Find us on

News & Media

Electoral Integrity

Examining the State of Democracy in Central and Southern Africa

     “It is not our diversity which divides us; it is not our ethnicity, or religion or culture that divides us. Since we have achieved our freedom, there can only be one division amongst us: between those who cherish democracy and those who do not.”
– Nelson Mandela

Cape Town – The conference, entitled “Democracy in Central and Southern Africa: The Road Ahead” is initiated by the Kofi Annan Foundation and organised with the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance. The event is supported by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) and will take place in Cape Town from 4 to 5 September 2019.

“Elections without integrity cannot provide the winners with legitimacy, the losers with security and the public with confidence in their leaders and institutions”, says Alan Doss, President of the Kofi Annan Foundation. “This conference will provide a platform for much-needed exchanges to deepen democracy throughout central and southern Africa.”

“This conference will provide a platform for much-needed exchanges to deepen democracy throughout central and southern Africa.”
– Alan Doss, Kofi Annan Foundation President

“This conference is inspired by the leadership and legacy of Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan. Nelson Mandela taught us that the first step towards a solution of intractable challenges is to develop the capacity to hold diametrically opposite ideas in our heads at the same time and to feel comfortable with these ideas,” says Prof Faizel Ismail, the Director of the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance.

Group photo at the Examining the State of Democracy in Central and Southern Africa conference

Examining Different Faces of Democratic Life

The conference will include representatives from governments, political parties, civil society organisations, academia and the media from countries across the region.
Six panels will examine different facets of democratic life in the region, including the strengths and weaknesses of Southern Africa’s Governance, the obstacles to electoral integrity, the role of civil society and youth for democratic life across the region and the challenges and opportunities of the digital age for elections and democracy.

The panel’s key takeaways will be captured in a synthesis report that will be published subsequently. It will contain cutting-edge approaches strengthening electoral integrity throughout central and southern Africa.

“No one is born a good citizen. No nation is born a democracy. Rather, both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime.
– Kofi Annan

Objectives of the Conference

  • Take stock of democratic development in the region;
  • Identify key obstacles and drivers of democratisation in the region through panel discussions;
  • Equip democratic forces with ideas and tools to reinforce and/or deepen democracy in their respective countries;
  • Identify virtuous circles of democratic power that may lie within or outside the state (institutions holding the line of accountability and rule of law – eg Public Protector’s Office in South Africa or the Constitutional Court; the potential role of the private sector/civil society to promote democratic principles and values that work alongside government-led policies and practices);
  • Interrogate the role of transnational governance to strengthen advocates of democracy across the continent;
  • Provide a platform to present solutions to the challenges that threaten democracy in Central & southern Africa.

Watch the conference

More information

See the full programme

Be informed when the report findings are released

Read or listen to the latest OpEd ‘Defending Democracy‘ from Kofi Annan Foundation President Alan Doss and Director of the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance Fizail Ismail.

Find out more about the Kofi Annan Foundation’s Electoral Integrity Initiative

Download the Conference Report

Central and Southern Africa Conference Report






*Disclaimer: The views expressed at the event are those of the participants solely and not necessarily shared by the organisers.*