The creation of the International Observatory of Participatory Democracy in 2001, which covers Latin America and Europe, has greatly contributed to the development of knowledge production at the service of local governments in the field of citizen participation, as well as to the implementation of a vast space for sharing experiences and useful knowledge in terms of participatory democracy for the member cities of the network. To better broaden the latter and further involve local authorities, a decentralization process was implemented in 2011 with a view to increasing the dynamism of the organization’s structure. It is in this context that in December 2012 the Focal Point for West Africa launched the International Observatory of Participatory Democracy (IOPD Africa). The platform aims to be an open space for cooperation between local governments but also a tool for the exchange, interaction, production, and sharing of content relating to citizen participation and experiences related to inclusive democracy between the actors involved (local authorities, civil society organizations, universities, research centers, etc.) aimed at strengthening participatory democracy and local governance in Africa.
On September 30, 2022, AfroLeadership was installed as the focal point of the International Observatory on Participatory Democracy (IOPD) in Central Africa. It covers the countries of the Economic Community of Central African States- ECCAS: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda, and Sao Tome and Principe. During the next five years, in these countries, AfroLeadership, with the support of IOPD Africa, will work to achieve these main objectives:
– Set up a common sharing space allowing the promotion of cooperation between local governments, support for democratic processes, and the creation of mechanisms, tools, and monitoring-evaluation systems
– Allow grassroots actors (neighborhood councils, neighborhood development committees, neighborhood associations, etc.), those of civil society, academics, and researchers to deepen their knowledge inherent in the concept of participatory democracy through sharing and exchange of experiences, analysis, and implementation of projects relating to inclusive democracy
– Promote the capitalization and sharing of experiences of participatory democracy by highlighting the concept of participation as a tool for strengthening democracy and local governance
– Participate in the emergence of a democratic culture based on transparency, participation, and collaboration of all actors involved in local governance and decentralization issues in Africa.