Washington, D.C. – On March 2, IRI Senior Advisor for Africa Mvemba Dizolele testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs on the state of elections across the continent.  

In his testimony, Dizolele provided insights into Africa’s elections amidst COVID-19; the democratization and manipulation of democratic institutions; as well as the rise of authoritarianism, digital technology and foreign influence. He also analyzed the democratic integrity of elections in Ethiopia and Somalia, while offering his recommendations for the countries’ electoral processes. Dizolele concluded with recommendations for the international community, as they continue their support for democratic strengthening in Africa:

“Across Africa, the United States should continue to prioritize support to promote political participation and processes that enable free, fair, and credible elections. This support should not just come ahead of Election Day, but also be continuously provided between elections, as those are the critical times for civil society and political parties to reset, review and strengthen their capacities to improve electoral processes.

United States’ support remains critical to reinforce governance processes and sustain the independence of institutions, which has seen an erosion by corrupt government officials and authoritarian regimes.

Finally, strong independent media are the bulwark against malign influence, including increased pro-Beijing propaganda and the control of the information operations space in Africa. The United States should provide tools and capacity to civil society and citizens on how to better fend off mis/disinformation, using technology that is safe and not linked to Chinese-backed entities.”

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