The African Democracy Forum (ADF) held a two day high-level Management Committee meeting from 5th – 6th May, 2017 at Umubano hotel in Kigali, Rwanda. The meeting brought together Management Committee members from across the African continent including Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Somalia and Mali to discuss pertinent issues of the Forum including its operationalization, long-term strategic plan and registration of new members.
A regional network launched in Abuja, Nigeria in October 2000, ADF is comprised of civil society organizations, media institutions, community based organizations and academic institutions that focus on democracy, democratic research, protection of human rights, upholding the rule of law and promoting good governance through the twin principles of transparency and accountability in Africa. The African Democracy Forum was designed to strengthen democracy movements in Africa by benefiting from the wealth of experiences, expertise and knowledge among its members. ADF is composed of the General Assembly, the Management Committee and the Secretariat which is currently hosted by Never Again Rwanda (NAR) – a national peace-building NGO that is involved in Peace building and promotion of social justice in Rwanda.
Among the key resolutions of the meeting was the modification of the thematic areas of focus for the African Democracy Forum as follows: Elections and governance, Conflicts and violent extremism, Human rights/ Human rights defenders, Youth and women participation, and Anti-Corruption. The thematic areas will inform the efforts and activities that the ADF undertakes in order to achieve its vision and mission.
The Management Committee members resolved to have the African Democracy Forum registered as a Regional Non-Governmental Organization in Rwanda so as to empower the African civil society organizations in championing the democratic principles and also facilitate solid engagement with various African policy makers through a legal entity. The process will begin with immediate effect with the deadline set for September 2017. Under the operationalization of ADF, the meeting resolved that the Management Committee members will be the regional focal persons for the forum with additional national focal persons identified to assist in promoting the forum’s activities at their country levels.
With regard to membership, it was resolved that in line with the two categories for memberships available, that is, individual and organization membership as outlined in the ADF constitution the annual membership fee would be 50 USD for individuals while organizations would pay an annual membership fee of 100 USD. The Management Committee resolved to have an elective General Assembly in 2019 as provided for in the constitution while the next African Democracy Forum Management Committee physical meeting will be held in October 2017. The Forum is currently supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED); a nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world.