that followed with higher points would compete for a third position in the finals. The school that scored the least points was out of the competition.
At the end of the first phase of the debate, the Willy Brandt School and Uni Passau earned the highest points and went on to compete in the grand finale. Uni Lueneberg and Uni Stuttgart followed in points earned, going on to compete for the third position. Uni Hohenheim scored the least points and was out of the competition at this stage. In the finals, it was decided that Uni Passau won the 2015 edition of the GGDS. Of the three best speakers that were selected by the jury, two of them came from Willy Brandt and the other from Uni Passau. The Willy Brandt School had earlier defeated Uni Passau during the preliminaries, however, the tables turned in the finals.
Beyond the debating skills acquired during the training, I was also glad that a platform was offered to us to explore the impact of the EU development policy towards Sub-Saharan Africa, which is traced back in 1975 through the Lomé Conventions to the Cotonou Agreement of 2000 and most recently the thorny and controversial Economic Partnership Agreements between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of nations. The debate actually pushed me to do an in-depth assessment of the repercussions of the EPAs on SSA, particularly on food security. Most importantly, it has broadened my perspective on the EU’s development policy towards the global south. The experience was stupendous.
Guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr!