Long before it came to the Arab world, spring swept through sub-Saharan Africa. In 1990, Mozambique drafted its first multiparty, democratic constitution. The next year saw multiparty elections in what had been one-party states in Benin, Gabon, and Zambia, as well as the overthrow of Mali’s dictator and, subsequently, the election of new leaders. Every succeeding year brought new steps forward for democracy—in Ghana, Kenya, and the Republic of the Congo in 1992, and elsewhere on the continent in subsequent years. The world only paid attention when South Africa joined the ranks of democratic nations in 1994.
As the U.S. government copes with huge challenges in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, other fragile states hang in the balance while generating threats to U.S. and international security. This report summarizes the findings from a colloquium hosted by the Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity on June 5, 2009.
Eight Iraqi women, including the two female members of the Iraqi Governing Council, recently met at the Wilson Center to discuss reconstruction and the role of women in formal and informal governance structures in Iraq.
On July 21, the Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity hosted the first of two consultations on the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of a series devoted to fragile and failed states.
This occasional paper is the third in a series titled, "What Really Works in Preventing and Rebuilding Failed States." This third occasional paper is based on a public forum that took place on February 27, 2007, at the Wilson Center, titled, "Linking Security and Development in State Building: Recent Lessons From Afghanistan." Michael Lund, consulting program manager to the Leadership Project and senior specialist for conflict and peacebuilding at Management Systems International Inc. (MSI), moderated the session. The publication was compiled and edited by Haider Mullick, with contributions and oversight by Georgina Petrosky and Sarah Cussen of the Leadership Project.
U.S. policy toward Africa has been on autopilot for much of the past four years, following a laundry list of good intentions that established priorities for Africa’s well-being and U.S. security interests. However, a truly sustainable and forward-looking U.S. policy toward Africa should refocus attention on Africa’s opportunity as an economic powerhouse of the future, a strategy that combines both domestic self-interest and an opportunity to help Africa move forward.