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This event brought together about 300 participants, including government officials, African leaders, policy makers, civil society and Regional Economic Communities. During the Forum, Professor Amos Sawyer,Chairperson of the APRM Panel of Eminent Persons, was invited to share the Panel’s views on these cross-cutting issues along with other outstanding African personalities such as H.E. Pedro Pires, former President of Cape Verde and R.H. Motsoahae Thomas Thabane, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho.

The aim of the Forum was to bring various stakeholders together to deliberate on the current state of democracy in Africa with a focus on elections and the management of diversity. Particular attention was drawn to the issues of gender imbalance and disempowerment of youth and how these problems retard progress towards the consolidation of democracy on the African continent.

Professor Amos C. Sawyer was one of the speakers on the High-level Panel at the opening session. He stressed the APRM’s strong belief that democracy and development are mutually interdependent – in colloquial terms, two sides of the same coin, as one cannot be achieved sustainably without the other. He noted that democratic governance is essential for broad and participatory engagement of citizens in a country’s affairs.

The Chairperson of the APR Panel of Eminent Persons recalled that back in 2008, the APRM had already established that two of the most intractable challenges facing Africa are diversity management and electoral violence. He mentioned that diversity is not necessarily a problem for Africa per se but, if well managed, diversity is an asset for Africa’s democratisation and development processes. He underlined the fact that the outcome of African electoral processes highly depended on fair and equal management by the authorities of the ethnic, religious, generational and social groups.

Several country representatives, including Abdelkader Messahel, Algeria’s Minister for Maghreb and African Affairs, suggested that all the AU Member States go through the peer-review process.

The AGF VIII confirmed the status of recognized key source on the governance-related issues in Africa.

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