A virtual academic program for African parliamentarians and their staff to analyze current trends, challenges, and innovations in the work of legislatures to foster democratic and civilian control of security sectors across the continent. Tools and techniques to bolster parliamentary oversight, accountability, and outreach efforts on defense and security are discussed throughout.
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Responding to the coups, conflicts, and other derailments of democratic processes in recent years, Africa’s 2022 elections are, in large part, an effort to right the democratic ship of state on the continent.
African governments are using the pretext of security to restrict digital communications and citizens’ rights. In the process, they are inadvertently contributing to economic losses and greater instability.
The recent rise in coups in Africa reflects a waning regional and international willingness to enforce anti-coup norms. Reversing the trend requires incentivizing democracy and consistently imposing real costs on coup makers.
Escalating attacks on communities in North West Nigeria by criminal gangs, including mass kidnappings of school children, exploit the limited security sector presence in the region.
China-Africa relations thrive on interpersonal ties of mutual dependence, obligations, and reciprocity that African elites tend to skew to their benefit at the expense of the public interest.
Sudan’s democratic transition is under duress as the military seeks validation for its hold on power via the reinstatement of a figurehead civilian prime minister.
Arms embargoes can be effective but require regional and international buy-in, adequate monitoring, and the imposition of sufficient costs on actors who evade the sanctions.
Russia’s strategic objective of degrading the model of democratic governance in Africa is frequently effected through the cooption of isolated African leaders.
Term limit norms in Africa have been deteriorating rapidly since 2015, reversing a positive trend over the previous two decades. This trend has important implications since longer presidential tenures are linked to increased corruption, reduced civil liberties, and higher rates of conflict. Even after term limit restrictions have been lifted, there is a pattern of incumbents manipulating electoral outcomes to stay in power. This reflects the declining popularity of these leaders and points to the self-interested motivations for their extended tenures vis-à-vis broader service to the public. It further highlights that the evasion of term limits does not happen in isolation but is part of a broader pattern of undermining the rule of law and weakening democratic institutions. Failure to reverse the downturn in respect for term limits risks bringing Africa back to an era of de facto “presidents for life” and one-party states.
African countries can negotiate a more equitable role in FOCAC, but this requires a more strategically focused approach, better coordination, and greater accountability to their citizens.
Stabilizing northern Mozambique will involve more than defeating violent extremists. It will also require rebuilding trust with marginalized and traumatized local communities.