The Voice of CSOs: Engagement of CSOs in democratic governance in Cabo Verde

The role of civil society groups in governance has been a keen topic in the field of Social Sciences, more concretely in Political Sciences, ever since Tocqueville`s Democracy in America was first made known to the public. However, only recently, scholars – including African natives and others, have started to reflect on civic participation in Africa. This research aims at bringing some contribution to such reflection by studying and analyzing the engagement of civil society organizations (CSOs) in policy-making process in Cabo Verde. Engagement is here understood as an active and an institutionalized participation of civic groups in the policy-making and policy-implementation processes, at both national and local levels. The research builds on two main questions: How differently do political parties with different ideological orientations (left and right) engage civic groups in governance? Secondly, “To what extent does the engagement of civic groups influence government performance?”  The paper departs from two hypotheses as tentative answers to the aforementioned questions: The first hypothesis states that left and right wing parties have different preferences for institutional arrangements, which either favor or difficult participation of civic organizations in the policy-process. The second one argues that the level of government institutional performance is correlated to the level of engagement of CSOs in policymaking processes. The data to be collected and used for the purpose of testing these two hypotheses should be comprised to period that goes from 1991 to 2016, the democratic period. This research is a case study type. However, comparative method will be extensively employed for diachronic and cross-national data analysis (Lijphart, 1971).

José Lopes . ISCTE-IUL .

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