The Joint experts consultative meeting to engage African Ministries of education in the mainstreaming of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) in school curricula opened today, 28th September 2015 in Abuja, Nigeria. The consultation is organized by the African Union Commission, in collaboration with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO).
During this three-day event, the AU member State experts in charge of education will explore ways and means for laying the foundations of the culture of democracy, good governance as well as respect of rule of law and human rights within the future generation in line with African Union normative frameworks including the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, and as part of the implementation of the African Union Agenda 2063, which calls for a continent with a universal culture of good governance, democratic values, respects for human rights, justice and rule of law.
Education being a powerful weapon to ensure a substantial transformation of the African society, the experts will make specific and concrete proposals that will lead to an Africa where students are fully aware of the substance of the ACDEG and their role in the building process of a democratic society.
Addressing the participants during the opening ceremony, H.E Dr. Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs of the AUC highlighted the urgent need of internalizing AU norms, values and principles in each and every African citizen as well as the necessity for the children and youth to understand the importance of the AU normative frameworks in order to make a better Africa.
Dr. Aisha recalled the decision of the 25th AU Summit of June 2015 which endorsed the outcomes of the Dakar Summit on Higher Education calling for the mainstreaming of democratic values and good governance in schools and the importance of human capital in the entrenchment of democratic values and citizenship. “Recent socio – political developments testify the commitment of the African peoples and their strong aspiration to greater democratic governance practices on the continent. These developments are a reminder to each stakeholder of the important role they play towards the promotion of the Charter- and thus, highlighting once again the duties and responsibilities of those in the leadership position to ensure that these values are internalized by the younger generation”, She said.
Prof. Adebayo Olukoshi, Regional Director for International IDEA, expressed his gratitude to the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission for this initiative of including the Charter in school curricula. Moreover, he underscored that the success of this project will accelerate and strengthen the ownership of AU normative frameworks in African Countries.
On behalf of ECOWAS, Dr. Remi Adjibewa, Director of Political Affairs to the Economic Community for West Africa States (ECOWAS) pointed out the fact that the organization of this consultative meeting is critical to strengthen civic education on the continent and to pave the way for sustainable peace and security on the Continent.
The representative of the Government of Nigeria, Mr. Adeola Ebenezer Olutayo, Director at the Federal Ministry of Education recognized schools are the most appropriate place to start the implementation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Government. Therefore, he described the joint consultative meeting as a foresight-oriented event for the inculcation of the values in the Charter in future generations through incorporation in the school curricula. Furthermore, he emphasized that the inclusion of the principles of the Charter in school curricula is in line with the aspirations of Agenda 2063 which urged African countries to invest in education and establish a strong culture of democratic governance.
About the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG)
The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance was adopted at the 8th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly of Member States, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2007. The Adoption of the Charter by African countries demonstrates the determination of the African Union and its Member States to promote and strengthen good governance through institutionalizing transparency, accountability and democracy. The Charter entered into force in February 2012 after the ratification of 15 AU member States. To date, only 24 Member States have ratified the Charter. 23 Member States have signed but not ratified and the remaining 6 have neither signed nor ratified. The State Parties to the Charter include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte-d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea- Bissau, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Sudan, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Togo, and Zambia.