Political parties have been critical to the development of democracy in many African countries. Ideally, they provide a channel for articulating public concerns, linking citizens to their government. With that in mind, Democracy Works Foundation (DWF) will host a conference under the Southern Africa Political Parties and Dialogue Programme (SAPP&D), which has undertaken several initiatives to strengthen the democratic structures and institutions of political parties in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Zambia, and Angola.
The conference on Political Parties as Pillars for Socially Inclusive and Resilient Democracies in Southern Africa will occur in Johannesburg, South Africa, from July 19-21, 2023.
The conference aims to provide political parties and other relevant stakeholders with an opportunity to reflect on the unique role that political parties play in consolidating resilient and socially inclusive democratic governance and development. It will review the state of political parties in Southern Africa, share experiences and lessons learned from implementing selected interventions of the SAPP&D Programme, and reflect on emerging strategic issues that can inform future similar initiatives.
The conference targets senior leadership of governing and opposition political parties from the SAPP&D Programme countries: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, and Zambia. Political parties, including the governing party from the host country South Africa, will also be present to share their reflections with fellow peers in the region.
The conference is an opportunity for political parties to understand how they can meaningfully and constructively participate in elections and advance electoral reforms – a significant step in building better-functioning political parties that understand their role in deepening democratic governance and long-term development. Through the SAPP&D Programme, DWF seeks to establish a regional network drawn from political parties and other relevant actors to share and support best practices, lessons learned, and knowledge on strengthening unique, issue-based, people and environment-centred democratic structures.
Participation in the conference is strictly by invitation.