DG Trends

Fourth Annual High-Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa: Trends, Challenges, and Prospects

The African Union (AU) continues to make great strides towards realizing its Agenda 2063 that envisions “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena. During the Fourth Annual High-Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa: Trends, Challenges, and Prospects, gender inequality was addressed in detail. The dialogue held in Kigali on 7th and 8th December 2015 addressed Women’s equal participation and leadership in Political parties in Africa, a key aspiration within the Agenda 2063. Infonet managed the Social Media Interaction at the Dialogue where there was online interaction with over 6 million people reached in 65 countries.

The High-Level Dialogue was strategically held in Kigali, Rwanda to facilitate the understudying of Rwanda’s good practices, experiences and lessons learned in enhancing women’s leadership and empowerment Numerous African countries are deeply rooted in patriarchal practices that are seen to impede the fair progress of women in society. As a solution to this, the Agenda 2063 outlines key measures to be undertaken by countries to actualize the aspiration.

For one, women need to be included in the important political leadership processes. Women’s participation in political decision-making processes is not only a fundamental right but also focal in the AU’s Agenda 2063. With continued developments witnessed in sectors, women’s inclusivism in nation-building has failed to be accorded the attention it deserves. Women play a vital role in leadership. By empowering women to pick up active roles in political processes, women related issues are addressed within power chambers with viable solutions being formulated. Also, increasing the appointment of women to political offices has increased the participation of women within existing political parties. Women are laboring to shatter the glass ceiling that has for eons barred them from receiving equal and fair treatment. One way to empower women within political margins is by encouraging them to join political parties. By formulating policies that promote membership of women, there is meaningful participation of women in decision-making processes.

The minor roles delegated to women in politics reflects and results from the small place to which they are assigned by the customs and attitudes of society. To mitigate this, the Fourth High-Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance, addressed crucial issues. Highlighted during the forum was the presence of system barriers engraved in culture, the nature of the patriarchal environment, political economy constraints (specifically financing and economic empowerment of women) and internal party politics including party policies and manifestos. Specific objectives were stipulated to ensure women’s equal participation and leadership in political parties in Africa at all levels. Some of the set objectives included provision of a platform for peer learning and accountability by AGA Platform Members on their work on democracy consolidation and strengthening good governance in Africa; and Enhanced strategic partnerships and alliances between state and non-state actors to strengthen and monitor the implementation of AU Shared Values norms and standards on women’s empowerment.