Democracy in Africa

Cape Times (South Africa), March 9, 2007 | Go to article overview

Democracy in Africa


THIS week the rest of the continent joined Ghana in celebrating the 50th anniversary of its independence because March 6, 1957 also marked the start of the first wave of democracy which washed across all of sub-Saharan Africa.

Few would argue, though, that Africa has enjoyed far too little democracy since then. Ghana and most other democracies on the continent soon collapsed into military or civilian dictatorships.

After the Cold War ended, a second wave of democracy flowed more tentatively across the continent.

This one has gone better, though it has also receded or faltered in many countries.

This week, at a conference on electoral democracy in Johannesburg, many participants suggested that a new approach was needed to generate a third and more durable wave of democracy in Africa.

The conference was organised by the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa, the African Union and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.

The overall goal was to find electoral and other democratic systems appropriate to Africa's specific conditions. …

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