EU Democracy Support in sub-Saharan Africa

09.01.2020, conference

Copyright Reuters: A man raises a ballot paper during the counting of governorship and state assembly election results in Lagos, Nigeria_Adelaja Temilade

The European Union is committed to democracy as a fundamental guiding principle of its internal and external relations. As one of the main global actors, the Union champions this principle also in sub-Saharan Africa, where a variety of its bi- and multilateral measures aim at strengthening democratic development. Yet, the EU’s underlying assumptions about democratization in third countries and its respective analytical and strategic framework for sub-Saharan Africa are elusive. Therefore, its current policy approaches are yielding mixed results. In addition, domestic challenges to democracy within Europe and the rise of China offering alternative development models have also affected EU’s credibility abroad.

These conditions and the current reform process of the EU’s overall policy framework of democracy support call for a constructive assessment of this approach towards countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

On behalf of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), the German Development Institute (GDI) has been conducting a study on EU democracy support in Africa, analysing its substance, challenges and limitations. The study should contribute to the ongoing debate on the reform of EU democracy support. On 09 January 2020 the author, Dr. Christine Hackenesch, will discuss its findings and recommendations with decision makers and experts from EU institutions, embassies, Thinks Tanks and NGOs.

Contact: Daniela.Iller(at)



Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung EU Office

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