Democracy Forum

En bref

Democracy Forum

Dates : 26-29 June 2024

Location : Cotonou, Benin

Democracy Forum

Undeniably, the mistrust of democracy in Africa nevertheless goes hand in hand with the desire of the African people to live under the rule of law, where fundamental freedoms are guaranteed by the constitution; where alternation of power is the norm rather than the exception; where leaders who respect their fellow citizens and are accountable to their people are chosen freely and defend the continent’s interests and sovereignty on the international stage.

This desire for democracy is embodied in various practices and experiences on the ground that need to be mapped and, where necessary, modelled and disseminated. This is the case of women’s struggles for equality, of mini-rities for greater recognition, of opposition parties, trade unions and the media to make themselves heard. It is also the case with struggles for fair access to the means of existence, whether it be water, land, food, health, housing, mobility, education or a right to the environment. At the same time, the culture of participation, particularly through the local and communal levels, persists, as demonstrated by the liveliness of community life in both urban and rural areas. To deal with the new conflicts that multiparty politics, constitutions, elections and coups d’état are unable to resolve, we need to draw on the ecosystem of players involved in social, economic, institutional and cultural innovation. This ecosystem is characterised by an unprecedented burgeoning of initiatives that are often little known or supported, and by the fundamentally experimental nature of the approaches and practices.

A highlight of the year, the Democracy Forum will bring together all those involved in democratic innovation in Africa to discuss a key theme. A space for solutions, it will offer them the opportunity to move projects forward, to launch or support structuring initiatives, and to deploy advocacy and communication activities. Reinventing the concept of “social forums” and borrowing from the idea of the “festi-val” and the “Exhibition”, they will take over a district, a third place, a city and will be a unique opportunity to present new ideas and new practices. They will bring together, both face-to-face and virtually, residents, activists, bloggers, researchers, artists, entrepreneurs, collectives and associations, think-tanks, universities, professional organisations, development agencies, financial backers, decentralised authorities and municipalities, and so on.
They will provide an opportunity to take stock of current trends in the field of reinventing democracy in Africa. They will highlight the innovations underway, identify the players involved, the types of practices they are engaged in on a day-to-day basis, the mechanisms for participation and inclusion they are putting in place to heal or reinvent democracy, and the types of new tools, stories and methods at the service of citizens’ power to act.