Dec/12 08:00 - Dec/13 16:00
Event Taxonomy: 
Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 08:00 to Friday, December 13, 2019 - 16:00

Conference on Constitutional Design Innovations in Africa Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 12-13 December 2019 The Constitution Building Programme of International IDEA and the African Network of Constitutional Lawyers (ANCL) are collaborating on a Conference on ‘Constitutional Design Innovations in Africa’. Often, partly because of historical reasons and partly because of lack of comprehensive comparative research work, Africa is seen as at the receiving end of the ‘migration’ of constitutional ideas and institutional design - as the ‘borrowing’ continent. Nevertheless, this general characterisation hides variations among countries and the diverse modes that African constitutional designers have sought to craft innovative institutional designs to address the unique constitutional and practical problems their complex contexts have generated.

There are several examples. The Kenyan Constitution provides for a Constitutional Implementation Commission as well as specific provisions on leadership and integrity. The Nigerian Constitution contains provisions to ensure that presidential candidates seek the votes of people beyond their geographical and ethnic strongholds. The Rwandan constitution provides for a Political Parties Forum. The Constitutions of Algeria and Tunisia guarantee detailed rights of the political opposition. The Constitution of Madagascar requires incumbent presidents who plan on running for re-election to resign sixty days prior to the elections. Several African constitutions also provide for institutionalised ways of ensuring the participation of traditional leaders. There is nevertheless no systematic study of the areas of innovation in various aspects of constitutional design and how they have fared so far. The lack of research on these institutional innovations has limited inter-African learning for constitutional designers across the continent.

The Conference seeks to provide an overdue platform for African experts from across the continent to deliberate upon innovative constitutional approaches, how they have fared in practice, and the lessons for politicians, constitutional drafters, civil society organisations and scholars. The participants would be selected based on their expertise and would be required to produce short briefs (of up to 3000 words) on specific areas of constitutional innovation in Africa. These briefs would provide the basis for and structure discussion during the Conference. At the end of the Conference, a report capturing the various innovative ideas as well as ways of encouraging inter-African learning and availing these approaches to constitutional drafters across the continent would be developed. The ANCL will coordinate the Conference and International IDEA will make the necessary arrangements and cover all costs of the participants related to the Conference. Participants will also receive per diems in line with International IDEA policy. If you have any inquiries related to the Conference, please write Dr. Adem K Abebe: and Dr. Elvis Fokala: