A new civil society advocacy coalition focused on promoting democratic values in the West African sub-region has been launched in Ghana’s capital, Accra.
Called the West Africa Democracy Solidarity Network (“WADEMOS”), it is meant to “mobilize, coordinate, and leverage the collective power of pro-democracy actors, resources, and opportunities in West Africa,” a statement from the network secretariat said.
Those behind the network said they hope it would be able “to address the erosion of democracy in the Sub-region.”
The Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) is the proponent of the project with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
The new partnership unveiled on Thursday in Accra will ensure that this new transnational democracy solidarity network can “advance, defend, and reinvigorate democratic norms and reforms in the Sub-region.”
The WADEMOS project, is to be implemented in two phases over a three-year period.
In a statement the secretariat said, “the first phase focuses on the formation of the Network and the design of a joint Civil Society Organization (CSO) strategy to respond to the democratic setback in the region.”
CDD-Ghana is to collaborate with Network Partners to organize convenings and programs to reflect on significant democracy milestones in the Sub-region such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocol on Democracy and Governance.
“Phase II of the project will focus on implementing the various components of the Strategy agreed with Network Partners in Phase I,” the statement said.
“I am excited about this new CDD-Ghana-led initiative as it seeks to address the problem of democratic backsliding in West Africa,” the Executive Director of CDD-Ghana, Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh said.
According to him there would be the mobilization and support of pro-democracy civil society and social movements in the region as part of the project.
Collective civil society engagement with regional bodies and national authorities to advance democracy and constitutionalism will also be a focus, Prempeh added.
West Africa has witnessed series of coups over the past decade, with fears the sub-region is gradually becoming destabilized and unhealthy for democratic values.
The new network is expected to help enforce the compliance of protocols on democracy and good governance.
Sustaining activism by young people, women, voluntary groups, and the creative industry to defend democracy, amongst others will also be the end game for this new network.