CALL FOR PROPOSALS FOR THE THEME: MENTORING YOUTH (WOMEN AND MEN) TO BE CHAMPIONS OF GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT

Pour la version française, cliquez ici

AU-FLAGPursuant to the African Union Assembly Decision n°: Assembly/AU/Dec.277 (XVI) and EX.CL/Dec.539 (XVI) on the launching of African Women’s Decade (AWD) and the Fund for African Women, the AU is pleased to announce the call for the submission of project proposals under theme n°10 of the African Women Decade namely “mentoring youth (women and men) to be champions of gender equality and women’s empowerment” which content is as follows: “Energizing the African Women’s movement, and mentoring young women and men leaders and professionals, both in Africa and the Diaspora to be champions on Gender Equality and women’s empowerment”.

The implementation of the Decade themes is within the context of the integration of NEPAD into the African Union Structures and in line with Assembly Decision n° Assembly/AU/Dec.333 (XVI) to consolidate gains so far made and to achieve coherence. It also reaffirms African Women’s Decade to be the overall implementation framework for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) and the Fund for African Women’s Decade to be the vehicle for mobilizing resources in line with the Executive Council Decision EX.CL.Dec.539(XVI)(4) and calls for Development Partners support.

By this call, the Commission hereby invites members States and stakeholders to submit their project proposals on the Theme: “mentoring youth (women and men) to be champions of gender equality and women’s empowerment”. This Theme n°10 of the African Women’s Decade is seriously taken into consideration by the African Union Commission and is scheduled to be discussed at the 2017 AU Summit under the theme’ “Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in the Youth”.

Agenda 2063 has also given an important place to young women and men and according to its Aspiration 6, the Africa Union Commission aspires by 2063 to: “an Africa where development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African People, especially its women and youth…” This clearly shows the will and commitment of the African development actors to lay emphasis on Young women and men. This inclusive and people-centered approach can only be reached by empowering, mentoring and championing the young component of the African population. Agenda 2063 is Africa’s vision and roadmap for the fulfilment of Africa endogenous plan of transformation. Therefore, there is a need for African youth to be mentored accordingly.

The Fund will benefit young women and girls through grassroots initiatives, developed by:

  1. African Union member States;
  2. African Civil Society Organizations working on mentoring youth (women and men) to be champions of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
  3. Youth groups

Proposals will be funded for one year with a ceiling up to thirty thousand dollars ($30,000).

1-Criteria for the selection of project under the “mentoring youth (women and men) to be champions of gender equality and women’s empowerment” Theme:

The projects should be based on the African Union Agenda 2063. The Agenda works for a Shared Strategic Framework for Inclusive change for a better Sustainable Development, gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The project or programme should contribute to any of the following:

  1. Create environment where the African and Diaspora young women’s movement will find a platform to interact and bring paramount and valuable changes to the women condition in Africa;
  2. Sensitize and train youth about the drawbacks and consequences of exclusion, on the fact that no woman or man will be left behind or excluded, on the basis of gender;
  3. Demonstrate its commitment as People-centred and training youth about gender equality and Women’s empowerment.
  4. Engage and empower youth to be gender-sensitive in their approach for decision making, while targeting sustainable development;
  5. Boost African women’s incentives to create movements and initiatives aiming at fully empowering young women in all spheres, and promoting their social, political and economic rights, including the rights to own and inherit property, sign contracts, register and manage businesses, and accessing leadership positions;
  6. Organize the mentorship and championship activities for young rural women and men and create movements or cooperatives that will raise awareness on their rights; and help them have access to productive assets, including land, credit, inputs and financial services.

2- In addition to the above mentioned criteria, the selected projects should:

a) Set key mentoring and championing priorities at continental level, to accelerate gender equality and women’s empowerment according to Agenda 2063 vision which expects full gender parity, with women occupying at least 50% of elected public offices at all levels and half of managerial positions in the public and the private sector;

b) Promote the adoption of policies that ensure that the youth of Africa is socially, economically and politically empowered with full implementation of the African Youth Charter and subsequent Decade Plan of Action;

c) Work for the elimination of all forms of systemic inequalities, exploitation, marginalization and discrimination of young people and mainstream youth issues in all development agendas;

d) Lobby for the elimination of Youth unemployment in Africa, while guaranteeing their full access to education, training, skills and technology, to health services, jobs and economic opportunities, recreational and cultural activities as well as financial means and all necessary resources to allow them to realize their full potential;

e) Train, monitor and champion Young African women and men to be the path breakers of the African knowledge society and contribute significantly to innovation and entrepreneurship;

f) Guide Africa’s youth and strengthen their knowledge into creativity, energy and innovation for them to become the driving force behind the continent’s political, social, cultural and economic transformation;

g) Be committed to sensitize and advocate to increase access to Sexual Reproductive Health Services and Rights (SRHR) for young people in Africa;

h) Capitalize on regional youth consultations for a better understanding and ownership of Agenda 2063; i) Promote Young People’s Rights, particularly young women’s rights Towards the Attainment of Agenda 2063’,

j) Create a platform for aggregating youth concerns such as migration, employment and mobility, inclusion, diversity management and popular participation;

k) Train Young people to be active actors in governance.

Mode of application

  1. Submission of a brief and schematic Concept Note in line with the application characteristics provided (attached). The Concept Note should be in summary form to facilitate technical evaluation and provisional approval or rejection by the Steering committee. It should not exceed one page;
  1. Submission of a more detailed, well formulated project proposal, in accordance with the format provided (attached), which meets key operational, technical and procedural requirements required for the final evaluation of the proposal.

The application should include the following information:

  1. A one page synthesis of the Concept Note (attached), as follows:
  • Basic data (project name, management details, duration, geographical location, context and rationale of the project);
  • Description of the project (purpose, goals and objectives, expected outcomes, activities, indicators, beneficiaries, entities and partners);
  • A brief presentation of the implementing agency: 1) governance structures, financial management, monitoring and evaluation, and sustainability plans;
  • Names and contact details (telephone numbers, email, etc.) of signatories.
  1. Detailed project proposal: Refer to attached outline
  1. A page containing:
  • The detailed budget in dollars (US$) and equipment (available and required). Distribution: 50% for equipment, and 50% for training and general expenses. The Fund for African Women does not cover salaries.
  • Bank details of the organization;

All applications should include a letter of recommendation from national Coordination Committees or Ministries responsible for Gender and women’s Affairs. NGO’s and CSO’s, should provide a copy of the Letter of Information sent to your Ministry of women Affairs. All hard copies of applications should be sent through the respective Embassies of Member States in Ethiopia, with electronic copies submitted directly to the Commission, addressed to the Director- Women, Gender and Development Directorate, AU commission Fund for African Women, by April 15, 2017.

Kindly note that the commission will only accept proposals that adhere to the indicated theme.

This announcement will be posted on the AUC website http://www.africa-union.org

The detailed format in which concept notes should be submitted is available on the website in English, French, Portuguese and Arabic.

Member States and grassroots organizations with the requisite capacity, experience in networking with women’s groups, community cooperatives, the informal sector, and addressing gender inequality are encouraged to apply.

For further information or clarifications, please contact Mrs. Mahawa Kaba Wheeler, Director- Women, Gender and Development Directorate (WGDD), Tel: +251 11 518 21 12 – email: Kaba-WheelerM@africa-union.org; Mr. Adoumtar Noubatour, Senior Programme Officer, Tel: +251 11 518 21 11- email: adoumtarn@africa-union.org ; Mrs Fiorella De Pede, email : FiorellaP@africa-union.org. Tel.: +251115182115.

CLICK HERE to get all necessary documents: African Union Website

 

Africa’s global influence depends on youths’ voice

By Sekou Touré

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The annual Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa that was held in Ethiopia mid last month brought together African Heads of State and Government representatives, academicians and opinion leaders.

The theme “Africa in the Global Security Agenda”, was equally apt and timely. The informal nature of the discussions allowed participants to engage in frank and honest debates on the gains, challenges and possible solutions to peace and security issues on the continent.

The general consensus of participants was the slow but increasingly influential role of Africa as a key actor on the global stage within a systemic balance of power that is gradually shifting from a unipolar and towards a more multipolar system. This slow but steady rise of Africa is contrary to previous decades, especially during and in the aftermath of the Cold War era when the continent was viewed as a mere pawn on the global political chessboard.

The emergence of new economies, more so China, has presented Africa with more trading opportunities as well as easy access to grants with minimal pre-conditions.

In essence, the relations between Africa and its new “friends” have to an extent provided the continent with leverage on the global stage. This has been witnessed by power plays in the Security Council, in most cases mainly between China and Russia on one hand, and the United States and its allies on the other. The power plays have more so been with regard to key peace and security issues affecting the continent.

Despite the slight, but increasing assertiveness of Africa’s voice on the international stage, the continent still has a long way to go before it can forcefully stump its authority on key global institutions, particularly in the United Nations Security Council.

In light of these, one of the main challenges that came out during the forum was the lack of internal institutional funding for the African Union (AU) to effectively and efficiently tackle peace and security issues afflicting the continent.

The other hindrance to Africa’s voice on the global stage was cited as disconnect between the AU and representatives of the continent at the United Nations headquarters. This has led to conflicting diplomatic stand on various issues of interest to the continent.

Nevertheless, it’s important to note that the varied sovereign States across the continent have their own interest that they aim to protect and promote. Hence, unless the AU member states agree on and adopt a common supranational kind of foreign policy on major issues of concern to the continent, Africa’s stand on the international stage will be of less impact than other global actors and regional players.

Despite these challenges, the future of a brighter or bleak Africa depends more importantly on the political goodwill of its leaders to establish and strengthen fundamental institutions and organisations from the regional level, through sub-regional and national levels, to the sub-national levels.

The increased participation of youth in the discourse of key issues affecting the continent is likely to accelerate the attainment of Africa’s Agenda 2063, positioning the continent as an indispensable actor on the global stage.

In contrary, the continued marginalisation and disenfranchisement of Africa’s young population is likely to undermine the economic gains that the continent has gained over the last decade.

Article Previously published in Standard Media, Kenya

Opportunity: Call for abstracts: 2nd Annual Graduate Conference on Peace, Federalism and Human Rights

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The Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) annually organises graduate conferences on peace, federalism and human rights to give PhD students the opportunity to critically engage with current developments and theoretical issues.

The second edition of the graduate conference will be held on 28-29 July 2016 and will focus on the following broad themes:

  • Peace, Conflict, Human Security and Sustainable Development
  • Federalism, Management of Diversity and the Quest for Local Development
  • Human Rights, Democracy and Social Justice

Interested applicants who fullfill the requirements below can submit their abstacts.

Eligibility

The IPSS welcomes abstracts from PhD candidates, irrespective of nationality, field of study or institution. Candidates who have successfully defended their dissertation in the same academic year are also eligible.

Deadline

The deadline for abstracts is 1 May 2016. Decisions will be communicated to authors two weeks after the deadline. Authors of selected abstracts are required to prepare full papers (15 to 20 pages, excluding references) by 10 July 2016. Only authors who submit full papers will be invited to present their work at the conference.

Expenses

The IPSS will cover transportation expenses (air fare and/or ground) within Ethiopia only and provide a subsistence allowance for presenters coming from outside Addis Ababa.

Conference Proceedings

Presenters will be given the opportunity to revise their work based on comments gathered from the conference. The final papers will also be included in the Institute’s post-conference publication.

Contact: Send your abstracts and queries to Mr. Yonas Tariku (yonas.t@ipss-addis.org) and Mr. Fana Gebresenbet (fana.g@ipss-addis.org).

Source: IPSS website

5 reasons why YOU SHOULD know about the Tana Forum

This weekend, Ethiopia will host the 5th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa and here are 5 key things you should know about this policy dialogue:

  • Always franc and candid, the Tana High-level Forum on Security in Africa is at the forefront of initiating dialogue with the continent policy-makers and policy-influencers to exchange and debate on the continent’s peace and security challenges.
  • Tana is immersive. It marries the worlds of academia and research with real-world, real-time experience. In order to enlighten and educate, every Tana Forum is preceded by months of research on the year’s theme and culminates in an academic paper. The result? Action-oriented and policy-relevant discussion.
  • Over the past 3 years Tana High-Level Forum has attracted more high and mid-level attendees of any event of its kind on the continent. Under our “baobab”, the continent’s thought leaders not only talk to each other but with each other.
  • Did we mention that the annual Forum takes places in paradise? The beautiful of Bahir Dar hosts the participants every year on the shores of Lake Tana. We like to think that Tana is part of our DNA. “I’m very Happy to be given the opportunity to contribute to this Forum’s tradition of robust intellectual debate” Carlos Lopes, UN-Under Secretary and Executive Secretary of UNECA said.
  • Tana is streamed from various platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Youtube and the bilingual website: www.tanaforum.org

Go follow @TanaForum on Twitter to stay abreast!

Also check the FAQs about Tana Forum here.

Credit: Content by IPSS Communication Team

Appel à candidatures: Bourses d’études MASTER pour des candidats de la Côte d’Ivoire, du Bénin, Burkina Faso, Niger et Togo

La Fondation Konrad Adenauer offre des bourses pour des candidats ayant accompli leurs études d’un niveau licence/diplôme et qui veulent approfondir leur formation par des études du niveau master dans la sous-région.

Avec ce programme de bourses, la Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung soutient des étudiants d’un niveau supérieur et avec un engagement social ou politique exemplaire, et les prépare pour des futures responsabilités dans les domaines politiques ou économiques, dans la recherche ou les médias.

Conditions générales d’admission :

  • Etre admis à une formation du niveau master dans une filière en sciences politiques, économie, droit, sciences sociales ou journalisme dans un des pays de la sous-région (Bénin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Togo);
  • Les bourses d’études sont octroyées aux étudiants d’universités publiques et privées. Veuillez noter que la prise en charge des frais de scolarité est limitée;
  • Avoir des résultats universitaires supérieurs à la moyenne;
  • Démontrer des qualités de leadership;
  • Démontrer un intérêt politique vif et un engagement personnel au plan politique, social, ou autre, prouvé par une participation active au sein des partis politiques ou associations, des lycées ou écoles universitaires, des organisations religieuses ou sociales;
  • Adhérer aux idéaux de démocratie et de droits humains promus par la Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

Critères d’exclusion :

  • Tout dossier incomplet ou déposé après le 28 mars 2016 sera refusé
  • Les demandes de bourses pour une formation dans des filières dites «techniques» (médecine, pharmacie, génie civil, etc.) ne peuvent pas être prises en compte
  • Nous ne soutenons ni des formations en licence ni en doctorat
  • La limite d’âge est de 29 ans;
  • Des candidatures pour des études hors des pays du PDWA ne sont pas admises
  • Une nouvelle candidature de candidats ayant déjà été refusé n’est pas possible

Pièces à fournir :

  1. Le formulaire de candidature dûment rempli et signé en ligne avec une photo d’identité récente téléchargeable sur le site web (CLIQUEZ ICI pour télécharger le formulaire);
  2. Une lettre de motivation mettant en évidence la motivation pour le choix de la formation et son utilité pour un futur engagement en société ainsi que le choix de la Fondation Konrad Adenauer;
  3. Un Curriculum Vitae significatif et complet;
  4. Copie du diplôme de bachelier et copies de tous les diplômes universitaires et relevés de notes;
  5. Deux lettres de recommandation évaluant vos aptitudes académiques, votre personnalité et votre engagement politique ou social;
  6. Une preuve d’engagement social ou politique (cela peut être une des lettres de recommandation);
  7. Une preuve d’admission au programme universitaire choisi;
  8. Programme d’études détaillé avec indication de l’université choisi, précision du début des cours, de leur durée et un tableau récapitulatif des coûts associés;

Les candidatures doivent être envoyées en format PDF et en un seul fichier par émail à Valentin.Katzer@kas.de et info.pdwa@kas.de  .Des originaux ainsi que des documents additionnels, surtout des copies certifiées des diplômes, seront exigés sur besoin. Des dossiers envoyés par voie postale ne seront pas pris en compte.

Veuillez noter que seuls les dossiers de candidature complets et déposés avant le 28 mars 2016 seront examinés.

Une sélection initiale sera faite sur la base seule de la qualité des dossiers et la compétence des candidats. Aucun quota national ne sera fixé. Seuls les candidats retenus seront invités à un entretien à la Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. Le processus de sélection prendra plusieurs mois.

CLIQUEZ ICI  pour lire l’entièreté de l’appel à candidature

 

Call for articles: Youth and Governance in Africa

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Image Credit: 2015.icasayouthfront.org

The African Governance Architecture (AGA), Department of Political Affairs, African Union, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) invites researchers, academics, civil society actors, to submit articles or papers for publication in the maiden edition of the African Youth Journal of Democracy. The journal is published in furtherance of the African Union Agenda 2063 which promotes intellectual debates and knowledge sharing as key drivers of continental integration, prosperity and democratic development. The Agenda seeks to establish platforms for Africans especially young people to engage intellectual discussions that deepen democratization, rule of law, human rights, civic participation and development. The maiden edition of the journal focuses on institutionalizing the participation of women and youth in political processes in Africa.

Interested contributors are invited to submit manuscripts in the following sub- themes;

1. Party systems and electoral systems
2. Young women and political rights
3. Legal architecture of youth and women political participation
4. Youth leagues or young wings of political parties
5. God-fatherism and money politics in Africa
6. Social media and political socialization
7. Youth leadership and intergenerational dialogue
8. Youth, Electoral violence and radicalization
9. Civil society and political society relationship
10. Innovation in Political Governance
11. Youth, Elections and Constitutionalism

All submissions will be subjected to a review and selection process. Manuscripts must be typed, double-spacing with a minimum of 4000 words and maximum of 5000 words with references. References must be in numbered endnotes. Full-length papers must include an abstract of no more than 200 words and a brief biography of no more than 100 words. All submissions should be sent electronically to papers@ayjod.org as email attachment formatted in Microsoft word. All papers must be submitted in English or French. Research papers or articles submitted by young researchers of African descent will be given priority consideration.

Deadline for submission of manuscripts is October 31, 2015.

Authors of selected papers will receive logistic support to attend the Youth Consultation to the High Level Dialogue and the High Level Dialogue on Democracy and Governance in Kigali, Rwanda in November 2015.

All questions on this call should be forwarded to: Ibraheem Sanusi, Youth Engagement Lead, African Union Commission, sanusii@africa-union.org Or Samson Itodo, Head of Research, Policy & Advocacy, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement, sitodo@yiaga.org

Does holding on to power for decades make any difference to the well-being of citizens?

Over the past ten years or more, heads of states across many of Africa’s new democracies have attempted to modify their country’s constitutions to prolong their mandates. Today, in many of these countries – examples include Burundi, Rwanda, Togo, Benin and both Congos – discussions are heating up over whether term limits should be imposed. In past articles, I have made several arguments in favor of fixed terms. Here, however, I take a step back to see if there is a relationship between term limits and citizens’ well-being. Does maintaining the same person in power for decades make any difference in the livelihoods of the people?

Before delving into this issue, there is one necessary caveat to clarify. The links between democracy (or any regime type, for that matter) and economic development have been the subject of ample prior research. However these studies have rarely born definitive conclusions. Analysts such as Michael Ross(1) and Mancur Olson(2) believe that democracy leads to better management of public resources and an overall improvement in people’s lives (particularly in the education and health sectors). Meanwhile, there are others, such as Jenny Minier(3), who think that providing services to constituents is not a trait specific to democracies and that non-democratic regimes can indeed provide the same. The purposes of this paper are not to take sides of this debate, but rather to un-package some of the issue itself. This paper, therefore, does not attempt to provide definitive answers, but merely to stimulate further discussion.

Is there any evidence to show that populations can indeed benefit from having the same person in power for a protracted period of time? That is the most obvious question. It is a key question for new democracies in the region to be asking, especially given the number of heads of states fighting to hold on to power and the seemingly high price paid by the citizens for this type of “uncontained” control. The ‘cost’ on our countries is, among other things, reflected in our weak institutions and civil society, restraints on citizens’ basic rights and the inexistence of opposition. But is this solely, or even directly, a result of presidents who don’t relinquish power? One possible entry point to this conversation is to look at the UNDP’s human development rankings of countries where terms limits are imposed/respected as compared to those where leaders have been/stayed in power for decades.

Data on Development in West Africa

The Human Development Index (HDI)(4) is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education and income and will be used as the factual (data) basis by which to compare two national groupings that have very different leadership histories (see Graphic 1 below). The first group is made up of countries where the same leaders have held power for decades. This includes Togo, Burkina Faso and Gambia. In the former country, for example, the presiding Gnassingbe family has been in power for 48 years (Eyadema Gnassingbe stayed in power from 1967 to 2005 and his son, Faure Gnassingbe, has been there since 2005). In Burkina Faso, President Blaise Compaore spent 27 years (1987-2014) before he was forced to leave office at the end 2014 due to violent street protests; while in The Gambia, President Yaya Jammeh is now ending his second decade in power (which he’s held since July 1994). In the second group, there is Benin, Ghana and Senegal – all countries where democratic rotation and the alternation of power have become the norm (there have been at least two changes in power in each country since the mid-1990s). While in Ghana, politicians seem to have respected terms limitation, Benin and Senegal have experienced attempts by former presidents to hang on to power beyond the two terms limits set by their constitutions. These attempts have failed however, thanks to civil society activists and some political actors.

Graphique 1 Mathias Blog post

Looking at Graph 1, which explores the Human Development Index (HDI) of the six countries, there are no perceivable patterns or major differences between the two country groupings. For instance (and except for in Ghana), the trends in the evolution of the HDIs in Senegal and Benin (which have experienced at least two changes in power over the last two decades) are not very different from those of The Gambia, Togo and Burkina Faso where heads of state have stayed (or tried to stay) longer than initially planned (or for more than 10 years). However, the HDIs seem slightly higher in the first group of countries as compared to those in the second group.
But of course there are other factors to consider aside from the HDI. Aspects such as the amount of natural resources, geography (whether the country is landlocked or not) and the size of the economy (GDP) are all important considerations. For example, take the first group – Ghana, Senegal and Benin – all of whom have higher GDP per capita ($4029, $2,243 and $1,793 respectively). The second group, by contrast, are nations with smaller GDP per capita ($1,642 for The Gambia, $1,638 for Burkina Faso and $1,390 for Togo).

But what if we looked at states within the top GDP ranked countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and compared their leadership histories? Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana can be grouped into one category where there are high GDP’s and power alternation. Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Cameroon may be grouped into another with high similarly high GDPs, yet without power alternation. The result? Graph 2 represents the variation (or lack thereof) of the HDI between 1990 and 2013 between these two groups.

Graphique 2 Mathias Blog Post

According to Graph 2, it once again indicates that staying in power longer (more than 10 years), even with higher GDP per capita, does not necessarily translate into better human development compared to a country with changes in power. For instance, South Africa and Ghana with GDPs of $12,507 and $4,029 respectively have better HDI’s compared to Equatorial Guinea and Angola where their GDPs are $33,767 and $7,978.

But the story doesn’t end here. There are several other factors that come into play and which contribute to the social and economic development of a country. A change in head of state is just one consideration. More research still needs to be done to provide concrete evidence supporting the fact that, except for in very few instances, several decades incumbency does not make any difference in citizens’ lives.

It would be beneficial for all new democracies to find additional and measurable proof that in countries where leaders hold on to power for several decades there was not any notable difference in the lives of citizens, as compared to countries where alternation of power was the norm. If this was indeed the case, there would be no point in fighting to keep the same person in power for several decades, especially since there are many advantages in alternation of power. So what are these benefits?

Alternation of power is good in itself
In a previous article, I argued in favor of presidential term limitations, largely because it improves the virtue of those in positions of control and operates as a moderating mechanism against abuses. Power tends to increase over time. As former US President John Adams is often quoted, “human passions are insatiable” in their quest for control and, as British historian and politician Lord Acton used to say “power corrupts”. Indeed the longer an individual or aligned group stays in power, the more dominance they accumulate and the more they (and power) becomes prone to abuse. Furthermore, experience across 90% of the world’s established democracies has shown that presidential rule is subject to a form of limitation, while here in Sub-Saharan Africa unlimited presidential terms have not proven conclusive.

A recent article posted on the Brookings’ Institution website on the African Leadership Transitions Tracker provides further arguments in favor of power alternation. Among its benefits it cites an “improved context for political rights and civil liberties”and the fact that “citizens’ support for democracy is affected by democratic turnover”. American political advisor Gideon Maltz(5) goes even further by stating in his 2007 article The Case for Presidential Term Limits that “… the mere alternation of ruling elites tends to disembowel electoral authoritarianism”(6) . Most importantly, Maltz goes on to stress an even more valuable truth: “… turnover in government destroys the patronage networks and clientelistic relationships … and the new ruling party must begin the gradual process of taking over the state’s assets and pressing them into service.”

As I’ve tried to show through this short overview of the HDI’s relative to power tenure across country groupings,there are no notable differences between Ghana, Senegal and Benin and Burkina Faso, Gambia and Togo as a result of power alternation. However, what is important – in fact, crucial – is that in this first group of countries, they are engaged in building functioning and effective institutions. And it is these institutions that will (among other roles) serve as the foundations to provide peace and stability, which are invaluable to social and economic development. However, and as previously stated, more evidence is still needed in support of the arguments put forward here, and it is my hope we can further build on this discussion to build a more fruitful and tangible case for imposing presidential term limits.

Author: Mathias Hounkpe is OSIWA’s Political Governance Program Manager
Follow Mathias on Twitter @Coffi_12

Footnotes:

[1] Michael Ross, “Is Democracy Good for the Poor?”

[2] Olson, M. (1993). Dictatorship, Democracy and Development. American Political Science Review 87 (3), 567-576

[3] Something is needed here (reference)

[4] Defined by the United Nations Development Programme as a “a summary measure of average achievement in key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and have a decent standard of living”

[5] Cited by the African leadership transitions tracker’s piece

[6] Gideon Maltz, “The Case for Presidential Term Limits”, Journal of Democracy, 18:1, January 2007.

SOURCE: Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA)