PRESS STATEMENT BY ALN PRESIDENT STEVENS MOKGALAPA ON ALN EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING IN DAKAR, SENEGALThe Executive Committee meeting of the Africa Liberal Network met in Dakar, Senegal from 18 to 20 October for its annual ALN Executive Committee meeting. The focus of the meeting was to review the first months of the new Executive Committee, plan for the year ahead and discuss upcoming activities. In exactly the same place where the network was created 25 years ago, we were able to discuss the future and priorities of the Network.
After two full days of deliberation, the Network reconfirmed their commitment to promoting liberal values on the continent. We were joined by our strategic partners, the Liberal Democrats and Friedrich Naumann Foundation, who are crucial in the work that the ALN does on the continent. We share a vision of a prosperous and integrated Africa. One made up of flourishing democracies that are at peace with one another, in which every person has the right and opportunity to fulfill their potential and be what they want to be. Our mission is to empower liberal parties to grow their support, to increase their influence on politics and to implement liberal policies when in government. During our discussions and planning the following themes and topics stood out as key areas for the Network as well as its partners: human rights, freedom of speech, immigration, the social market economy, sustainable development, the inclusion of under-represented groups such as women and youth, good governance and the battle against corruption. Based on these matters the Network developed a strategic plan for the year ahead, based on three objectives:
- Building capacity amongst member parties.
This includes supporting member parties in their attempts to win elections and govern effectively, through coordinating programmes aimed at building their capacity to succeed. Workshops, training materials and assistance in terms of communication and campaign strategy is key. Additionally, the Network aims to create a link between liberal parties in government and those seeking power to enable sharing of best practice and expertise.
- Assert the international credibility of the ALN.
By developing relationships with other liberal organisations such as Liberal International, the United Nations Human Rights Council and international election observation missions, we hope to raise the voice of the Network and African liberal parties. This would include running workshops with member parties on topical issues such as human rights, terrorism, corruption, security, economics, etc.
- Strive for better inclusion of under-represented groups within the ALN and its member parties.
The Network feels strongly about creating an inclusive platform where under-represented groups are offered the opportunity to participate. This includes strengthening the youth branch of the Network, the Africa Liberal Youth, and supporting member parties in investing in women, not only on a national level but regional as well.
Besides the strategic plan of the Network, upcoming activities were discussed, in particular the upcoming General Assembly. The Executive Committee concluded that the next meeting of ALN member parties will take place in Accra, Ghana, early in 2018. We are looking forward to working with our sister party in Ghana in welcoming liberal parties from all over the continent to this important annual meeting.
Similarly, we had a discussion about returning to Dakar for our next Executive Committee meeting in 2018 and President Sall welcome the network and pledged his support in our efforts. The Network is grateful for President Macky Sall’s warm welcome of the Network to Dakar, as well as his commitment to the work that we are doing.
In addition, the Network were graciously granted an audience with former President of the Republic of Senegal, Secretary-General of ALN member party PDS, and godfather of liberalism, Mr Abdoulaye Wade. We had an informal discussion about the history of the network, his vision of liberalism in Africa today and the difficulties, as well as possible solutions, of the work of the Network. We are grateful for the time former President Abdoulaye Wade granted us.
To conclude, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, arranged a comprehensive workshop on good governance and the extraction of natural resources. It clearly outlined policies and tools that parties in government can use in order to ensure that the extractive industry conducts itself transparently and democratically. It was facilitated by EITI-Senegal (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) and was attended by our liberal Senegalese sister parties, as well as a delegation from the Liberal Women’s Forum. Besides our Executive Committee meeting, it was an invaluable opportunity to learn best practice from experts in this field.
As the President, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the Executive Committee for their hard work and contributions, our local strategic partners for their assistance in arranging this meeting and workshop, and the Senegalese government and liberal parties for hosting us in the beautiful city of Dakar. We are revitalised and look forward to a fruitful year ahead as well as our return to Senegal next year.