On his first visit to Africa as U.S. President in 2009 Barack Obama declared, “Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.” United for Africa’s Democratic Future is dedicated to making that proposition a reality.
We work to inform the public debate of the indispensable role that fair and free elections and transparency in governance must play in establishing freedom and economic opportunity for people in African nations. Democracy is also critical in establishing stability among African nations and mutually beneficial engagement with nations around the world.
United for Africa’s Democratic Future was established in 2015 against a backdrop of pivotal developments in Africa’s political and economic history. In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, an orderly election led to the peaceful transfer of power from President Goodluck Jonathan to Muhammadu Buhari. There have been just fleeting periods of democracy in Nigeria’s post-colonial history so this first-ever peaceful transfer of power was a milestone. This single event could set the stage for democratic change as more than a dozen other countries prepare for national elections over the next year. For example, Presidential elections are due to take place in December 2106 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the second most populous country in sub-Saharan Africa. If the current leader relents from his current maneuvers that appear to be aimed at staying in power, the world could see another historic Constitutional transfer of power.
However, the triumph of democracy is far from assured. The Ebola epidemic in several West African nations underscored how fragile the physical and economic infrastructures of many countries are. Meanwhile, the brutal Boko Haram group in Nigeria has pledged allegiance to ISIS and local militant groups in Somalia, Nigeria, Mali and other countries have cast their lots in with al Qaeda. Combatting this terrorist threat is an additional strain on already weak political systems. Sadly, human rights violations afflict people in countries throughout the continent.
Still, political, economic and social dysfunction need not be seen as permanent realities in Africa. Tens of millions of people in Africa are determined to pursue and enjoy the political freedom and economic opportunity that are rightfully theirs but which have been denied them for too long. Indeed, President Obama declared in remarks before the African Union in 2015, “The future of Africa is up to Africans.”
Many African countries are endowed with vast deposits of minerals, ores, oil and natural gas. These resources are finite but they could be tapped to jump start economic development and investments in agriculture, infrastructure and education. Long after the minerals and fossil fuel deposits are extracted, Africa’s rich farmland, natural wonders, and human capacity will remain. The riches beneath the ground today can ensure the bounty above the ground can support high standards of living and economic opportunities for hundreds of millions of people for years to come in tourism, agriculture, financial services and technology.
United for Africa’s Democratic Future is dedicated to raising global awareness of and encouraging timely support of emerging democratic forces in Africa. The global community has an unprecedented opportunity to stand with champions of democratic change and bolster their chances of succeeding in achieving their goals of Constitutional governance and economic reform.
United for Africa’s Democratic Future believes that all the world’s nations have a political, economic and humanitarian stake in a free, secure and prosperous Africa.