The Southern African region faces many economic challenges that are adversely affecting its population. These include financial crises being experienced across the globe; increased unemployment for the region’s youth; rising inflation rates with almost all countries of the region recording double-digit inflation, pushing up the cost of living; the scramble for natural resources and land by developed countries, dispossessing local communities and stripping them off their livelihoods; climate change that is threatening food security, especially for pastoral communities among others. The economic governance program aims to contribute towards strengthening accountability, fair distribution, and sustainable use of resources as well as equitable growth.


The program aims to achieve the following specific objectives

  • To influence macroeconomic policies that promote equitable growth, human development and the fair distribution of resources, with a focus on taxation, trade, and investment
  • To support livelihoods and social and economic rights claims
  • To expose unjust influence on decision making and resource allocation and support initiatives that demand and promote transparency, accountability, prudence and integrity in public fiscal and financial management; and
  • To enhance natural resource governance that is responsive, sustainable, transparent and accountable.
  • To promote innovative and sustainable environmental protection and management through advancing women and girl’s inclusion and participation in natural resources management and environmental governance.


Desired Outcomes:

  • Innovation and Sustainability in environmental protection and management due to equity, inclusivity and meaningful involvement and participation of women and girls in natural resources management and environmental governance.
  • Ecological justice guaranteed for women and girl child.

Key Priority Areas

3.1 Macro-economic Policy (Tax Justice and Trade Promotion)

CIASA aims to influence macroeconomic policies to promote equitable, inclusive and sustained growth, human development, with a focus on taxation, trade, and investment. The portfolio supports capacity-building of economically marginalized groups to create a broader constituency of active and well-informed citizens able to identify linkages between politics and economics and meaningfully participate in both and also invest in existing and new efforts to reimagine Southern Africa’s development trajectory in theory and practice

3.2 Natural Resources Governance

CIASA supports efforts to ensure Southern Africa’s natural resources are managed efficiently and accountably to benefit those who need them most. This will be achieved through research and knowledge creation; enhancing community participation; building a transparent and responsive legal and policy framework; promoting access to justice; building capacity for citizens to engage more effectively in this sector; and increasing engagement on this issue at regional level.

The natural environment is also the world’s largest employer. More people all over the world make their living from environmental resources than by any other means. CIASA works with communities to restore environments that have been harmed, protect healthy environments, and systematically build good environments to make them progressively stronger and healthier. Healthy environments become even more important as climate change becomes more severe. Climate change makes poverty worse, makes life harder and more dangerous for those who are poor, and adds to existing problems like food insecurity and risk of disaster.

Fortunately, there are many easy and inexpensive activities that can be done to improve the environment. They provide a triple win by helping families become better able to provide for themselves today, securing resources for tomorrow and fighting climate change in the long run. This is what good development is about – using every opportunity to make today and tomorrow better.

3.3 Livelihood and Humanitarian Interventions.

Together, we can end hunger – even in hard-to-reach places!

Hunger and malnutrition remain the greatest challenges in Southern Africa and most parts of the world. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 795 million people, or one in nine, live in hunger. Poor nutrition is an underlying cause of approximately 2.7 million childhood deaths each year. In addition, 161 million children are stunted and 51 million suffer from wasting. Over the past decade, over 100 million people have been freed from the indignity of hunger, contributing to the near achievement of the hunger target set out in the Sustainable Development Goals. World leaders have committed to ‘end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture’ under Sustainable Development Goal 2, making our vision of a hunger-free world a global priority. CIASA aims to be a proven and dedicated partner in the global effort to end hunger. With food assistance CIASA aims to save lives through addressing the direct and immediate forms of food insecurity, while enhancing livelihoods, improving health and education, and empowering communities to become self-reliant. CIASA life-saving food assistance will target the most affected communities in Southern Africa. Its programs includes general food distribution, cash and voucher-based programming. These modalities support vulnerable group feeding, integrated school feeding, as well as Food for Assets and Food for Work to strengthen household and community resilience.

CIASA seeks to support efforts towards attaining food security by contributing towards improving the production systems of pastoralist communities in the region as well as efforts to support climate adaptation. This will be achieved through generating and sharing pastoralists’ own knowledge and in turn benefiting from scientific knowledge on climate change and its impact on pastoralism; increasing pastoral productivity and production; strengthening pastoral groups and communities’ capacity to influence and shape laws and policies supportive of pastoralist livelihoods and food security.

3.4 Sustainable and Inclusive Economic Development

Economic development is essential to CIASA’s goal of sustained well-being of children and women. When there is improvement in the conditions of economic justice along with positive change in parents’ incomes and assets, it paves the way toward enhanced household economic well-being. This means that families have the option to spend money on the things that impact their children’s well-being. CIASA recognizes that for children living in poverty, life in all its fullness begins with this sustained family well-being.  Economic development is not an end in itself, but an essential element for sustained change so that families and communities can create nurturing environments where children can thrive.   CIASA works to incorporate and strengthen economic development initiatives as part of its integrated programming approach. We know that without these initiatives, families could not send children to school take them for medical treatment or protect them from life’s risks. These conditions a secure income, the accumulation and diversification of assets, along with stronger and diverse livelihoods –build resilience in households, in the community and in the nation. This, in turn, creates the lasting change for children – change that unlocks potential, inspires hope and secures dignity long after CIASA programmers are finished.


CIASA’s economic development work engages government, market and community actors to improve families’ economic well-being so that they can spend more on healthcare, education, food, nutrition, etc. for their children. We do this, for example, by assisting entrepreneur’s access new markets, helping communities form their own savings and loan groups, and preparing adolescents and youth for economic opportunities.