High-Level Policy Dialogue on West Africa: Rising to the Challenge of Consolidating Democratic Governance

The West African region witnessed steady progress in the transition from authoritarian/military regimes to democratically elected governments from the time of independence of its States. The transition into a multiparty system quickly transformed the region from being the coup d’etat belt of Africa into an example of a vibrant democratic system that can support wholesome and comprehensive socioeconomic development.  However, recent developments in the region have raised serious concerns about the future of democracy in the ECOWAS zone. The coups and countercoups experienced by some countries in recent years threaten stability and can reverse the gains made in democracy and governance within the region and in the continent.

In this context, the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) convened a high-level dialogue on the theme West Africa: Rising to the Challenge of Consolidating Democratic Governance, on 28-29 March 2022. Participants came from different countries across the West African region and included the Nigerian Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, former presidents, former vice-presidents, members of parliaments, ministers, ambassadors, heads of institution, and representatives of women, youth, and civil society groups. H.E. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, hosted the event at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Nigeria.

Participants sought to answer several questions, key among which was, “What is wrong with the idea and ideal of democracy and governance in the ECOWAS region and what can be done to achieve a progressive change?”

Among other issues, participants discussed:

  • General acceptance of democracy in Africa
  • Reasons for the crises in democracy and governance in West Africa
  • Inclusiveness of democracy and governance in West Africa
  • The need to take democracy beyond elections
  • Adapting democracy to the African context considering the African values
  • The need for democracy and governance to address the needs of citizens
  • Strengthening democracy and governance institutions in West Africa
  • Making democracy and governance institutions independent
  • Reviewing the roles of political parties
  • Establishing democracy and governance monitoring systems
  • Developing policy frameworks for the selection and recruitment of political leaders

Read the concept note here.

View event images here.

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About CoDA

Established in March 2009 as an independent and international but African-owned forum, The Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) identifies and discusses issues of importance to Africa’s development within a global context.

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