After the Summit, how to approach Africa?


Seventeen African countries were invited to join the virtual “Summit for Democracy” due to take place this week, including Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, notes Honorary Professor of International Relations at the University of the Witwatersrand.

All 54 member states of the African Union have ratified an inclusive Constitutive Act that implicitly condemns authoritarianism and explicitly affirms democratic goals, given operational meaning with the adoption of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, he writes for The Conversation. Beyond formal commitments to defend against authoritarianism, there is also persistent popular support for democracy throughout the continent. This is despite many often volatile democratic deficiencies.

Sudan battles to save transition

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok must pull off a political juggling act if he is to secure a civilian foothold in his country’s turbulent transition away from autocracy, Reuters reports.

Managing the transitional pitfalls in Sudan’s post-coup agreement is vital for the country’s stability, analyst Maram Mahdi writes for the Institute for Strategic Studies. For Hamdok, weakening the military’s governance role by constituting a technocratic government and cabinet devoid of anyone linked to the previous regime or military is a crucial step. Yet it’s a challenging task where the same political elite has controlled the space for decades, Mahdi adds:

Overall, all actors need to be more flexible while engaging and negotiating the fine print of the transitional agreement. A more pragmatic effort is required from the Forces of Freedom and Change, the Sudanese Professional Association and political parties to negotiate the concessions to be made. Simultaneously, for those leading the civilian demonstrations, a first step would be to identify and choose mediators at domestic, regional and international levels who clearly understand their objectives and won’t compromise the mediation effort.  

Afrobarometer ran a pre-Summit for Democracy series on African democracy on the Washington Post Monkey Cage blog, focusing on term limits, elections, corruption, and at-risk democracies, while “Africans’ perceptions of Africa-China engagement” was the focus of a webinar in the AB #VoicesAfrica series.

How should the Biden administration approach Africa? Moderator: Michael E. O’Hanlon. Panelists: Jon Temin, Director, Africa Program – Freedom House; Gemima Neves Barlow, Deputy Regional Director, Southern and East Africa – National Democratic Institute; DJ Switch (right), Fellow – National Endowment for Democracy; Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate for Africa – National Democratic Institute. Friday, December 17, 2021, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. EST RSVP


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