At the beginning of the 90's Africa was seized of a wave of democratization processes. Since then, in nearly all of the 42 states south of the Sahara elections for presidency or parliament were held under participation of several parties. On the other hand, multiple party systems are not yet effectively established in Africa and still insufficient in many countries. Also the participation of the civil society in political decision-making processes, the possibility for the free expression of opinion and the prospect on legal security are so far not yet sufficiently guaranteed.
According to statements of experts the economy of our neighbour continent grows at the present with over five per cent, which is the best result within the last 30 years. This growth is caused by an increasingly dynamic economy, reforms and a continuous worldwide need for resources. However, based on economical and social indicators the countries south of the Sahara still drop back far behind other world regions. Industrial development took place basically, but most national economies of Africa still depend on the export of agricultural and mineral ressources.
Despite a lowering of the poverty rate from 47 to 41 per cent, Africa has still the highest poverty world-wide. It is doubtful that it can be halved until 2015. In terms of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), at least the school enrolment rate of children has increased. Nowadays 70 per cent of all children receive a basic education, while 1999 only 57 per cent did.
At present most African countries develop national strategies to fight poverty. Also regional integration efforts can be recognized in the establishment of „New Partnership for Africa’s Development” (NEPAD) and the Pan-African Parliament as well as in the advancement of regional organs like e.g. SADC, SACU and ECOWAS. Very promising are also the resolutions of the Peace and Security Council, which has been created by the African Union in 2004 and wants to be ready to accomplish conflict-preventive and peace-receiving measures until 2010. These progresses however are still contrasted by state crises, wars and armed conflicts (Sudan, Chad, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia etc.) as well as by social disadvantage, inequality and marginalization in the world trade. Africa is still the continent on which the majority of all martial conflicts take place. The African integration efforts and reform initiatives are accompanied by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung with the following emphases:
- Democracy promotion: Promotion of „Good Governance“ and development-oriented government acting; Establishment of working national and democratic structures and an intact multiple party system; Support of the African party alliance UPADD; Co-operation with African parliaments; Value-bound basic and advanced training of development-oriented elite; Promotion of organizations of the civil society, media, federations and religious communities
- Promotion and establishment of constitutional structures for the creation of legal security; Promotion of the judiciary as an independent force, constitution consultation, human rights
- Decentralization / Local autonomy: Support of local structures (after the priciple of subsidiarity))
- Politico-economic dialogue and regional integration to establish basic conditions for economy which are as well social as oriented on development and the free market; Promotion of supraregional cooperations referring to political questions of economy and security
- Political dialogue and crisis prevention: Supranational dialogue to questions of development and security; Promotion of the intercultural and interreligious value dialogue
Beside our field offices we operate with three regional programs south of the Sahara: Media, constitutional state and political dialogue.