Studies suggest that development in many African countries is impeded by difficulties to form stable governments and sometimes by repeated episodes of conflict. Prior scientific contributions attribute these challenges to historical factors like the slave trade and colonialism, but also to the challenges of improving state capacity and tax administration. Based on historically often arbitrary borders, many states are composed of a variety of regional and linguistic groups, sometimes with historical tensions between them.
Our project aims to better understand the challenges of government formation and compromises between different regional and linguistic (as per Ethnologue) groups. For that matter, we are gathering a new and comprehensive data set on all African governments after they became independent. We hope to help researchers, governments, as well as local and international private and public organizations to draft better policies and create institutions that are conducive to development. In addition to birth regions of government members, we are interested in their linguistic origin. Language is often an obstacle for the communication and can be linked to cultural differences.
To achieve this aim, we want to kindly ask everyone who possesses knowledge about particular countries and current or past government members to contribute to the project. The aim of such a “citizen science” approach is to make use of the important knowledge and information that individuals possess, instead of solely relying on few experts and their assessments. Any piece of information is important and helpful, even about a few presidents or ministers. We have created very simple participation forms that do not require any technical expertise, and can be filled out very easily and quickly.
The benefit of participating
The final project website will list all “citizen experts” who have contributed to the database to acknowledge your contribution, if you wish to be mentioned. Moreover, we will hold a lottery for all contributors with the chance to win 10 Amazon vouchers (each worth $US 50) or 1 brand-new iPad 2018, 128 GB.
You can choose the country on which you would like to contribute by clicking on the respective link below. Please consult the how-to guide to fill out the forms correctly or click here for information about Ethnologue.