Africans still place value on democracy – Prof. Gyimah-Boadi

The Afrobarometer co-Founder and board chair, Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, has indicated that Africans are not tired with democratic governance despite the “retrogression” of the concept.

According to him, though various surveys have revealed a drop in the interest of Africans in democracy, a larger number of persons on the continent still placed value on democracy.

He made the assertion in Accra yesterday at the opening of a five-day stakeholder engagement on governance, democracy and human rights in Africa.

The forum is the West Africa edition of the programme which will be replicated in other countries within the sub-region.

It was organised by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) with support from the European Union,

According to Prof. Gyimah-Boadi, there were many signs of backsliding and retrogression in terms of democracy in Africa, adding that even countries like Benin, Senegal, Ghana and South Africa that were previously deemed to be on track with democratic consolidation, were not performing to the satisfaction of their respective citizens.

He regretted that though elections were still being held across countries in Africa, their quality kept declining due to instances of voter intimidation, vote buying and electoral violence among other unpleasant occurrences.

The quality of election in Africa and democratic governance as a whole, he said was being severely compromised on almost every part of Africa because of the escalating cost of politics and election campaigns.

Touching on the effects of corruption among some African leaders, he stated that the practice resulted in wide gaps in the delivery of education healthcare and other state services in countries within the region, irrespective of external aid, domestic revenue mobilisation and macro-economic growth.

Prof. Gyimah-Boadi stressed that it was time for African leaders to change the narrative and move the continent in the right direction for the benefits of the people.

The CDD Ghana host, Dr Kojo Punpuni Asante revealed that his outfit’s project, seeking to ensure Civil Society Organisations accessed and efficiently used data for advocacy on governance through capacity building, was a move in the right direction.

“This meeting is part of our efforts in ensuring the success of the platform we are creating for selected CSOs across the country to effectively carry out their responsibilities as advocates for good governance and democracy,” he added.

BY RAISSA SAMBOU

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