Africa has long been associated first with colonial rule, followed by authoritarian rule. Some go so far as to suggest that, like the Chinese, Africans prioritize development over democracy. Extensive polling by Afrobarometer (Africa’s version of Gallup polls) reveals a different narrative.
A survey of 34 African nations revealed continued support for democratization with an uptick in those favoring non-democratic approaches only in eSwatini and Malawi. With a peaceful transition of power in Malawi in 2020, Malawians received a much-needed revival in their faith in democracy.
Rather than asking if Africans want democracy, a better question to ask might be what form do they want democracy to take? Three Africa experts join the Vail Symposium to discuss the future direction of democracy and autocracy In Africa. Other issues to be addressed include whether democracy is a façade for autocracy and how African nations have addressed corruption.
The United States is not the only country with interests in Africa. In recent years China has made diplomatic and development inroads into the continent. The panel will also address the current status of American and Chinese roles, as well as those of European nations. Included will be a discussion of the capabilities and capacity of the U.S. State Department and government.