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Yale University organises summit to discuss democracy decline in West Africa – Premium Times

AW3 Democracy Decline2 (1)
Yale University will Thursday host a webinar to discuss ‘declining democracy in West Africa.’
The event is being co-hosted by the Council on African Studies of the American university, the World Fellows Program at the Jackson Institute of Global Affairs and the Yale African Students Association.
Themed “addressing democracy decline in West Africa,” the keynote speakers at the event will be the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Juldeh Jalloh, and the former president of ECOWAS, Mohammed Ibn Chambas.
Other panellists expected at the event include Idayat Hassan, the Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development and Jude Ilo, the head of the Nigerian office of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa.
The organisers said the webinar is designed to interrogate the role of the regional organization, ECOWAS, in addressing the decline of democracy in the region with the aim of identifying challenges to this role and offering recommendations on how best this important task can be carried out.

They said the recent trajectory in the region suggests that democracy is on the reverse gear in West Africa.
Primarily, the organisers said, the webinar hopes to bring forward perspectives from past and current leaders, and practitioners in the field who are dealing with these challenges on a daily basis to provide informed analysis of what the real issues are.
“We are hoping to situate this conversation within the larger context of global democracy decline and the commonalities in challenges.”
The event is being held amidst what appears a recent upsurge in coups in Africa.
Last month, Sudanese acting Prime Minister, Abdallah Hamdok, was seized by a group of senior military generals. That occurred barely a month after the government of Alpha Conde, President of Guinea, was overthrown by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya in September.
Also, the second coup in eight months supplanted an interim government in Mali in May, making it the third coup in ten years.
Depending on data from the democracy index of the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), Yale University said democracy declined globally in 2019 but “it declined in the African continent and more particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.”
The average score for the region fell from 4.36 in 2018 to 4.26 in 2019, the worst score in over 10 years, it said.
“The index is based on five sets of criteria: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation, and political culture.
“In the EIU report, Senegal fell nine places and is now ranked 82nd in the world (9th in Africa), moving it down from the category of “flawed democracies” to that of “hybrid” democracies. Togo, Niger and Guinea are ranked as authoritarian while Mali, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso are ranked as hybrid, halfway between authoritarian rule and democracy.”
For a sub-region that was once the bastion of democratic progress, the current realities are worrying, it noted.

By their constituting documents and protocols, the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) affirm the commitment of the region to promote human rights, democracy, and good governance but “the regional bodies (ECOWAS and AU) have been carrying out the job of promoting democracy with mixed results.”
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