The New Times (Kigali)

24 June 2012

Rwanda: Experts to Discuss Challenges to Democracy

International and regional political experts will convene in Kigali next week to discuss achievements and challenges in instituting governance and democracy appropriate for its citizens 50 years after independence.

The conference is part of the activities organised to mark Rwanda's 50 years of independence and 18 years of liberation, and will take place at the Parliamentary building on June 30, 2012.

Prof. Anastase Shyaka the CEO of Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), announced that the event "provides an ideal setting for political leaders, policy makers and scholars to reflect on Rwanda and Africa's 50 years of independence.

"In the case of Rwanda, after 18 years of liberation, especially following the adoption of the Constitution in 2003, our country's democratic path is well paved; clear, and delivering results to.

Explaining on the importance of the occasion, Prof Shyaka said that strengthening governance and democracy is critical to the cause of social and economic advancement.

He said that there was need to revisit and re-examine the theoretical discourse regarding democracy in Africa and its interface with institutional building and development.

Shyaka further mentioned that in Africa, regional organisations, such as the African Union have periodically intervened in the arenas of political and governance affairs. The process of establishing an African architecture for governance is therefore a relevant and timely initiative.

The conference will shed light on shared principles of good practices in governance and democracy, generate knowledge on better approaches to assess governance in Africa and lay the ground for prospective strategic options geared towards sustainable development and democratic governance for Rwanda and Africa as a whole.

Sub-themes to be discussed will include: (a) Rwanda and Africa: 50 years of Independence, what are the lessons learned? (b)Nation Building, Democracy and Development and (c) African Renaissance: Where should Africa and Rwanda be in the next decades?

Some experts to grace the conference are renowned world scholars and policy makers including Nobel Laurent for Literature, Prof Wole Soyinka, Prof. Margee Ensign, President of American University of Nigeria, former US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Affairs, Dr. Jendai Frazer, Hon. Moses Wetangula Minister of Trade in Kenya, and Dr Donald Kaberuka, President of Africa Development Bank, among others.

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