Only 8 African countries endorsed the declaration of the Second Summit for Democracy.

Only 8 African countries have endorsed the declaration of the second Summit for Democracy in which leaders reaffirm their shared belief that democracy – government

reflecting the effective participation and will of the people – is humanity’s most enduring means to advance peace, prosperity, equality, sustainable development, and security.

The countries are Botswana, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Zambia. The latter was one of the co-host countries for the second Summit for Democracy which took place on March 29-30, 2023.

The Declaration was endorsed by a total of 74 countries worldwide excluding the 57 countries that are categorized as “Not Free” in the Freedom in the World Report 2023 published by Freedom House. Leaders of the 74 endorsing countries called upon other leaders to join them in the democratic renewal efforts.

The Declaration further recognises that democracy can take many forms, but shares common characteristics, including;

  • Free and fair elections that are inclusive and accessible
  • Separation of powers; checks and balances
  • Peaceful transitions of power
  • Independent media and safety of journalists
  • Transparency
  • Access to information
  • Accountability
  • Inclusion
  • Gender equality
  • Civic participation
  • Equal protection of the law, and
  • Respect for human rights, including freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association

The endorsing countries acknowledge that freedom and democracy are strengthened through cooperation, and commit to building stronger domestic, regional, and global partnerships that are more assertive in countering authoritarianism and corruption and that demonstrate that democracy delivers peace, stability, and prosperity for all.

They pledged to remain united in supporting one another in their efforts to bolster democracy domestically, regionally, and internationally, combat authoritarian

trends, advance multilateral and multistakeholder dialogue and cooperation, and safeguard the full and effective exercise of human rights, including civil and political rights, as well as the progressive realization of economic, social, and cultural rights.

The declaration is comprised of 17 operative paragraphs each addressing a particular sub-theme. Three of the endorsing African countries namely Zambia, Mauritania and Malawi, expressed reservations on at least one of the paragraphs.

Zambia and Mauritania have reservations on paragraph 8 – “promote respect for human rights and equality for all individuals and combat all forms of discrimination and exclusion on any grounds, consistent with international human rights law, including multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, including on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, color, religion or belief, national or social origin, property, birth, indigeneity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, pregnancy, political opinion, class, genetic information, or age, and promote inclusion and the full and equal participation of all individuals in marginalized or vulnerable situations, including internally displaced persons.”

Malawi’s reservations are on paragraph 17 – “commit to working together to address the most critical global challenges. We are committed to protecting the environment as an essential element in achieving sustainable development and advancing sustainable, inclusive, and functional democracies.”

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