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UNE INFLUENCE CROISSANTE: La Chine en Afrique de L'ouest

By Publicaitons, Publication, Publications

Cette édition de West Africa Insight Cs’intéresse à la manière dont la Chine étend son influence en Afrique de l’Ouest. Tobi Oshodi et James Barnett commencent par donner une vue d’ensemble et une analyse du rôle que les Instituts Confucius, qui sont maintenant au nombre de 15 en Afrique de l’Ouest, jouent pour soutenir l’agenda du soft power de la Chine dans la région.
L’accent mis sur les efforts de la Chine pour étendre son influence de manière plus indirecte est également abordé dans les articles d’Emeka Umejei et de Solomon Elusoji. Tous deux examinent la manière dont la Chine a cherché à s’implanter dans l’espace médiatique en Afrique de l’Ouest en fournissant du contenu et en soutenant les maisons de presse et les journalistes, et dans quelle mesure ces efforts ont un impact sur les reportages, avec un accent particulier sur le Ghana et le Nigeria. Folashadé Soulé porte son attention sur les relations militaires entre la Chine et le Bénin dans un article qui cherche à mieux comprendre comment et pourquoi une telle coopération se met en place, et avec quel impact. Enfin, Adedayo Bakare propose une analyse de la manière dont les relations commerciales sino-ouest-africaines pourraient s’adapter à la zone de
libre-échange continentale africaine et en bénéficierlors qu’elle deviendra opérationnelle.

Increasing Influence: China in West Africa

By Publicaitons, Publication, Publications

This edition of West Africa Insight reflects on the ways China is extending its influence across West Africa. Tobi Oshodi and James Barnett start by providing an overview and analysis of the role Confucius Institutes, of which there are now 15 in West Africa, are playing in support of China’s soft power agenda in the region.

The focus on China’s efforts to extend its influence in more indirect ways is also discussed in pieces by Emeka Umejei and Solomon Elusoji. Both look at the ways in which China has sought to gain a foothold in the media space in West Africa through providing content and supporting media houses and journalists, and to what extent these efforts are impacting reporting with a specific focus on Ghana and Nigeria.

Folashadé Soulé switches the focus of attention to China-Benin military relations in a piece that seeks to better understand how and why such cooperation is being forged and with what impact. Finally, Adedayo Bakare offers an analysis of how Sino-West African trade relations might adapt to, and benefit from, the African Continental Free Trade Area as it becomes operational.

Personal Data and the Influence Industry in Nigerian Elections

By Publication, Publications

An election officer verifying a voter using the Smart Card Reader. Photo credit: BBC

In Nigeria’s 2015 election, Cambridge Analytica (CA) spread targeted disinformation to suppress opposition votes and allegedly released sensitive medical and financial information about then opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari. In 2018, the Nigerian government formed a committee to investigate, amongst others, CA’s 2015 activities and promised criminal prosecutions if necessary.

However, two years on, there has been no update from the government committee. Furthermore, beyond a flurry of articles in 2018 that largely regurgitated what international media outlets posted, Nigeria’s media houses have largely left CA’s activities and the government committees promised investigations uncovered.

The lack of attention given to the CA scandal is worrying. If we assume that their notoriety derives in part from how egregious some of their tactics were, it is likely that other actors with morally questionable but less scandalous techniques are operating under the radar in Nigeria. It is therefore urgent that we have an overview of the use of data in Nigerian elections, as the first step to increasing awareness and activism. This report is an attempt to fill this gap. Using the framing introduced in Tactical Tech’s publication, Personal Data, Political Persuasion, this report combines interviews with various actors in the political influence industry and secondary evidence from journalistic sources to map the data-driven campaign techniques used in Nigeria. This mapping focuses on the 2015 and 2019 presidential elections but incorporates examples from earlier
and lower-level elections as needed.

The report then addresses a puzzle that the first section unearths: why does it seem that the formal political consulting industry in Nigeria is so small? To answer this, the report looks at the different actors in the influence industry, focusing on the kinds of political actors that hire them, the kinds of elections they tend to be involved in, and the techniques that they use in serving their clients.

The report finds that the use of data-driven campaigning in Nigerian elections is growing in prominence. Generally, political actors use data and digital technologies to fundraise, test for the resonance of campaign messages, target messages to specific geographic locations, and send out
bulk SMS, audio, and WhatsApp messages.


It is time to start taking West Africa’s legislative contests more seriously

By Blog

By Kojo Asante

Parliamentary elections were scheduled in as many as 16 African countries in 2020 but due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic four of these polls were postponed. In 2021, a further ten countries are scheduled to hold legislative votes. Despite the frequency of these elections, rarely do they attract significant international media coverage or scrutiny from election observation groups. In fact, legislative polls seldom feature in the planning of domestic or international election observation missions. Even though parliamentary processes are used as indicators for tracking fraud or the potential for conflict in presidential polls, particularly when the two are held concurrently.

Recent elections in Uganda are a good example. The international media was almost exclusively focused on the presidential contest between President Museveni and Bobi Wine. There was little mention of the process that produced 529 parliamentarians. Whilst in Uganda the majority of MPs elected were members of the ruling National Resistance Movement, in other recent elections in Africa the president’s party has not been able to secure a legislative majority. 

Ghana’s hung parliament

For the first time since the Fourth Republic began in 1993, Ghana has a hung parliament. Despite its failure to win back the presidency in the December 2020 polls, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) did claw back a 63 seat deficit in the parliament. Both it and the incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP) won 137 seats, in the 275 member parliament. The single independent member has so far chosen to align with the NPP. But the Speaker of the House, Alban Sumana Bagbin, is a member of the NDC; elected after two members of the NPP broke rank and voted for him during the secret ballot process.

The current situation has already generated several contentious issues for Speaker Bagbin to resolve, including who should be the majority side, how should the allocation of committee members be done and who should chair which committee. The Speaker recently ruled that NPP shall be the majority side because of the independent MP’s formal request to seat with the NPP. But with the NPP and the NDC challenging 12 parliamentary results, the make-up of parliament could still change significantly.

There are parallels between Ghana’s current reality and the outcome of Sierra Leone’s March 2018 general election where, initially at least, the All People’s Congress’s candidate lost the presidential race, but the party was still able to maintain its parliamentary majority. Subsequent legal challenges changed those dynamics, handing the Sierra Leone People’s Party a slender majority in the legislature to go with its control of the executive. But these two recent examples, both in dominant two-party systems, raise important questions about voter choice and have implications for elections and governance in West Africa.

Sending a message?

A pre-election survey led by academics from the University of Ghana predicted that the incumbent NPP was going to face a strong challenge from the opposition in the parliamentary elections, but no one predicted just how strong. Several factors contributed to the unexpected result. First, many NPP candidates and supporters emerged from the party primary process deeply dissatisfied. In some cases, candidates with greater popular support were bullied or priced out of the contest by those with greater resources and the backing of the president or senior party officials. In other constituencies, ministers of state and existing MPs were shielded from a party primary challenge and were elected unopposed. Scholars working on electoral politics in Ghana have shown that parties suffer at the polls when they try to impose candidates on constituents and that voters become more sophisticated the more they participate in elections. In short, the NPP paid the penalty for the way it conducted its primaries.

However, this is not the full story. In several cases where the NPP parliamentary candidate was rejected by voters, the party’s presidential candidate was still favoured. Similarly, in some constituencies, voters voted for the NDC presidential candidate but elected an NPP MP. For example, in the Kintampo South constituency in Bono East Region, former President Mahama, the NDC presidential aspirant, took 52.99% of the vote but the same constituents elected an NPP MP with 49.44% of the vote. In Agona East constituency in the Central Region, President Akuffo Addo received 51.99% of the vote but a NDC candidate was elected as MP, with 50.5% of the vote.  This phenomenon of ticket-splitting – referred to in local parlance as ‘skirt and blouse’ voting – is becoming more prevalent. In 2008, there were 19 skirt and blouse seats, that rose to 26 in 2012, 28 in 2016 and 33 in 2020.

If the current configuration of Ghana’s parliament avoids governance gridlock and instead functions to promote stronger accountability and transparency, this type of voting may increase still further in Ghana in 2024. Speaker Bagbin’s remarks at the first sitting of the 8th parliament signalled his intention to steer the legislature away from excessive partisanship and gridlock; to ensure it can exercise its oversight responsibilities and assert its independence. If realised, the impact of this could be greater scrutiny exercised by a legislature that is not simply a rubber stamp approving the will of the executive. 

Parliamentary scrutiny

Credible elections remain an important mechanism for sustaining and strengthening democracy in Africa. Over the years, election watchers have been consumed by presidential elections, in part because of the dominance of the executive in many countries on the continent. As a result, parliamentary polls have not received the serious attention they deserve. But recent elections in Ghana and Sierra Leone underscore the growing importance of the outcome of legislative races for the way in which democratic institutions function in the periods between polls.

In Ghana’s most recent vote, as results began to trickle there was an increased focus on the parliamentary outcome among election observers. But moving forward, this focus in Ghana and elsewhere, should be embedded into the initial approach. Domestic election observation groups should mount special observation of selected parliamentary races in addition to the general presidential election watch, whilst international observers should send missions to watch parliamentary polls even when there are no presidential polls. Results at this level indicate an increased level of sophistication in how voters cast their ballots and offer a more nuanced indicator of people’s evaluation of a government. It is time to start paying more attention to what they tell us about the state of a country’s electoral democracy.

Kojo Asante is Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana)

Editor’s note: This is the second article in a nine-part series in which leading thinkers and practitioners explore key questions and themes about the current state of electoral democracy in Africa. You can read the first piece here.

Liberia's Truth And Reconciliation Commission: Reviving Its Recommendations?

By Publication, Publications

After 14 years of civil war that flouted six peace agreements, Liberians representing the warring parties along with civil society groups,
and political parties signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in
Accra, Ghana, on 18 August 2003. The CPA called for the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission and an inclusive two-year interim national government.

The interim government consisted of members of the Charles Taylor regime, representatives of the two rebel factions – the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) and Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) – and representatives of civilian opposition and civil society organisations. In keeping with provisions in the 2003 CPA, the transitional government passed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act in May 2005, which called for the creation of a commission
mainly modelled on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The TRC (also referred to as the commission) began its hearings in January 2008. It faced the arduous task of moving the peace process forward to establish the truth about the civil war by providing a platform to discuss issues of impunity and promote national reconciliation and cohesion.

The Commission Consisted of nine commissioners, five men and four women. Efforts were made to mainstream gender in the work of the commission given women played a significant role during, and were notable victims of, the conflict. The TRC mandate was restricted to events that happened between January 1979 to October 2003.


Sustaining Peace: Reflections On Transitional Justice Approaches In West Africa

By Publication, Publications

For several decades, West Africa has faced different and varying degrees of
violent conflict, authoritarian and repressive undemocratic governments.
The region has witnessed civil wars, political conflicts, insurgencies, inter-communal conflicts and the “not so new” trend of violent extremism. Liberia experienced more than 14 years of civil unrest and conflict.

The country had two distinct civil wars from 1989 to 2003. The first war (1989- 1996), generally attributed to the repressive regime of Samuel Doe’s
government and campaign to oust him from power by Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) were considered as one of Africa’s bloodiest. It claimed the lives of over 250,000 with 1 million displaced and at least 25,000 raped.

Three years after the first civil war in 1996, Liberia was again plunged into another civil war, when a rebel group, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), with the support of the government of neighbouring Guinea, began a military offensive to topple the government of President Charles Taylor.

The conflict in Liberia spilled over the border into neighbouring Sierra Leone. The war in Sierra Leone was also driven by the attempts to overthrow the government of President Joseph Saidu Momoh, oust corrupt politicians, and redistribute the country’s resources of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF).

The RUF supported by Liberian rebel leader Charles Taylor and the NFPL was a small band of well-armed and funded guerrilla rebels, who rushed into villages in the eastern countryside and quickly gained momentum and territory.


CDD Ranked High Among Sub-Saharan Think Tanks

By Press Release

January 31, 2021

Abuja, Nigeria

CDD Ranked High Among Sub-Saharan Think Tanks

A new ranking by the Global To Go Think Tank Index of the University of Pennsylvania has ranked the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) as the top-rank civil society think tank organisation in Nigeria.

The 2020 report released Thursday, January 28, 2021, also rated CDD as number 11 in Sub-Sahara, moving up from its 16th position in the institution’s last report. CDD takes the lead after Ethiopia Policy Studies Institute (PSI) FNA Ethiopia Development Research Center and African Economic Research Consortium (AERC, Kenya) which ranked nine and 10 respectively.

Following CDD on the table of top 15 Sub-Saharan think tanks are the Centre Ivoirien de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (CIRES) (Côte d’Ivoire), Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) (South Africa), Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) (South Africa) and the  Institute for Security Studies (ISS) (South Africa) on 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th positions.

Next on the list from Nigeria are the Africa Heritage Institution (Afri-Heritage) and the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) on 20th and 24th positions. The institution through its Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) of the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania said the research was conducted based on the role policy institutes play in governments and civil societies around the world.

Referred to as the “think tanks’ think tank,” TTCSP said it examines the evolving role and character of public policy research organizations and over the last 30 years, the program has developed and led a series of global initiatives. The initiatives include helping to bridge the gap between knowledge and policy in critical policy areas such as international peace and security, globalization and governance, international economics, environmental issues, information and society, poverty alleviation and healthcare and global health.

Led by James C. McGann, the institution’s added that TTCSP continually seeks to improve the nomination and selection process while keeping several things in mind.

“The Index’s aim is to produce an inclusive and far-reaching report of international think tanks,” the Institution said.

Reacting to the ranking, the Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan, said while this is a pat on the back for the many work done by the Centre to strengthen democracy and improve good governance in Nigeria and the West African region, this is also a call to do more.

Hassan said: “This means more and more work for us at the CDD, but the fact remains that we at the Centre will not relent in our effort to promote the values of democracy, peace and human rights in Africa, particularly in the West African sub-region.”

The 2020 Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) marks the fifteenth year of continued efforts by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the University of Pennsylvania to acknowledge the important contributions and emerging global trends of think tanks worldwide.

For media enquiries, please contact cc or phone 08021476979

Idayat Hassan


Experts Call for Improved African Representation on Climate Negotiation Table

By Event, News

As changes in climate and adverse weather conditions which have led to harsh livelihood continue to appear on the front burners of discussion, experts have called for collaboration among critical stakeholders to ensure adequate representation of the Africa continent on the climate negotiation table.

The call was made during a webinar organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD-West Africa) on Thursday, January 21, 2021.

The webinar themed: The Impact of Climate Change in Africa, sort to address the increasing effect of climate change especially on the low-income populations who are likely to be most affected and vulnerable to these challenges.

Moderated by a Development Consultant, Jamie Hitchen, the webinar also sort need to promote the efforts undertaken at local, national, and regional levels to adapt or mitigate climate change, as well as encourage the government to review climate change policies or increase their efforts. 

In her opening remarks, CDD’s Director, Idayat Hassan, said the Centre appreciates the moderator, panelists, and participants who have made out time to be part of the event.

Speaking on the intricacies of climate change and the challenges faced in the African continent, Saratu Abiola, the lead, Economic Inclusion – Global Humanitarian Team at Oxfam, said while climate change is a problem not necessarily caused by human, we must continue to find ways to survive it through mitigation or adaptation processes.

Noting that these processes include financing, access to technology, policies, and strategies that improve survival, Abiola said the extreme weather conditions have become a reality.

 She said: “We look at questions like; how do we adapt to the changes that we are faced with due to climate change? Do farmers know the major challenges there would face like drought and what they could do to strengthen their livelihood?”

Addressing issues of environmental policies, Abiola said Nigeria has several good policies that have not been implemented and the same thing goes for climate change.

Stating that Mali and Burkina Faso have been making efforts to develop laws that could address the challenges of climate change, Abiola said: “We (Nigeria) have forestry laws that need to be updated and of course implemented.

“Our laws on violating laws such as gas flaring for example are as old as the 1960s. The oil companies can easily pay them so they wouldn’t mind,” Abiola said.

According to Abiola, many Nigerian lawmakers are disconnected from the effects of climate change and the reality.

She said: “A lot of our lawmakers don’t live in the communities and they don’t have a connection with the people resident in these communities; even those who live there do not have an understanding that what is happening is climate change.”

Also, she said several residents of communities affected by climate change see these challenges as a phenomenon from “God”.

On financing, she said notes that it is very difficult to get climate grants or finance as a majority of the countries in West Africa have to access climate finance through loans.

“Majority of the climate available right now goes to western countries. Only about 20% of climate funding in 2019 came to Africa,” she added.

Also speaking, Hindou Ibrahim, the coordinator of the Association of Peul Women and Autochthonous People of Chad, said the most glaring impact of climate change is the drying up of the Lake Chad region.

Ibrahim said the drying up of the Lake Chad region is one of the leading causes of food insecurity, social insecurity, and crisis in the region.

Ibrahim said: “Climate impact is making people poorer. Climate change is now leading to social injustice in West Africa. Our knowledge and understanding of climate change can help us create the best adaptation for our community.”

She said an understanding of patterns and possible outcome of the weather could help in planning and storage.

“This is what I do with my organisation by putting the traditional knowledge with the technology. I do this with collaboration from the meteorological agencies,” Ibrahim said.

“In parts of West Africa, the seasons are eco-systemic. Africans need to merge African knowledge with scientific knowledge to mitigate the impact of Climate change which will involve locals who are affected by this,” she said.

Ibrahim also decried the poor representation of African countries in climate negotiations.

“We have the numbers at the meetings but the voices are not strong enough to make any difference. Most countries see climate change as an issue for the Ministry of Environment. It is not, it is a case for all because climate change affects or impact all aspect of our lives,” Ibrahim said.

She further called for collaboration among Civil Society Organisations, the media, politicians, and other critical stakeholders to accelerate survival.

CDD Election Statement Burkina Faso

By Press Release

Political Context

With Burkina Faso set to hold presidential elections on 22 November 2020, there are fears of the widespread inability of accessing polling stations due to the presence of extremist groups that have disrupted voter registration in many parts of the country.

The incumbent, President Roc Marc Kabore is seeking a second five-year term in office with the ruling People’s Party Movement for Progress. The two emergent factors of peace and security, have dominated the headlines as the country finds itself in the grips of insurgency.

Kabore was voted in after the popular uprising in 2014 saw the removal of former president Blaise Campaore, who ruled Burkina Faso for 27 years after the assassination of Thomas Sankara. The wave of optimism that greeted his election in 2015 has been muted this year as the increasingly frequent attacks have dampened the electoral campaign.

The volatile security situation has resulted primarily from insecurity in the western Sahel region spilling into Burkina Faso. In recent year, the country has seen attacks form various terror groups including the militant Islamist JNIM from neighbouring Mali, and the Islamic State.

Internet penetration in the country remains low, however it remains an extensive source of misinformation and disinformation. As the globe continues to battle a global pandemic, online sources have been awash with information either proffering cures, both in French and in local languages.

Despite the low internet penetration in the country, which stands at less than ten percent, there have been increasing reports of false information being dispersed on various platforms such as radio, messaging platforms like WhatsApp, and Facebook, which commands the largest share of online users in the country.

Fighting Disinformation

For the general elections of November 22, 2020, CDD has developed a strategy allowing it to adequately observe the information ecosystem and assess both the levels of disinformation, but also the effect. The methodology adopted, based on our continued work in the field of countering fake news and disinformation will make it possible to actively monitor sources of information on online platforms that are false, correcting those false narratives and shortcomings throughout voting day.

Specifically, monitoring will allow:

  • The collection and analysis of information on the conduct of the elections in real-time in order to assess the credibility and veracity of the information on social media.
  • optimize a fact-checking system on election day;
  • help correct any false information observed on election day by providing fact-checks in real time

Since the start of the process, CODEL has been able to carry out several observation and monitoring activities:

Establishment of the Election Analysis Centre

On the eve of these November 22 elections, CDD is pleased to announce the establishment from November 21 to 23, 2020 of its Election Analysis Centre at the Spendid Hotel. Established in partnership with CODEL (Convention des organisations de la société civile pour l’observation domestique des élections).

The Election Analysis Centre established by CODEL and CDD is an opportunity to establish a dedicated hub to countering fake news and disinformation. This will be the first of its kind and will create not just a database of sources, but will also begin to counter and fact-check election related disinformation.

Based at Splendid Hotel, the Centre will be operational the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of the month of November 2020. The main aim of the Centre will be about collecting all information that may be false, and identifying and establishing the sources and proceed to the verification. For the day prior to the elections, the work will be devoted to creating a channels inventory (TV, radio online’s press social network and so on).


The political environment in Burkina Faso is fragile and is steadily proving to be vulnerable to the threats of misinformation and disinformation. The general elections on November 22, 2020, while ordinary supposed to represent a history moment, have instead raised more questions as the country’s delicate state of security, political disenfranchisement and high number of displaced persons point to an election that will be vulnerable.

CDD is hopeful that this partnership with CODEL and other relevant stakeholders will come together to address the potential dark spots that will be exploited by fake news and, doing so, brighten the prospects for the conduct of not only peaceful but also free and fair elections in Burkina Faso.

Tackling COVID-19: Finding West Africa's Path

By Publication, Publications


The days when COVID-19 was only a distant threat to West African countries are over. It is now evident that the virus is here to stay and
must be addressed with practical responses that take into account the West African settings. Although the infection curve is not exponential, community transmission is beginning to gain ground in the region, with countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, and Senegal at the forefront with the most cases.

The lack of testing capacity in many countries suggests that the
estimated number of cases are most likely understated. Currently,
there are three factors that give the region an advantage in the fight against the novel disease. First, is its youthful population. The average age of Africans is below 20 years, and available data suggests that the risk of serious medical complications and death is
lower among younger people.

Furthermore, warm weather in the region could potentially reduce the spread of the virus, although this fact is remains unproven Lastly, as a result of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, it could analysts have argued that the region has some experience confronting infectious diseases.

While these factors might allow the region to avoid the worst of the pandemic, it also faces grave challenges that could overwhelm these advantages They include high levels of poverty densely packed urban areas and weak health systems and insecurity.

As the number of COVID 19 cases continues to increase, it will become increasingly difficult for the fragile healthcare system and economies of the region to withstand the effects of the pandemic This is because overall healthcare financing in most west African countries is relatively low at an average of US 292 per capita, thus, indicating a major constraint to effective healthcare service delivery.


Polls in Peril? West Africa's 2020 elections

By Publications

In the last quarter of 2020, five of the 15 Economic Community of West African States member countries are facing important elections. In   October, presidential elections will take place in Guinea and Cote D’Ivoire (October), with general elections to follow in Burkina Faso November), Ghana and Niger (both December).

This edition of West Africa Insights starts with a regional overview of the state of democracy in West Africa by Idayat Hassan. She underscores the threats posed by constitutional and military coups and the need for renewed regional resolve to uphold democratic values and ensure that development and democracy go hand in hand. Four further pieces provide in-depth analysis on the upcoming elections in the region.

Jessica Moody unpacks the threats that could see violence be a key feature of Cote D’Ivoire’s 31 October election, where President Ouattara  is  standing  for  a controversial third term. In Burkina Faso, violence is also threatening to impact on the November poll, with voter registration having not taken place in parts of the country where insecurity is rife. Wendyam Lankoandé reflects on how a flawed electoral process could further erode trust in the country’s political institutions.

In Ghana, George-Bob Milliar discusses the importance of grassroot political party structures for political success and explains why both formal and informal mechanisms can be key to delivering desired electoral outcomes.

Finally in Niger, Hailmatou Hima analyses some of the key issues that will shape an election that will mark the first peaceful transfer of  power in  the  country, as President Issoufou  steps  downs  having served his second, and final, term in office.


Cote D’Ivoire’s High‐Stake Presidential Election

By Publications

Ivorians will head to the polls to vote in a presidential election on 31 October 2020. The election is already causing severe tensions along long-­ standing political and ethnic divides, raising security risks in the country. With only a few weeks to the elections, the president of CEI announced that the 2020 provisional electoral list, indicating a 14% increase in the number of registered voters from 6,595,790 in 2018 to 7,500,035 voters in 2020.

A total of 1,645,693 new requests were processed, although more 60,000 were rejected for non-­‐compliance. On 14 September, the Constitutional Council approved four presidential candidates and rejected 40 candidates ‐ three representing the major political parties and one independent.



By Publications

Cote d’Ivoire is one of six ECOWAS member states scheduled to hold elections in 2020. The 31 October vote will be the fifth presidential election since the death of the ‘pere foundateur de la nation’ (father of the nation) Felix Houphouet Boigny in 1993. It will be held against the backdrop of 2011 post-electoral crisis, which revealed a deep-seated cleavages among the
ethnic groups in Cote d’Ivoire.

The poll is expected to be keenly contested between leading political parties; the Parti Democratique de la Cote d’Ivoire – Rassemblement Democratique Africain (PDCI), Front Populaire Ivoirien (FPI) and ruling coalition, Rassemblement des Houphouetistes pour la Democratie et la Paix (RHDP).

The political context

In recent months the Ivorian political context has been characterised by contestation among the political stakeholders on matters around the electoral code, the eligibility of presidential candidacies, the voter register, implementation of the constitutionals reforms and the composition of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC); which opposition parties have
denounced as non-inclusive, imbalanced and partisan.

Though the African Court on Human and People’ Right has ordered the government to amend the relevant provisions of the electoral code relating to the composition of the IEC, recent reforms by the government have not appeased the opposition parties complaints. Despite the re-composition of the IEC to allow for a fairer representation of political parties, PDCI has refused to send their representative to the central IEC.


Climate Change: Recognising the Impacts on West Africa

By Publication

The United States, one of the major culprits with regards to carbon emissions, had been ill-disposed to climate action even before it pulled
out of the Paris Agreement – a global framework to limit global warming to below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C – in 2019.

The current US administration gets a lot of attention for its public opposition to climate change policy, but ten years after the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, where the world’s most developed economies pledged to phase out subsidies to fossil fuels, these countries, according to a report by the Overseas Development Institute provided US$27.6 billion in domestic and international public finance, US$15.4 billion in fiscal support, and US$20.9 billion in state-owned enterprise investments to promote coal-fired power
production in 2019.

African countries have been left frustrated by the unwillingness of the G20 countries, who are also the biggest polluters, to cut back on their emissions, says Oxfam Pan-Africa’s Food Security and Climate Change lead Alvin
Munyasia. “The last Conference of Parties (COP) negotiations in Madrid did not end well as there was a lot of frustration over pertinent issues like
carbon markets, climate induced loss and damage and financing for adaptation.

It is also unfortunate that the deliberations watered down the spirit in which the Paris Agreement was achieved and highlighted the division between large polluters, emerging polluters, and the most vulnerable countries”.

Many countries in West Africa are increasingly feeling the impacts of
climate change, even though, according to World Resources Institute CAIT Climate Data Explorer, the regions greenhouse gas emissions in 2014 were 994.70 million metric tonnes: just 2.03% of global emissions.


COVID-19 EN AFRIQUE DE L’OUEST Réponse et impacts

By Publication, Publications

Au 26 juin, plus de 65 000 cas de Covid-19 ont été enregistrés dans les 15 pays qui composent la Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique de
l’Ouest, depuis que la pandémie est signalée pour la première fois dans la région, en provenance de l’Europe, via le Nigeria vers la fin de février.

Cette édition spéciale de West Africa Insight donne la possibilité à un groupe d’experts de partager leurs ré exions sur la manière dont les gouvernements de la région gèrent jusqu’à présent la pandémie et les impacts plus importants qu’elle a eus sur la société dans son

Les ripostes particulières de chaque pays y sont examinées en trois parties. Bintu Mansaray s’interroge sur le niveau de préparation du gouvernement de la Sierra Leone pour répondre à la pandémie malgré l’expérience écente d’Ebola. Elle écrit plutôt sur le rôle essentiel que jouent individuellement les citoyens pour vaincre le virus.

Ramatoulaye Sonko se préoccupe du mauvais bilan de gestion des fonds de l’administration Macky Sall. Aussi s’inquiète-t-elle de la reddition de comptes, de la transparence et du récent assouplissement des restrictions
du con􀃫nement qui pourraient miner/saper les efforts de la riposte sénégalaise de la Covid-19.


Mali’s 2020 Coup: How did we get here?

By PublicationNo Comments

Mali has been facing a serious socio-political crisis that has threatened to tear the country apart since March when the constitutional court overturned 31 provisional parliamentary election results, many in favour of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s (IBKs) party. The overturn exacerbated pre-existing political tension across the country and led citizens to protest.

The main opposition group M5-RFP, the June 5 movement – a Rassemblement des Forces Patriotiques du Mali, a coalition of civil society and other opposition groups have repeatedly called for the resignation of President IBK since the formation in June 2002. They blame Keita for Mali’s chronic corruption, economic instability, and for failing to adequately address the eight-year-long jihadist conflict in the north. A protest led by M5-RFP figurehead Imam Mahmoud Dicko in July, resulted in the death of two people and dozens of injuries as violent clashes broke out between law enforcement officials and protesters, who blocked off streets and attacked the parliament building.

ECOWAS calls for a unity government in Mali

In a bid to solve Mali’s political crisis ECOWAS pressured Keita to agree to a 6-member government that would be tasked with solving the country’s issues. The new government was expected to resolve ongoing tension between the president and M5-RFP. The regional body warned of sanctions to be imposed on those who opposed the resolution. ECOWAS, also called for a partial rerun of the parliamentary election and asked the 31 parliamentary members and the speaker of the national assembly to resign.

However, the regional bloc was unsuccessful in gaining widespread support for this deal, particularly from the opposition group. In fact, the coalition indicated their lack of trust in ECOWAS to resolve the issue and maintained their core demand; that President Keita must step down before they would consider a deal.


Le CDD condamne le coup au Mali et appelle au rétablissement de l’ordre constitutionnel

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Le Centre pour la démocratie et le développement (CDD) condamne sans réserve la prise de pouvoir inconstitutionnelle au Mali. C’est le moment de prendre des mesures immédiates pour rétablir un ordre démocratique, fondé sur l’État de droit, le respect des droits de l’homme et un système de gouvernance ancré dans la volonté du peuple malien.  Le CDD considère le respect des droits de tous les fonctionnaires détenus, y compris le Président Ibrahim Boubacar Kéita, comme une voie non négociable pour résoudre la situation politique au Mali.

Le renversement des gouvernements constitutionnellement élus est un anachronisme qui n’a jamais résolu les défis nationaux. Le Protocole de la Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CEDEAO) sur la démocratie et la bonne gouvernance (CEDEAO) (A/SP1/12/01) stipule clairement dans son article 1(b) que toute accession au pouvoir doit se faire par des élections libres et transparentes. De même, l’article 1(c) énonce explicitement la tolérance zéro de la Communauté à l’égard des pouvoirs obtenus ou maintenus par des moyens anticonstitutionnels. Le CDD appelle donc le peuple malien, à ne pas légitimer l’action anti-démocratique des soldats mutins, mais à exercer une pression maximale pour le rétablissement du gouvernement constitutionnel.   

Bien que les dirigeants de la mutinerie aient affirmé qu’ils ne souhaitaient pas s’accrocher au pouvoir, le CDD demande que ces assurances soient évaluées, non pas au niveau de la rhétorique, mais sur la base de mesures immédiates pour restaurer la démocratie. Il est pertinent de noter que l’article 36 de la constitution malienne stipule que si le Président de la République est empêché de façon temporaire de remplir ses fonctions, ses pouvoirs sont provisoirement exercés par le Premier ministre. Le CDD appelle la communauté diplomatique, y compris les Nations Unies, l’Union européenne, à exercer une pression maximale sur le régime jusqu’à ce que l’ordre constitutionnel soit rétabli au Mali.

CDD Condemns Mali Coup, Calls For Restoration of Constitutional Order

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The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) unequivocally condemns the unconstitutional takeover of power in Mali. This is the time for immediate steps to restore a democratic order, founded on the rule of law, respect for human rights and a governance system anchored on the will of the people of Mali.  

CDD is of the position that respect for the rights of all detained officials, including President Ibrahim Boubacar Kéita is a non-negotiable pathway to resolve the political situation in Mali.

Overthrow of constitutionally elected governments is an anachronism which has never resolved nationally challenges. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance (A/SP1/12/01) is clear in Article 1(b) that every accession to power must be made through free, fair and transparent elections.

Similarly, Article 1(c) explicitly states the community’s zero tolerance for power obtained or maintained by unconstitutional means.

CDD, therefore, calls on the people of Mali, not to legitimize the anti-democratic action of the mutinous soldiers, but to exert maximum pressure for the restoration of constitutional government.   

Although the leaders of the mutiny have claimed that they do not wish to hold on to power, CDD calls for such assurances to be assessed, not on the level of rhetoric, but on the basis of immediate steps to restore democracy. It is pertinent to note that Article 36 of the Malian constitution stipulates that if the President of the Republic is temporarily prevented from fulfilling his functions, his powers are temporarily exercised by the Prime Minister. CDD calls on the diplomatic community, including the United Nations, European Union, to exert maximum pressure on the regime until constitutional order is restored in Mali.

Elections, Democracy and COVID-19 in West Africa

By Publication, Publications

Based on its analysis of elections conducted so far in West Africa during the current pandemic, the Centre for Democracy and Development outlines the following considerations to guide the conduct of elections under the pandemic:

Tissued by national governments, public health authorities, and national task forces on the movement and safety of people should inform the decisions taken by governments and electoral management bodies to either postpone or hold elections. Actors should prioritize conducting the full gamut of electoral activities (voter registration, procurement, political campaigning, and electoral crisis management).

Decision-makers must consider the constitutional significance of elections and the originally scheduled dates by comparing the advantages and disadvantages of holding or postponing an election during the pandemic.

This is important if the legitimacy of the elections is not to be questioned or diminished.


Les OSC d'Afrique de l'Ouest demandent à la CEDEAO de prioriser son processus d'intervention au Mali

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13 Juillet 2020

Les OSC d’Afrique de l’Ouest demandent à la CEDEAO de prioriser son processus d’intervention au Mali

Etant donné la crise en cours au Mali, les organisations de la société civile en Afrique de l’Ouest ont, le lundi 13 juillet 2020, appelé la Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (CEDEAO) à accorder la priorité à son intervention dans le pays.

Dans une lettre signée par les directeurs de 100 OSC à travers l’Afrique de l’Ouest et adressée au Président de la République du Niger, M. Issoufou Mahamadou, la coalition a déclaré que les tensions politiques croissantes au Mali doivent être traitées de toute urgence.

La coalition a exhorté président Issoufou, qui est également le président de l’Autorité des chefs d’État et de gouvernement de la CEDEAO, à faire face aux agitations politiques au Mali à la suite des élections législatives de mai.

Il a également souligné que les élections ont mis l’administration du président Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta et de l’opposition, la coalition M5-RFP sur une trajectoire de collision.

La coalition M5-RFP est composée de la Coordination des mouvements d’associations et de sympathisants de l’imam Mahmoud Dicko (CMAS), du Front pour la sauvegarde de la démocratie (FSD) et d’Espoir Mali Koura (EMK).

Copiés dans la lettre du 13 juillet 2020, sont les leaders politiques de la France, du Danemark, les chefs des Nations Unies, de l’Union européenne, de l’Union Africain, de l’ambassade de la France, l’ambassade de Danemark, du Département des affaires politiques de la CEDEAO, du Département des affaires de consolidation de la paix/Unité d’alerte précoce de la CEDEAO, les commissaires aux droits de l’homme de la CEDEAO/UA parmi beaucoup d’autres.

Les OSC ont attiré l’attention sur le fait qu’étant donné l’impact multidimensionnel que l’escalade de cette crise politique au Mali pourrait avoir sur la région de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, des pays tels que le Burkina Faso, le Niger, la Côte d’Ivoire et la Guinée pourraient se retrouver dans une situation sécurité irréparable. 

Les OSC ont déclaré qu’une telle crise pourrait ainsi avoir un effet d’entraînement regrettable sur la vie de 172 millions de personnes dans toute la région de l’Afrique de l’Ouest.

Dirigées par le directeur du Centre pour la démocratie et le développement (CDD), Idayat Hassan, les OSC ont appelé le président Muhammadou Issoufou à s’engager de manière décisive avec les parties concernées pour résoudre l’impasse entre le gouvernement du président Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta et la coalition d’opposition M5-RFP.

Selon les OSC, il est essentiel, à court terme, d’assurer la paix et la bonne gouvernance pour le peuple du Mali avec un effort soutenu afin d’arriver à une solution qui garantira la paix et la sécurité dans le pays dans le respect des normes et principes de la CEDEAO.

« Nous sommes conscients que la CEDEAO s’est engagée avec les autorités du Mali, et il y a des signes de réceptivité au dialogue. Nous sommes également encouragés par les concessions significatives faites par le Président Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta », peut-on lire dans la lettre.

« On peut dire la même chose de l’imam Mahmoud Dicko, qui continue à interagir avec les diplomates, les fonctionnaires des Nations unies et le représentant de l’Union africaine (UA), alors que toutes les parties cherchent une solution pacifique à la crise. Néanmoins, un travail important est nécessaire pour parvenir à une résolution », peut-on lire.

Il a également imploré la CEDEAO de prioriser la quête d’un engagement continu au Mali, avec toutes les parties prenantes. Cela doit inclure les organisations de la société civile comprenant les groupes de jeunes et de femmes, les organisations confessionnelles représentant toutes les confessions, les autorités traditionnelles – représentant tous les groupes communautaires – et le secteur de la sécurité – au-delà du clivage politique et idéologique.  

Les OSC ont encouragé la CEDEAO à collaborer avec les représentations diplomatiques, en particulier l’Union européenne, la France, pour engager de manière proactive tous les combattants au Nord et au Centre du Mali. 

Il a déclaré que la fin des hostilités au Mali peut permettre la tenue de négociations sur une paix durable et mettre fin aux souffrances humaines persistantes en raison du conflit et des crises politiques et des difficultés économiques concomitants déjà exacerbées par la pandémie de Covid-19.

« Alors que l’UA cherche à faire avancer sa campagne « Silencing the Guns in Africa » d’ici 2020, nous, en tant que société civile et organisations confessionnelles, sommes prêts à travailler avec la CEDEAO au Mali, de toutes les manières possibles », ont déclaré les OSC.

La lettre a été cosignée par les Directeurs du :

Centre pour la Démocratie et le Développent (CDD -West Africa)

L’Institut de la société civile de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (WACSI)

Réseau Ouest Africain pour l’Edification de la Paix (WANEP)

Centre pour le Développement Démocratique (CDD-Ghana)

Dr Emmanuel Akwetey – Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Ghana

Partners West Africa

Marcella Samba-Sesay – Campaign for Good Governance (CGG)

Esther Tawiah – Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED  

Hawa Sally Samai – Advocacy Movement Network (AMNet)

Centre pour la Gouvernance Democratique (CGD) Burkina Faso

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)

Yiaga Africa

Global Rights, Nigeria 

Partners West Africa

The Centre for Information Technology and Development, CITAD

Centre for Democratic Development Research and Training (CEDDERT) Nigeria.

Socio Economic Rights & Accountability Project (SERAP)

Nigeria Network of NGOs

Alliances for Africa

Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) Nigeria

Corporate Accountability and Public Participation (CAPPA)

Community Life Project (CLP)

Yar’Adua Foundation

National procurement Watch Platform

Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC).

Centre for Social Justice.

State of the Union (SOTU) Campaign

Asabe Shehu Yar’Adua Foundation (ASYARFS)

Policy Alert

Corporate Accountability and Public Participation (CAAPA)

Zero Corruption Coalition

Tax Justice and Governance Platform

Community Action for Popular Participation

Say No Campaign

Alliance for Credible Elections

Beautiful Eves of Africa Organisation

Oke Foundation

Confluence of Rights, Nigeria

Legal Resources Consortium; Justice for Peace and Development Initiative.

Divine Era Development and Social Rights Initiative (DEDASRI)

National Association of Nigerian traders (NANTS)

Women, Law and Development Initiative (WOLDI)

Community Outreach for Development and Welfare Advocacy (CODWA)

HEDA Resource Centre.

Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development (FENRAD)

Centre for Human Rights and Social Advancement (CEFSAN).

National Procurement Watch Platform Nigeria

Front Citoyen Togo Debout

Le Mouvement Martin Luther King Togo

Novation Internationale Togo

Conseil Episcopal Justice et Paix

Centre for Research and Policy Development- Gambia

African Youth Commission – Gambia

Activista Gambia

Gambia Participate

Rights and Rice Foundation & Chairman, TJWG Liberia

Community Health Education and Social Services (CHESS-Liberia)

Young Leaders of Africa (YOLEAF) – Network Liberia

Namote Partners

Foundation for Human Rights and Democracy (FOHRD)

Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding

Association Panafricaine pour l’analphabétisme et L’Education des Adulte (PAALAE)

Association des blogueurs de la Guinée

Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL)

Mano River Women’s Peace Network

The 50/50 of Sierra Leone                                                     

Girls +                                                            

Society for Democratic Initiatives (SDI)                              

 Kids Advocacy Network                                                      

Centre for Coordination of Youth Activities (CCYA)

Women’s Forum Network (50 Women’s organisations)

Foundation for Rural and Urban Transformation (FoRUT)  

Child Rights Coalition – Sierra Leone (105 National Organisations)

Skyy Women’s World Network                                                        

Barbarra Town                                                                       

Kids Radio Network                                      

Youth Forum Network                                                          

ECOWAS Youth Council – Sierra Leone                                         

Salone Lives Matter                                                               

One Family People                                                                

Madam Planner                                                                                  

Society for Peace and Development                                      

Social Workers – Sierra Leone                                                          

Mabalka Foundation                                                              

Native Consortium (NTT) (236 members)

Foundation for Human Rights and Democracy (FOHRD)

Régional President of REPSFECO

Defence for Children International– Sierra Leone                

Indigo Centre for Justice                                                        

Africa Mirror                                                                          

Girls Advocacy Development Network                                            

Young People Advocacy Network (YPAN)                         

Women’s Alliance Against Maternal Mortality Foundation

Girls Empowerment Advocacy Board                                              

Women’s Rights Advocacy Group                 –