Promoting the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance

Grantee: Institute for Democracy in South Africa

At the time the project began, the process of ratifying the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance, adopted by the African Union in January 2007, was moribund and there was no international project activity to invigorate it. The objective of the project was to strengthen civil society actors to build a constituency for the signing and ratification of the Charter. At the time the project was proposed, 15 ratifications were needed to bring the Charter into force, two countries (Ethiopia and Mauritania) had ratified the Charter and twenty-five had signed it, thus indicating their intention to ratify.
Assessing the impact of the project was not easy. The intended direct beneficiaries were members of the African democracy community, whose network and ability to advocate for the Charter were strengthened. It is not possible, based on the timetable of ratifications and project activities, to convincingly demonstrate that the project greatly accelerated the coming into force of the Charter. Only three countries in which activities were implemented actually ratified the Charter. The project objective was not ratification itself but rather strengthening the advocacy community and facilitating ratification yet achieving ratification in target countries was an implicit objective of the project

Ultimately, the sustainability of the project activity will also be a function of political will. The project was born of policy elites, implemented by policy elites, delivered results of direct relevance only to policy elites, yet promises substantial benefits to all the people of Africa, who will benefit from democracy.