African Union’s Democracy Agenda Better in Theory Than in Practice

South African President Jacob Zuma, cenetr, and delegates prepare for a photo op at the African Union Summit, Johannesburg, June 14 2015 (AP photo by Shiraaz Mohamed).
South African President Jacob Zuma, cenetr, and delegates prepare for a photo op at the African Union Summit, Johannesburg, June 14 2015 (AP photo by Shiraaz Mohamed).
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At the African Union’s biannual summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 13-15, the principal task was to consolidate the “Africa rising” narrative—the belief that the continent has moved onto a new and more positive political and economic trajectory over the past decade. Two of the principal themes of that narrative are good governance and democratization. While the AU’s formal declarations in this area are encouraging, several developments suggest the gap between AU theory and practice will once again be persistent. Moreover, the very structure of the organization may stand in the way of progress. The summit was overshadowed by […]

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