Tuesday, 26 November 2013

25 November 2013, Dakar – The overall continental framework for promoting, nurturing, strengthening and consolidating democracy and governance in Africa – the African Governance Architecture, also known as AGA, kicked off its 2nd Annual High Level Dialogue this morning in Dakar, Senegal. The opening ceremony took place in the presence of Mr. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, Mr. Pierre Buyoya,former President of the Republic of Burundi, Mrs. Aminata Toure.  Prime Ministers of Senegal, Mr. Edem Kodjo – former Prime Minister of the Republic of Togo and former Secretary General of the OAU, Mr. Anicet George Dologuele, former Prime Minister of the Central African Republic, Barrister Akere Muna, Chair of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) panel, Mr. Lebogang Motlana, Director of the UNDP Regional Center of Africa, and Dr. Vera Songwe, Representative of the vice president of the World Bank among others dignitaries.

Speaking on behalf of the AUC Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Dr. Aisha L. Abdullahi noted that AUC and its organs are committed to improving and accelerating democratic governance on the continent. She underscored that the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) is central to deliberations over the next days and thus urged Member States who are yet to ratify the charter to do so.  “The Charter has very specific provisions on access to and exercise of state power in accordance with the constitution of the State Party and the principle of the rule of law; separation of powers; and condemnation and total rejection of unconstitutional changes of government” she added. 

On the occasion, Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Director, African Governments/Institutions Liaison at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation Dakar Office, expressed his optimism noting the general positive trend on the continent. “Countries that have experienced overall governance improvement since 2000 are today home to 94% of people living on the continent.  The remaining 6% live in: Madagascar, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Somalia, Libya and Mali”.  Presenting the Mo Ibrahim Foundation report of year 2013, Mr. Janneh indicated that, “the largely positive trends at the overall governance level mask the differing performances between and within categories, and between countries.” Finally, he pointed out that the challenge is how to secure sustainable progress. “More than ever, equitable allocation of resources must be a priority for policy and decision making.” he said.

The President of the Republic of Senegal, Dr. Macky Sall, graced the dialogue not only with his presence, but also expressed his gratitude to the AUC for holding annual conferences on African democracy and governance.  According to him, although the instrument on democracy and governance are being ratified by the Member States, its implementation remains a challenge. He reaffirmed the commitment of his government to strengthening law and order, constitutionalism, as well as strengthening the norms and standards of the democracy and governance instruments. “ It is illusionary to talk about democracy and rule of law in a context where democracy is jeopardized” he underlined. The President added that “we have to do away with unconstitutional change of government while ensuring peace and security in the continent”

Dr. Aisha Abdulahi seized the opportunity to commend Senegal’s commitment to continental integration, unity and prosperity through strengthening governance and consolidating democracy is legendary. “This country has not only been central to the African Union agenda, but also was a significant role player in the crafting of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance whose norms and standards guide the AU and Member States in the promotion of democracy and good governance”.
The dialogue will continue until 27 November 2013.  It is expected to outline better ways of going about democracy and governance in Africa.  The High Level Dialogue is an annual event and is hosted by the African Union Commission in collaboration with the Republic of Senegal, and partners.