Joaquim Chissano, Olusegun Obasanjo, Hamadi Jebali and Joyce Banda, Club de Madrid members and former Presidents and Prime Ministers of Mozambique, Nigeria, Tunisia and Malawi respectively, gathered in a two-day meeting to discuss existing good practices and transformative ideas to advance democracy in Africa, together with experts, civil society representatives, young leaders and other stakeholders from the region.
The conclusions of this Roundtable stressed that Sub-Saharan Africa has the capacity to accomplish its own development, retaining a huge potential for economic progress, but this needs to be done in the framework of democratic governance. Democracy in Africa must be built on local realities, promoting national ownership and social participation, and not only on foreign standards imposed from external forces. Furthermore, participants identified the importance of businesses and the economy as key players to consolidate and develop democratic governance. Infrastructure development, democratic resource management, strong institutions and transparency are fundamental in this process.
During the meeting, around 150 youth representatives met with African leaders to discuss youth´s perspective on the future of democracy in Africa. Joaquim Chissano, Hamadi Jebali, Joyce Banda, Abdoulie Janneh (executive director of Mo Ibrahim Foundation) and Roelf Meyer (Former Minister of South Africa) shared their experience in leadership and democratic governance. “The youth should not be conceived as the leaders of tomorrow. They should be the leaders of today”, said former president Banda.
This Roundtable discussion took place in Dakar, Senegal, on 21 and 22 April 2016. It was organized by the Club de Madrid, in collaboration with the African Governance Institute and the Government of Senegal, with the support of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, the African Development Bank, Trust Africa and the African Capacity Building Foundation. NGD regional partner, the Institute for Security Studies (Africa), and NGD global partners, the Bertelsmann Stiftung and International IDEA, also contributed to the organization of this meeting. The next steps for the Next Generation Democracy project in Africa include the development of a NGD Agenda for Sub-Saharan Africa, based on relevant research and the conclusions drawn from the Roundtable. The Club de Madrid, together with its partners, is currently moving forward in the preparation of this document that, through the identification of good practices and transformative ideas, will bring fresh air and inspiration to advance democracy in the region.