COMBATING CORRUPTION WORKSHOP AND TOOLKIT

The Africa Liberal Network, with the support of the Liberal Democrats’ International Office and Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, recently hosted a workshop on Combating Corruption. On 1 and 2 June 2018, 16 participants from ALN member parties hand picked for their expertise in this field, attended the workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa.

combating corruptionCorruption is not an unfamiliar phenomena to our member parties, and many of them struggle daily with the scourge of corruption in their countries. From corrupt presidents, to corrupt governments and institutions, it is difficult to maintain democracies that exist for the benefit of all. As liberal political parties, we have the express responsibility to combat corruption, both in our governments and in our parties. The ALN is committed to the rule of law, transparency and accountability. It is for this reason that we decided to host a workshop on combating corruption, with a particular focus on keeping our parties clean and the aim of delivering a user-friendly anti-corruption framework at its conclusion.

The workshop focused on breaking down our understanding of corruption and redefining the concept, followed by a thorough analysis of our parties’ organisational structures. Consequently, we were able to identify where the vulnerable spots in our parties are, along with an analysis of the measures we already have in place to prevent corruption and fraud. The participants took part in an engaging brainstorming session to come up with creative solutions for the previously identified problem areas, with many of them sharing best practices from their parties.

combating corruptionThrough inputs delivered during this workshop, the ALN is proud to present its first Anti-Corruption Toolkit for Political Parties (pdf).

It is our hope that our member parties will utilise this framework to strengthen their structures, prevent corruption from happening and implement measures to detect when it does occur.

 

 

 

STATEMENT BY THE AFRICA LIBERAL NETWORK ON AFRICA DAY 2018

Today, on 25 May, we celebrate Africa Day 2018. Historically, this is the day that signifies the creation of the Organisation for African Unity (or the African Union, as we know it today) in 1963 and is meant to be a symbol for a united continent. It’s been 55 years since the liberation of Africa, and the continent has grown in many wonderful ways.

We could celebrate the massive strides made by African countries in growing their economies, building large urban centers filled with bustling populations, developing public health services, furthering education among African youth and creating governments that can comfortably share a table with international superpowers. We can praise the rich potential of the continent, in terms of resources, human capital, innovation and growth. We can laud the incredible diversity of African people and the range of cultures, religions and races that fill up this great continent.

These are points that should be celebrated with a respectful view of how far the continent has come since its liberation. Africa Day should be a day to reflect about the progress we’ve made as Africans and how we are a force to be reckoned with on the global political scene.

However, we cannot celebrate the continent’s successes without addressing the many ways in which it is not yet free.  In 2015 the AU adopted Agenda 2063 which is a framework and plan for addressing past injustices and assist in securing Africa’s place in the world, making the 21st Century, Africa’s Century.

Agenda 2063 reads that in the next 50 years it aims to achieve:

  1. A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development
  2. An integrated continent, politically united and based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance
  3. An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law
  4. A peaceful and secure Africa
  5. An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics
  6. An Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children
  7. Africa as a strong, united and influential global player and partner

In order to achieve this, we have to critically and seriously address the various obstacles to growth, development and true liberation for Africa.

POOR GOVERNANCE

Even though we’ve seen a rise in democracies in Africa and democratization has been common place, we still have not reached an age of true democratic governance. African leaders and their governments continue to fail their countrymen by abusing power, misusing state funds, suppressing opposition and neglecting vital responsibilities. Once celebrated liberation movements have turned sour and hold on to power, with no regard for the well-being of citizens. An even more concerning trend is the abuse of democratic measures such as the constitution and electoral processes to legitimize authoritarian regimes. Until governments take responsibility for their countries and citizens, respect the rule of law, and leaders step down when it is their time, Africa will not be truly free.

OPPRESSION OF OPPOSITION

A healthy democracy comprises of a multiparty system that allows for opposition parties to partake in elections and critique the status quo. The constant suppression and persecution of opposition parties in Africa is not only undemocratic but an abuse of human rights in many cases. Every year opposition parties, their leaders and voters get targeted, jailed and in many cases killed, for speaking out against corrupt and oppressive authoritarian regimes. A worrying aspect of this phenomenon is governments and their leaders’ abuse of powers such as the national armed forces, state media and courts to oppress and persecute. Media should be independent and free to report on matters of national importance, whereas courts should be impartial in their proceedings and allow for unbiased trials. This constant oppression is not conducive to stable democracies and arenas for sustainable growth, to the benefit of all.

UNEMPLOYMENT

Over the past few decades we’ve seen rapid urbanisation take place in Africa’s major cities. However, with this increasing population growth comes many troubling issues, one of them being unemployment. Africa is struggling with an unemployment epidemic, with large portions of populations being left unemployed, impoverished and not empowered to live fulfilling lives. Most concerning is the enormous amounts of African youth who not only have job opportunities but also have very little education. Governments should be investing more resources into secondary and tertiary education, especially for girls, and ensure that with economic growth comes job creation and investment in local and small businesses. Economic liberation is something yet to be achieved for many Africans and liberal economic policies that ensure the most disenfranchised in Africa are taken care of is paramount.

SECURITY AND ARMED CONFLICT

In many African countries a harsh reality still exists: armed conflict is a daily occurrence. From rebel groups to terrorist organisations and even state-sanctioned conflict, it is unacceptable that there is an increasing lack of human security on the continent. Large groups of refugees have fled their war-torn countries in search of a safer life, resulting in mass displacement of African people. Some end up in situations not much better than the countries they fled from: in countries that do not want to accept them, refugee camps, or the slave trade. It is simply appalling that African people are treated with such discontent, with no regard for their lives. Conflict is never a solution and governments should go to the utmost lengths to ensure their entire population is protected.

LACK OF LEADERSHIP

What we experience in Africa today, is a leadership vacuum, on varying levels. Once impressive leaders have revealed themselves to be power hungry, while true leadership has not been given a chance to prove their worth. The Africa Liberal Network works with some of the most passionate and dedicated parties on the continent and remains hopeful that these leaders will be given an opportunity to govern and show Africa what true liberal governments can do for their countries. Furthermore, there is a need for regional and international organisations, such as the AU, to step up and critically engage on the issues plaguing the continent. It is no longer good enough to sit in the shadows while Africa goes through some of its most challenging years. We require a continental leadership who can bring countries together for mutual gain and equal development, while assisting those who are in dire need.

It is the hope of the Africa Liberal Network that Africa will reflect on its turbulent past today, whilst simultaneously being aware of how far we’ve come as a continent. However, it is also necessary to realistically assess the situation we find ourselves in today and think of ways we can achieve a truly free African reality, with empowered Africans living fulfilled, safe and empowered lives. A very Happy Africa Day to from our Liberal Family, to yours.

“WOMEN IN AFRICAN POLITICS: CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS”

women in african politicsOur colleagues at the International Office of the Liberal Democrats recently published a booklet on Women in African Politics with the assistance and inputs from the ALN Secretariat.

Isabelle Pucher,  Head of the Liberal Democrat International Office and Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) Senior Programme Manager says:

This publication, through a series of interviews, highlights both some of the barriers and some of the solutions existing to the promotion of gender equality in African politics. Although the evidence on under-representation of women in politics in different parts of the world is overwhelming and clear, there are still passionate and highly competent women that are ready to run for office and willing to defy the odds. I hope this publication will strengthen us not only as liberals, or as fellow human beings, but especially with regards to equality in politics. 

Click here to download the full publication

DECLARATION D’ACCRA SUR LES ECONOMIES LIBERALES

DÉCLARATION PRISE À L’ASSEMBLÉE GÉNÉRALE DU RLA DE 2018

Accra, Ghana

dimanche 4 mars 2018

Nous, les partis membres du RLA, nous engageons à œuvrer pour une croissance économique sûre et pacifique pour tous les peuples et nations d’Afrique et croyons que l’élément fondamental pour y parvenir est d’assurer des politiques économiques libérales équitables et profitables à tous par leur adoption par les gouvernements des pays africains, agissant sur la base des principes de transparence totale et de bonne gouvernance et des dispositions consacrées dans le Pacte international relatif aux droits économiques, sociaux et culturels de 1966, des priorités d’action suivantes ;

  1. Reconnaitre qu’un marché libre et équitable sans barrières commerciales, nonobstant la Déclaration de Zanzibar de 2014, associé à la libre circulation des citoyens des pays africains en Afrique sans l’obtention d’un visa, est la voie vers un continent africain économiquement développé. Le commerce international est important pour la croissance à long terme, mais aussi pour la réduction de la pauvreté. L’intensification du commerce éloigne les personnes et les pays de la pauvreté et contribue à une ouverture et à une inclusion accrues.
  2. Reconnaitre que l’Afrique devient un acteur clé dans l’acquisition, la génération et l’application des connaissances aux différents défis du développement. Cependant, pour que l’innovation joue son rôle dans la poursuite de la diversification et de la transformation des économies africaines, des progrès supplémentaires doivent être accomplis. Un soutien durable est nécessaire pour aider les États africains à répondre à leurs besoins urgents tels que l’industrialisation, l’économie verte et la création d’emplois.
  3. Comprendre que le progrès économique des femmes, conformément à la Convention des Nations Unies sur l’élimination de toutes les formes de discrimination à l’égard des femmes de 1979, est non seulement bénéfique et crucial pour assurer l’égalité entre les sexes mais aussi une condition préalable au développement de l’Afrique dans son ensemble.
  4. Comprendre que la création de possibilités de travail sans exploitation et le paiement des revenus conformément au Protocole de l’Organisation internationale du Travail sur la négociation collective de 1949, en particulier pour la grande population de jeunes sans emploi, est essentielle pour la transformation économique de l’Afrique et son développement durable.
  5. Assurer la mise en œuvre et l’application de l’État de droit conformément à la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme de 1948, au Pacte universel sur les droits politiques et civils de 1966 et à la Charte africaine des droits de l’homme et des peuples de 1981, afin de maintenir une gouvernance démocratique fondamentale avec des institutions indépendantes et stables où les freins et les contrepoids sont convenus, et où les traités et les accords sont respectés. Telle est la clé pour créer une économie africaine prospère et équitable.
  6. Prévoir l’urbanisation inévitable et les flux migratoires importants qui accompagnent la croissance économique, en veillant à se préparer de façon adéquate à ces changements et à l’impact qu’ils pourraient avoir sur les services publics, l’infrastructure, les salaires et les soins de santé, entre autres.
  7. S’assurer que, à mesure que les économies se développent, les ressources naturelles sont protégées, la sécurité alimentaire est garantie et l’accès à l’eau potable est assuré par les gouvernements. Le développement durable et responsable des économies africaines dépend de la prise en compte de ces facteurs.
  8. Reconnaitre que les investissements dans l’infrastructure publique sont largement en retard et œuvrer à l’élimination de la réglementation inutile et de l’incertitude réglementaire. Il est également essentiel que nous soutenions les nouveaux marchés et les nouveaux investissements, en particulier lorsqu’il s’agit d’innovations permettant une utilisation intelligente des ressources.
  9. Travailler à la promotion de l’innovation, de la recherche scientifique et des compétences sans dégrader l’environnement sera vital pour la prospérité de la future économie fondée sur la connaissance. Le développement de l’intelligence artificielle va changer la nature du travail pour un grand nombre d’individus, ce qui signifie que l’Afrique doit agir dès maintenant pour s’assurer que cette avancée technologique profite à tous et qu’aucune zone ne soit laissée dans l’ombre de la technologie.

14ème ASSEMBLEE GENERALE ANNUELLE DU RESEAU LIBERAL AFRICAIN

Le Réseau libéral africain (RLA), la plus grande affiliation de partis politiques libéraux en Afrique, s’est réuni à Accra, au Ghana, du 2 au 4 mars 2018 pour son 14ème Assemblée générale. Cette année, nous avons été gracieusement accueillis par le PPP (Progressive People’s Party) du Ghana, qui nous a aidé à accueillir des partis membres venant de 24 pays africains différents et des partenaires venant de divers pays européens. Les délégués se sont retrouvés lors de leur rassemblement annuel pour discuter des questions concernant le RLA ainsi que du thème de l’Assemblée générale cette année :

“Plus de liberté et d’équité : À la recherche de la croissance de l’économie africaine” 

14ème assemblee generaleIl est juste que nous nous rencontrions en Afrique de l’Ouest, dont certains pays sont gouvernés par les libéraux au niveau national ou régional, le Sénégal et la Côte d’Ivoire illustrant parfaitement les opportunités et la prospérité qui peuvent être créées et maintenues par le libéralisme en action. Nous vivons dans un monde où les valeurs démocratiques libérales et les institutions qui les soutiennent sont constamment menacées. Cela représente un défi pour la coopération régionale et mondiale, les droits de l’homme et les valeurs libérales de tolérance, de paix et de justice. Les libéraux africains ont néanmoins une opportunité unique de continuer à avancer à contre-courant et de fournir des lueurs d’espoir au monde. Le rôle des partis d’opposition dans les pays africains est plus important que jamais et les libéraux doivent rester des voix critiques de l’opposition avec des promesses d’espoir pour tous les citoyens.

14ème Assemblée généraleLe thème de cette Assemblée générale prend plus d’importance que jamais. Au fur et à mesure que les pays renforcent leurs démocraties partout dans le continent, nous ne devons pas oublier le développement et la stimulation des économies africaines. L’Afrique est un continent riche en ressources, en capital et à fort potentiel. Aujourd’hui, le continent abrite près de la moitié des 20 économies les plus dynamiques du monde. Au fur et à mesure que ces marchés et ces économies se développent, souvent à des rythmes rapides, il est important d’examiner comment cette croissance peut profiter au plus grand nombre, plutôt qu’à un faible pourcentage du pays. Le dialogue sur la façon dont les politiques économiques libérales et les économies de marché peuvent combler l’écart grandissant entre les plus favorisés et les moins favorisés est crucial. C’est une question qui ne peut pas attendre, mais qui, au contraire, doit être considérée comme un processus parallèle.

14ème Assemblée généraleAu cours des deux journées de l’Assemblée générale, les délégués ont discuté de différents sujets en relation avec ce thème, avec l’aide de nos partenaires stratégiques essentiels : le Bureau international des Démocrates libéraux (Liberal Democrats) et la Fondation Friedrich Naumann pour la liberté. Des experts venant d’Afrique et d’Europe ont organisé des sessions sur le manuel des libéraux concernant les politiques pouvant être élaborées afin de développer les économies africaines tout en gardant à l’esprit le bien-être de tous les africains. Une autre session s’est concentrée sur la manière dont les pays peuvent stimuler leur marché de l’emploi et leur économie par l’entremise de programmes d’apprentissage. Les délégués étaient divisés en groupes francophones et anglophones, assurant ainsi une implication optimale et un travail en groupe de qualité. Ils ont été incités à sortir des sentiers battus, à concevoir des solutions créatives et à discuter de questions plus spécifiques relatives au thème.

14ème Assemblée généraleLa deuxième moitié de l’Assemblée générale était dédiée à la discussion sur la Déclaration d’Accra sur les économies libérales. Les diverses questions soulevées comme étant des priorités pour le RLA en matière d’économies libérales concernent des marchés libres et équitables sans barrières, l’accroissement des échanges commerciaux, l’innovation et la numérisation, l’émancipation des femmes et l’égalité entre les sexes, la mise en place d’institutions justes et indépendantes, et la protection des droits de l’homme dans un contexte de développement imminent. Les partis membres du RLA se sont engagés à œuvrer pour garantir une croissance économique sûre et pacifique pour tous les peuples et les nations d’Afrique, et ont réaffirmé leur conviction que les gouvernements africains doivent adopter des politiques justes et libérales.

14ème Assemblée généraleVers la fin de la dernière journée, le programme s’est scindé en deux événements parallèles. Le Comité des droits de l’homme de l’Internationale libérale (Liberal International Human Rights Committee) a organisé, en partenariat avec le D66 des Pays-Bas, un atelier sur la Liberté de religion et de croyance. Les participants ont pu partager des expériences tirées de leurs propres pays et formuler des propositions de politiques destinées à aborder cette question au niveau national et international. La session avait pour objectif de s’accorder sur une approche libérale commune sur ce sujet. La deuxième session consistait en une table ronde animée par le VVD des Pays-Bas et la Fédération libérale arabe (ALF – Arab Liberal Federation) sur le sujet des échanges commerciaux intra-arabes et les défis et possibilités qu’ils présentent. Cette table ronde visait à partager les résultats et les recommandations du rapport de la Fédération libérale arabe sur le commerce intra-arabe. Le groupe de travail a également échangé des idées et des recommandations du point de vue de l’Afrique dans son ensemble, et en particulier de la région ouest-africaine.

14ème Assemblée généraleNous avons le plaisir de confirmer que le nombre de nos membres a substantiellement augmenté au cours de ce rassemblement. Trois nouveaux partis issus de la République démocratique du Congo, de Madagascar et du Burkina Faso ont été acceptés comme membres observateurs, tandis que cinq partis, venant du Mali, de la Mauritanie, du Ghana et de la Zambie respectivement, ont été promus au rang de membres à part entière. Le fait que le nombre de nos membres augmente de manière si durable et constante est un bon signe, cela signifie que le libéralisme se développe en Afrique !

Outre la Déclaration d’Accra sur les économies libérales, les délégués ont adopté trois résolutions sur la Somalie, la Zambie et le réchauffement planétaire.

En conclusion, cette Assemblée générale a été extrêmement fructueuse. Nous sommes ravis que 25 pays différents aient pris le temps, malgré leur calendrier politique chargé, de participer au plus grand rassemblement des partis libéraux en Afrique. Il s’agit d’une occasion dont nous sommes reconnaissants et nous tenons à remercier nos partenaires stratégiques, les Démocrates libéraux et la Fondation Friedrich Naumann pour la liberté, pour leur soutien continu à tous les niveaux vis-à-vis des activités du RLA. Dans le même ordre d’idée, nous tenons à exprimer nos remerciements à nos donateurs et partenaires en matière de libéralisme, le VVD et le D66 des Pays-Bas, ainsi qu’à l’Internationale libérale, et en particulier au Comité des droits de l’homme. Nous espérons, au cours de l’année qui suit, développer le réseau, nos partenariats, nos économies et nos pays !

14ème Assemblée générale

THE ACCRA DECLARATION ON LIBERAL ECONOMIES

DECLARATION TAKEN AT THE 2018 ALN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Accra, Ghana

4 March 2018

We, the ALN member parties, commit to working for secure and peaceful economic growth for all the peoples and nations of Africa and believe that fundamental to that is securing fair liberal economic policies for the benefit of all through the adoption by the governments of Africa, acting on the principles of full transparency and good governance, and provisions enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, of the following priorities for action;

  1. Acknowledging that a free and fair market without trade barriers, notwithstanding the Zanzibar Declaration of 2014, coupled with free movement of citizens of African countries within Africa without visa approval, is the path towards an economically developed African continent. International trade is important for long term growth, but also for decreasing poverty. Increased trade lifts both people and countries out from poverty and contribute to more openness and inclusiveness.
  2. Recognising that Africa is becoming a key player in acquiring, generating and applying knowledge to the different challenges within development. However, in order to make innovation play its part in the pursuit for diversification and transformation of the African economies more progress has to be done. Support in a sustainable way is needed to help African states address their urgent needs such as industrialisation, the green economy and job creation.
  3. Understanding that women’s economic advancement, in line with the UN Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women of 1979, is not only beneficial and crucial for gender inequality but also a precondition for Africa’s development as a whole.
  4. Understanding that the creation of non-exploitative work opportunities and due payment of earning in line with the Protocol of the International Labor Organization on Collective Bargaining of 1949, especially for the large population of unemployed youth, is essential for Africa’s economic transformation and sustainable development.
  5. Ensuring the implementation and application of the Rule of Law in conformity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Universal Covenant on the Political and Civil Rights of 1966 and the African Charter on People’s and Human Rights of 1981, in order to uphold vital and democratic governance with stable independent institutions where checks and balances are agreed, and treaties and agreements are adhered to. This is key in creating a prosperous and fair African economy.
  6. Providing for the inevitable urbanisation and large flows of migration that comes along with economic growth, ensuring that adequate preparation is made for these changes and the impact it might have on public services, infrastructure, wages and health care, among others.
  7. Ensuring that as economies grow, natural resources are protected, food security is guaranteed and access to clean water is provided by governments. The sustainable and responsible development of Africa’s economies depend on these factors being taken into consideration.
  8. Acknowledging that public infrastructure investment is long overdue and working for the removal of unnecessary regulation, and regulatory uncertainty. It is also vital that we support new markets and investment, especially when it comes to resource-efficient innovations.
  9. Working towards promoting innovation, scientific research and skills without degrading the environment, that will be vital for prosperity in the future knowledge-based economy. Increasing artificial intelligence is something that will change the nature of work for many which means that Africa needs to act now to ensure this technological advancement can be of the benefit of everyone and that no areas are left in technology’s shadow.

 

THE 14th ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE AFRICA LIBERAL NETWORK

The Africa Liberal Network (ALN), Africa’s largest affiliation of liberal political parties, met in Accra, Ghana from 2 to 4 March 2018 for their 14th annual General Assembly meeting. This year we were graciously hosted by ALN member party, the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) of Ghana, where they helped us welcome member parties from 24 African countries, and partners from various European countries. Delegates met in their annual meeting to discuss ALN matters as well as the theme of this year’s General Assembly:

“More Freedom & Fairness: The Pursuit of Growing Africa’s Economy”.

It is apt that we met in West Africa, with countries where liberals govern on a national or regional basis, such as in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire act as shining examples of the opportunities and prosperity which can be created and sustained by liberalism in action. We live in a world where the liberal democratic values and the institutions that uphold it is under constant threat. This is a challenge to regional and global cooperation, human rights, and liberal values of tolerance, peace, and justice. Nevertheless, African liberals have a unique opportunity to continue to rise against the tide and provide beacons of hope for the globe. The role of opposition parties in African countries are as important as ever and liberals must remain critical voices of opposition with promises of hope for all citizens.

14th annual general assemblyThe theme of this General Assembly is becoming more important than ever. As countries are consolidating their democracies all over the continent, we cannot forget about the development and stimulation of Africa’s economies. It is a continent rich in resources, capital and potential. Today, Africa homes almost half of the world’s 20 fastest growing economies. As these markets and economies grow, often at rapid rates, it is important to address how this growth can be shared broadly, rather than benefitting a small percentage of the country. Dialogue about how liberal economic policies and market economies can bridge the widening gap between the most and least advantaged is crucial. It is not a matter that can wait but should instead be considered as a parallel process.

14th annual general assemblyOver the two days of the General Assembly, delegates engaged on various topics relating to this topic with the help and assistance of our crucial strategic partners: the Liberal Democrats’ International Office and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. Experts from Africa and Europe hosted sessions on the liberal’s handbook for policies that can be developed to grow African economies while still keeping the well-being of all Africans in mind. Another session was held on how countries are able to stimulate the job market and economy through the use of apprenticeship programs. Delegates were divided into French and English-speaking groups, ensuring that optimal engagement and group work is guaranteed. They were encouraged to think outside the box, think of creative solutions and to debate the finer issues relating to the theme.

14th annual general assemblyThe second half of the General Assembly we dedicated our time to the discussion of the Accra Declaration on Liberal Economies. Various issues raised as priorities for the ALN in terms of liberal economies are free and fair markets without barriers, increased trade, innovation and digitization, women empowerment and gender equality, the establishment of fair and independent institutions, and the protection of human rights in light of imminent development. The ALN member parties committed to working for secure and peaceful economic growth for all the peoples and nations of Africa and emphasised their belief that fair liberal economic policies have to be adopted by the governments of Africa.

14th annual general assemblyAt the end of the final day, the program diverted into two side events. The Liberal International Human Rights Committee in partnership with D66 from the Netherlands is hosted a workshop on Freedom of Religion and Belief. Here, participants exchanged experiences from their own countries and formulated policy proposals on how to tackle the issue on both a national and international level. The session served to agree on a common liberal approach to the issue. The second session was a panel discussion hosted by VVD form the Netherlands and the Arab Liberal Federation (ALF) on intra-Arabic trade, and the challenges and opportunities that entail. This panel discussion aimed to share the results of the Arab Liberal Federation report on Intra-Arab Trade and its recommendations. The panel also exchanged ideas and recommendations from the broader African point of view and in particular of the Western African region.

14th annual general assemblyWe are pleased to announce that our membership grew significantly during this gathering. Three new parties from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar and Burkina Faso have been accepted as observer members, whereas five parties, from Mali, Mauritania, Ghana and Zambia, respectively were promoted to full membership. It is a good sign that our membership is growing so sustainably and constantly – liberalism is on the rise in Africa!

Besides the Accra Declaration on Liberal Economies, delegates passed three resolutions on Somalia, Zambia and global warming.

 

In conclusion, it has been an extremely fruitful General Assembly. We are pleased that 25 different countries took time out of their busy political schedules to attend the largest gathering of liberal parties in Africa. It’s an opportunity we are grateful for, and we wish to thank our strategic partners, the Liberal Democrats and Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom for their continued support on all levels for ALN activities. In the same vein we would like to extend our thanks to our donors and partners in liberalism, the VVD and D66 from the Netherlands, and Liberal International, in particular the Human Rights Committee. We hope to grow the network, our partnerships, our economies and our countries in the next year to come!

 

14th annual general assembly

LIBERAL INTERNATIONAL STATEMENT ON SUPPRESSION OF EGYPTIAN VOTERS

Our colleagues at Liberal International released the following statement on opposition and Egyptian voters suppression in Egypt ahead of their upcoming elections. The Africa Liberal Network stands with its global liberal family in condemning these acts and call on the government to cease such undemocratic practices. 

 

Harassment of Egyptian civil society and the throttling of political opponents of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is intensifying as the presidential elections next month draw closer.

Ahmed Abd Ramo, Secretary General of the Liberal Youth Forum and member of the political bureau of the Free Egyptians Party was seized and interrogated by the Egyptian police 23rd January 2018. He was in the Asyut region collecting signatures for presidential candidate Sami Anan when he was beaten and taken from his hotel room. He was then interrogated for six hours and finally dropped off in the desert. Fortunately he was able to survive and find a safe haven.

Hossam Eldin Aly, president of the Egyptian Democratic Academy, has not been able to leave Egypt for more than 1,000 days. Like scores of other directors of Egyptian non-governmental organisations, today Mr Aly lives with a travel ban – imposed by the government – for building bridges between the NGO movement in Egypt and the outside world. It is for this reason that he was unable to join us at the 199th LI Executive Committee in Johannesburg, South Africa.

More than 60, 000 people remain in jail and hundreds have been forcefully detained and tortured for daring to publicly criticize the government of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi with little or no hope of an impartial judicial process.

Arbitrary travel bans, along with asset freezes, have been weaponized by the government to impose restrictions on basic human rights such freedom of movement and freedom of expression, association and assembly. For the last 18 months, the ban on travel has been transformed from a precautionary measure issued by judicial order to an arbitrary punishment used to restrict democracy activists. Most of the affected activists have never been summoned for interrogation nor had the cases against them heard. These malicious restrictions directly contravene the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Human Rights Committee of Liberal International insists on legislative changes that remove all restrictions on freedom of speech, association, and assembly, in compliance with the basic values of the 2011 revolution and the international conventions of which Egypt is signatory.

Further, I strongly condemn the use of travel bans, asset freezes, and arbitrary detentions of civil society and human rights activists, independent journalists, and members of the opposition in Egypt, and urge the government to put an end to these illegal practices.

 

Find more information and the statement here.

STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT TRUMP’S OFFENSIVE REMARKS

The Africa Liberal Network takes note, and along with many African and world leaders, condemn the offensive remarks made about African countries by the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump. During a meeting with lawmakers on Thursday the President reportedly used foul and derogatory terms to describe African countries, asking why many so many African immigrants have been allowed entry into the US. It is our view, along with many others, that these comments are incredibly ignorant, disrespectful and racist. In a time where African countries and other nations need to stand together and support each other, it is shocking to hear that one of the most powerful leaders in the world have such crude and offensive opinions of our great continent.

Africa has its fair share of obstacles and struggles, but it is also filled with hard-working, caring and innovative people, who are passionate about seeing a better future for their families, communities, countries and continent. Many such individuals are part of our network and liberal family, and spend most of their lives fighting for a just and fair society, even in the face of grave adversity. It is clear that President Trump has a skewed and ignorant view of what makes this continent and its people so special.

The Africa Liberal Network calls on President Trump to revoke his words and issue an unequivocal apology to all the great nations of Africa. He has to be held accountable for his statements by the American government and electorate alike. We also call on the UN Human Rights Council to pay attention to these statements and act accordingly.

Media enquiries:

Zanie Ferreira (ALN Coordinator)

zanie.maree@africaliberalnetwork.org

kenyan supreme court

ALN CONDEMNS REPORTS OF LIBYAN SLAVE TRADE

The Africa Liberal Network takes note and condemns in the strongest possible terms reports of the ongoing Libyan slave trade. Due to recent media reports it has come to our attention that African migrants are being sold at auction for as little as $400. This exploitation of Africans leaving their countries looking for better prospects is not only inhumane but a blatant abuse of human rights. Libya has become a large transit hub for Africans leaving for Europe, and the Libyan government should ensure the safety of all Africans, irrespective of origin, background, class or creed. We call on the Libyan authorities, regional powers and international community to speak out against these crimes against humanity, and for those who are found to partake in such actions to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, including internationally. The situation requires new avenues of legal migration and ensuring that smugglers and traffickers do not exploit those who are most vulnerable and marginalized. Smuggling networks often resort to ruthless actions against migrants, including torturing, extorting and detaining migrants before they face the dangerous trip to Europe across the Mediterranean. Furthermore, the instability in Libya has created a breeding ground for such actions and it is paramount that the country addresses these issues internally as well.

There is no place in Africa for the sale of humans and such clear abuse of power. The Africa Liberal Network is committed to a better future for all Africans, and condemns this horrific treatment of migrants. As African countries we have a duty to stand up and speak out against such human rights abuses, and we must act to ensure it never happens again. In 2014 the ALN passed the Marrakech Declaration on Human Rights, reaffirming it’s position and commitment to protect human rights. Every ALN member party is also expected to ascribe to these values and promote it in their policies.

Media enquiries:

Zanie Ferreira (ALN Coordinator)

zanie.maree@africaliberalnetwork.org

libyan slave trade