Thomas Carothers, the respected expert on democracy promotion at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace, has given a talk in Oxford University on democracy promotion in Africa at the request of the Rothermere American Institute and the African Studies Centre. As usual, his lecture was well argued, thought provoking, and informative. Tom suggested that although we often bemoan international actor’s mixed motivations when dealing with the continent, Africa is actually the continent in which most donors have least vested material or security interests. As a result, foreign governments have been more willing to actively push democracy in African than in many parts of the world. However, this does not mean that they have promoted democracy consistently or wisely: Tom’s talk sets out a number of limitations to the engagement of donors over the last thirty years, and makes an important contribution to our understanding of the mixed progress that the continent has made towards democratic consolidation.
Tom’s insightful comments are even more relevant in light of the recent escalation in the increasingly intensive and complex engagement of western actors in North Africa. You can listen to and download the podcast of Tom’s talk for free by clicking here.
For more on the events at the African Studies Centre, click here.
For more on the events at the Rothermere American Institute, click here.