Agile governance for the ‘new normal’: Is Africa ready?

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Stellah Nambalirwa Lubinga
Norman Tafirenyika Nhede
Mary Mangai
Tafadzwa Clementine Maramura


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many governments opted to use agile methodologies to tackle various challenges. Policymakers did not follow the normal protocol of policymaking and governance; instead, they adopted a more agile policymaking process that deploys agile approaches such as policy labs, policy prototyping, policy stimulus and digital-ready policies.  In addition, health scientists were primarily responsible for most of the policies adopted during the pandemic.  This was a major change in the policy arena. All these changes gave birth to what is currently known as "agile governance". Although not new, this form of governance has taken the world by storm, especially during the pandemic. While other regions across the world have routed for agile governance, it is not clear where Africa stands in this debate. This paper, therefore, assesses Africa's readiness for the so-called "agile governance” as the new normal. Drawing from a qualitative desktop research based on an extensive literature review and a content analysis. The study findings reveal that the future and adoption of agile governance in Africa appear bleak. Unless some changes are implemented, Africa may continue to trail behind Europe and other world regions. This is because there are still many deterrents, such as a lack of efficient leadership, the bureaucracy dilemma, the skills gap, and the legislative challenge that the continent must deal with before even thinking of becoming agile. To remedy these challenges, we conclude that African governments adapt to change by employing flexible action plans like adopting a flexible blueprint to guide agile governance strategies; innovation; streamlining bureaucracies; reskilling current public servants, and creating agile mindsets.

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How to Cite
Lubinga, S., Nhede, N., Mangai, M., & Maramura, T. (2023). Agile governance for the ‘new normal’: Is Africa ready?. African Journal of Governance & Development, 11(2), 498-515.