Prof. Prodi: Africa Must Practice Its Own Democracy

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Former Italian Prime Minister, Professor Romano Prodi, has challenged Africans not to imitate entirely the democracy practiced by the western countries, but develops its own kind of ‘democracy’ suitable to the citizenry.

He argued that the idea to emulate western model “is wrong” and urged the continent’s leadership to enforce the type of democracy that suits its culture of governance.

Professor Romano Prodi made the suggestion when addressing the fifth China Europe International Business School African programme lecture in Accra on Wednesday.

He added: “African countries must chart their own cause and adopt their own type of democracy; each country’s democracy must have elements of its people and the way of life of its people.

“Look, this is an African problem; I think that the external power must be the most external as possible because clearly they bring division, not integration. If you wait for integration from external push you are wrong; step by step approach must be adopted to integrate as was done in Europe,” the former Italian leader emphasized.”

Prof Prodi explained that “French democracy is good for French people, and American democracy is good for the people of America; therefore African countries cannot be trying to adopt these types of systems to apply to themselves since the demographic are totally different.

“Democracy is not global; I think that with democracy, we have mastered some basic identical rules like elections, alternative power and transparency, but then, I think that each nation must find its own way.”

Professor Prodi stressed: “Political integration is far from Africa…the African Union’s focus on political integration is good, but it may not be like Europe. Because of the complexity of ethnic problems and the fragility of the borders, I have always been very careful to try to understand the tradition that must be inserted in African democracy; type of enrichment to democracy that this ethnical tradition can give.

“The limitation of African leaders is the perception of democracy to be that of a certain model. It is possible to integrate economically by putting in place the right measures that can help Africa achieve it,” he submitted.

Prof. Romano Prodi, the UN Special Envoy to Sahel, with a mandate to support national, regional and international mediation efforts in the sub-region regarding cross-border and transnational issues on behalf of the UN Secretary-General.

The Sahel region includes Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger and Chad.

Among the dignitaries who attended the lecture are Mr. Hans Doctor, Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Laura Carpini, Italy Ambassador to Ghana, Brazil Ambassador to Ghana, Irene Vida Gala, Claude Maerten, Ambassador Head of Delegation of the EU to Ghana, Philip Sowah, Managing Director of Airtel Ghana and a host of Chinese diplomats.

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