A democratic decline, accelerated by the pandemic, is underway in sub-Saharan Africa. More Africans live under fully or partially authoritarian states today than at most points in the last two decades.
With the exception of Cape Verde, the civic space in most West African nations is either obstructed or repressed, to ‘closed’ in Northern Africa. The pandemic has also constrained civic action and engagement with government abuse of power and exposed the vulnerabilities of civil society actors (CSOs). Attempts by local CSOs and external actors to counter this trend of shrinking civic spaces have been largely unsuccessful.
Social movements such as #EndSARS, #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter have shown the power that new digital tools and social media can have in opening online spaces for mobilising citizen action. People’s ownership and mobilization are critical enablers to realize Africa’s aspirations.
To achieve an integrated, peaceful, and economically developed Africa, all segments of the society must be fully involved. Otherwise, the most marginalized and disempowered groups face a growing risk of being left behind, and more societies will become less democratic, unequal and pushed further into poverty.
We must work together to promote, protect and defend civic space. Take the quiz to find out how.