Panel of experts discusses democracy in Africa during Vail Symposium webinar
Africa has long been associated first with colonial rule, followed by authoritarian rule. Some go so far as to suggest that, like the Chinese, Africans prioritize development over democracy. However, extensive polling by Afrobarometer (Africa’s version of Gallup polls) reveals a different narrative.
On Wednesday, Aug. 18, Vail Symposium will host a Zoom Webinar at 6 p.m. featuring a panel of three experts to discuss the current state of democracy in Africa and the expectations for the future.
“With such a massive continent, our panel of experts will not be able to address conditions in every country,” director of programming Claire Noble said. “But they will be able to address success stories — as well as countries that are struggling — which will provide our audience with a comprehensive update on the state of democracy in Africa.”
Understanding democracy from outside of the continent’s borders is a tricky business. A survey of 34 African nations revealed continued support for democratization with an uptick in those favoring non-democratic approaches only in Eswatini and Malawi. With a peaceful transition of power in Malawi in 2020, Malawians received a much-needed revival in their faith in democracy.
Rather than asking if Africans want democracy, a better question to ask might be what form do they want democracy to take? Three Africa experts join the Vail Symposium to discuss the future direction of democracy and autocracy In Africa. Other issues to be addressed include whether democracy is a façade for autocracy and how African nations have addressed corruption.
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The United States is not the only country with interests in Africa. In recent years, China has made diplomatic and development inroads into the continent. The panel will also address the current status of American and Chinese roles, as well as those of European nations. Included will be a discussion of the capabilities and capacity of the U.S. State Department and government.
About the speakers
W. Gyude Moore is a Senior Policy Fellow at the Center for Global Development. At CGD, Moore’s policy analysis and research focus are governance, the financing of infrastructure and Africa’s response to the changing landscape of external actors. His focus tracks the policies of traditional, aspiring, and emerging actors on the continent, especially the rise of China and its expanding role in Africa. He previously served as Liberia’s Minister of Public Works with oversight over the construction and maintenance of public infrastructure from December 2014 to January 2018. Prior to that role, Moore served as Deputy Chief of Staff to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Head of the President’s Delivery Unit. As one of the president’s trusted advisors, he also played a crucial role in supporting President Sirleaf as Liberia responded to the West Africa Ebola outbreak and shaped its post-Ebola outlook.
Dr. Monde Muyangwa is the director of the Africa Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars where she leads programs that analyze and offer practical, actionable policy options addressing some of Africa’s most critical issues.
Previously, Muyangwa served as academic dean and professor of civil-military relations at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, and as director of research and vice president for research and policy at the National Summit on Africa. She serves on the board of trustees for Freedom House, and for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation and sits on Afrobarometer’s International Advisory Council.
Jon Temin is the director of the Africa program at Freedom House, overseeing the organization’s efforts to advance democracy and human rights across the continent. From 2014 to 2017, he was a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff, providing strategic guidance and long-term thinking to the Secretary of State. Temin also served as director of the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Africa Program, leading the Institute’s efforts to help end conflicts and prevent new violence.
What: The State of Democracy in Africa and Expectations for the Future
When: Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. Program from 6-7 p.m.
Where: Zoom Webinar
More information: Please visit vailsymposium.org for more information and to register for this program.